Wednesday, 26 May 2010

I HEART: Bionda Castana for AW10!

I love it when 'things happen'! When circumstances bring people together, create exciting collaborations or simply people/groups/companies get to help each other out. Earlier this year, I was lending Sasha a helping hand getting together a last-minute wardrobe for her various press events. There I was trying to find some make-everyone-stop-and-pay-attention shoes for her when I remembered a lovely email I'd received the day before from Natalia Barbieri introducing me to her gorgeous label Biona Castana (yes, I do live in a parallel universe and had never heard of the it before!) It was perfect! Chic yet not boring or bland, high heels that are actually comfortable - Natala later told me they cut the ankle length a bit higher to provide extra support! - and stunning enough to take S from photo shoot to Fashion Week and London to Copenhagen. A match made in heaven!

I also got to have a sneaky preview at their AW10 collection and needless to say, I love it! Here are some of my favourite pieces along with a quick Q&A with Natalia on setting up the label with her friend and business partner Jennifer Portman, ensuring that covetable 'Made in Italy' stamp and collaborating with some of London Fashion Week's most exciting names! Enjoy.

Natalia, how did Bionda Castana start? I know that Jennifer and yourself met at University, studying a subject unlikely to lead to luxury shoe design!

We have both loved shoes since we can remember – and always high heels. We studied Business degrees at University, so although not a fashion course, we learnt the basics of how to set up our own business so we chose shoe design! We had always dreamt of creating a shoe brand whose designs were wearable, elegant and consist of classic shapes with a modern edge. We both knew we had designs and concepts that needed to be unleashed to the public and that was first and foremost the drive to set up the label.

Quality seems to be a key part of the label's DNA and all shoes are made in Italy.

One of our core values is premium quality and the “Made in Italy” stamp is of great importance to us as it reaffirms the quality, care and authenticity of manufacture as a pledge to our customers.

You're known for your timeless designs and high heels. Is this something you're keen to continue as part of your signature or will you play around with new shapes and will we see a Bionda Castana flat?

Funny you should ask me that as for next spring we’ll be introducing flats to our collection. We feel it’s the next step for the brand as effectively we do want to design shoes for everyone…and not everyone wears high heels.

I love the AW10 collection! It seems to have more edge than previous seasons, especially with all the studs/rivets and cut-out shapes. What were your thoughts while designing it?

AW10 was really all about experimentation, staying feminine, a lot of intricate detailing and breathing life into classic fabrics. We wanted this collection to really make a statement all the while remaining true to our to our distinctive brand identity. As with our other collections, we aim to produce utterly desirable pieces that last well beyond one season but I think the introduction of the platform and 12cm heel made the feel of the collection edgier in itself.

You're also collaborating with a few different designers, like David Koma. Is that exciting and what's next for the brand?

It’s a great feeling to work with Ready-To-Wear designers that you hold in such high regard, and it’s even nicer when you have the same vision of what is required by them. We also collaborated with Jenny Packham and Gabriele Colangelo, which showed how diverse our designs can be and how they can cross over. We’re looking forward to our SS11 collaborations….but you’ll have to watch this space. I can’t reveal anything as of yet!

Can't wait!

1 comment:

Bardotty said...

Ace! I want: from 1st pic the pair on the right & from 2nd and 3rd pic the pair on the left! x