First Look at Esquivel with Fratelli Rossetti

She helped Thakoon Panichgul land a deal with Gap, and now Vogue’s Anna Wintour is matchmaking for the shoe industry.

The famous editor set up 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund nominee George Esquivel with Italian shoe company Fratelli Rossetti for a men’s and women’s collaboration set to launch for spring ’11. Fratelli Rossetti managing director Diego Rossetti had been on the hunt for a designer to jazz up the brand’s image. Esquivel, known for his edgy, gender-bending styles, fit the bill, he said.

“George is very close to us in terms of taste, and with his designs, there is definitely a continuity, even with our most classic shoes,” said Rossetti. “We have always worked with external designers, but this is the first time we’re giving one of them this kind of exposure.”

The line will include brogues, oxfords and loafers, with such details as zigzag edging and colorful piping. In addition to classic browns and grays, the palette also has pops of red, blue and green. Retail prices will range from $450 to $700. (A selection of 12 women’s oxfords and low heels will also be available.)

With this collaboration, the historic Italian brand hopes to provide a more ample offering for its clientele, while also seducing new accounts. The partnership is open-ended, with the possibility of continuing after spring. If it does go forward, Esquivel said, he plans to travel to Italy two to three times a year.

“We don’t do luxury for the sake of luxury,” said Esquivel. “I was amazed at how much of the production is still handmade — that is what makes it luxury.”

The Designer
George Esquivel has made a name for himself handcrafting his line of men’s and women’s shoes out of his workshop in Los Angeles.

The Inspiration
“The main inspiration for this collection is history and craftsmanship, but we want to tell a different story each season. This one will have a very masculine feel for both men and women,” said Esquivel.

The Buzz
The line will be carried in the Fratelli Rossetti flagships in New York and Milan and will be shown to buyers at FFANY this week. A preview for the public is planned for Fashion’s Night Out on Sept. 10.

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