Sofia Sizzi founded her Giulietta ready-to-wear label in 2011 and was quickly embraced by both the CFDA (she was a Vogue/Fashion Fund nominee) and a slew of celebrities including Michelle Williams, Cameron Diaz, Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Watson, Drew Barrymore and Liv Tyler. But few realize that the New York-based designer actually started her career in her native Italy as a shoe designer for other fashion houses, including Gucci. For spring ’15, she made her first foray into eponymous retro-glam footwear, which will be sold exclusively at Barney’s as of February (priced $600 to $900). For pre-fall ’15 she updated her fluted heel styles — inspired by surrealist artist Dora Maar — with glitter finishes plus new boot and pump shapes. FN got the skinny with Sizzi on this natural next step.
Q: What do you want to be the signature of Giulietta footwear?
“The fluted heel because I wanted the shoes to carry the spirit of Giulietta, which is ’60s-inspired, but at the same time very modern and sophisticated. I like a shoe to be bold, and I like the idea of owning a shape. I love classic shoes, the kind we all have in our closet, but at the same time, I would like to use this opportunity to introduce a type of footwear that is a little bit different. A woman can be sexy and still wear a more substantial shoe.”
Q: How have you applied your design CV working on footwear for Michael Kors, Calvin Klein Collection and Donna Karan to your own collection?
“The experience helps, let’s put it that way. I know how this side of the business works. It’s a very small collection as of now, just five styles, but it’s really complimenting the ready-to-wear collection. I’ve worked with these shoe factories for a while. They are made in the Venice area.”
Q: Who are other footwear designers you admire?
“I’m very proud and happy that my friend Paul Andrew just won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. I think he is amazing, and I think out of the new emerging designers, he’s definitely the most amazing and talented. And I’ve always loved Prada shoes. They always have such amazing new techniques and constructions. They blow my mind. If you mix Paul Andrew and Prada — that’s what I like: Paul’s sharp lines and Prada’s whimsicality.”
Q: What do you always keep top of mind when designing?
“The beautiful thing about shoes is they can stand on their own as an object and they can serve a function. That’s something I always try to remember. I think when women look at shoes, there always has to be something special about it, but at the same time, I like the idea that they are wearable and as comfortable as possible.”