Alessandro Dell’Acqua, the founder and designer of ready-to-wear and accessories brand No. 21, discusses his resort looks and becoming an Instagram hit.
What was the starting point for your resort ’15 designs?
The collection was divided into three parts: For the sailor section, we did big white or blue shoes with fringe and little bow details — all completely flat. The second part was the African section, with wallpaper prints and a safari-theme toile de jouy. To complement this, we did heels in an embroidered, bonded canvas tapestry that is traditionally used for interiors. We wired it to give it shape and flexibility. The last section was about romance, so I did tiny appliqué flowers on sweet espadrilles and moccasins.
Your Ronny mule, which debuted for spring ’15, has become a signature style for the label. Could we see it again in your next collection?
People ask me again and again for these bow mules. Maybe for the commercial collection, yes, but for the runway show, absolutely not. I’m all about the new, the new, the new! There always have to be new shoes and a different point of view each season.
The styles went viral pretty quickly and were spotted on bloggers such as Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine. What do you make of this?
It’s the new wave of media and something I think is super fun. My shoes have been popular on Instagram, which I love.
How significant is footwear to your brand?
The shoe collection keeps getting bigger, and the business is growing quickly. We offer the full collection through Massimo Bonini. I often think about the shoes before I start designing anything else. I like to [explore] contrasts. Last spring, we played with big bows to create a boudoir mood through the shoes because the clothes were very masculine. I used fabrics and techniques normally found in couture. Shoes are becoming a highlight of the collection more and more. To work, they have to be spectacular.
But can flats be as spectacular as heels?
Why not? It’s about a surprise — or even a mistake — that keeps it interesting. The secret is often in the mistakes, I like to say.
Click through the slideshow below to explore the Ronny shoes on Instagram.