‘Fashion Philosopher’ Giuseppe Zanotti on How COVID Changed His Design Process

Giuseppe Zanotti has always used his designs to tell stories — and during the pandemic, writing became a formal part of his process.

“Before I sketch, I write down what I want to do on my Iphone notes — Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and so on,” the veteran designer said, referring to himself as fashion philosopher. “The COVID era taught us to be more patient, and not to go as fast as we did before. Social media is so fast. We need to spend time on ourselves. We can play, we can learn. We don’t need to be a billion-dollar business. For me, it is a pleasure to work when I’m around shoes.”

The veteran Italian designer has always followed his own path, and this season he staged a planet-themed presentation in his Milan showroom.

“These are shoes for a cocktail on another planet … for a cool party on Mars,” Zanotti said of his Bebe strass platform sandals, which feature multicolor rhinestones that cover the heel.

Sky-high platforms play prominently across the collection — Ariana Grande wore a custom pair for her wedding in May — and Zanotti said they’re a top performer among buyers for spring ’22. “They were No. 1 in terms of sales for the main collection,” he said, citing a vibrant color palette that included hues like teal as another way the style has stood out.

Other highlights included a new geometric wedge, inspired by a Y2K archival style, more minimal Plexi mule and Plexi pointed-toe sandal, styles that mirror a clear trend across the Milan collections this week.

Giuseppe Zanotti, eco sneaker
Giuseppe Zanotti’s new eco-friendly Blabber sneaker
CREDIT: Courtesy of Giuseppe Zanotti

Zanotti also unveiled a revamped GZ metallic logo buckle — which looks like melted gold — that was featured on several designs.

Sneakers also continue to evolve, and the designer showed an eco-friendly version of his Blabber skater-inspired style, made with an upper crafted from a polyurethane and polyester blend that is made primarily from recycled plastic bottles.

Zanotti’s new Cobra kicks for men — featuring a 3D cobra snake wrapping around the shoe, were designed by his son.

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