Shoes may not top your shopping list right now – the ever-present Covid-19 pandemic has catapulted survival aids like food and latex gloves to the number one spot – but when it comes to would-be-nice-but-not-essential items, fashion and luxury footwear are certainly ‘spirit-lifters.’ The intoxicating scent of supple leather, the clean slate of a new sole, the potential of a vertiginous heel – tempting distractions in an unstable reality.
Italian master craftsman and shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti understands the need for a little escapism with his statement metal-embossed sneakers, crystal-covered strappy sandals, and maximalist reptile-print platforms; his designs, a regular on the feet of celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé, to name a few. From his home in Longiano, Italy, the designer shares some of his most treasured items and with them, provides an insight into a mind filled with music, art, and nature.
1. Leone, my French bulldog: “I think of him as a relative, not simply a dog – he is so warm and loving. He’s a friend, we chat a lot together, which is very comforting…he really ‘gets me’ like nobody else! He’s always so relaxed and manages to convey his calm to me. This is why I call him my natural sleeping aid.”
2. A work of art by Deborah Turbeville: “This is an artist that I met for the first time with Franca Sozzani, during the ‘90s. It is a photographic composition that represents a Tango dance and often follows me during my travels. When I go to my studio in Milan, I bring it with me…It’s really important to me, a sort of lucky charm, which is something we all need, especially in these moments.”
3. My garden: “It brings me peace of mind and allows me to communicate with nature, like nothing else. It represents nature at its best, with its colors, seasonal changes, and calm. We’re always running around and tend to forget where we come from – we don’t fully ‘live in the moment.’ Coming here [to the garden] keeps me grounded; I watch the seasons alternate and it reminds me of the circle of nature and what really matters.”
4. My chickens: “They were a really fun gift that I just love and they live in the garden of my mansion in Longiano, which is a small village close to the Adriatic coast. They’re out in the open air, free to run wherever they want and eat whatever they prefer. I take care of them but at the same time, I leave them to be free. In return, every day I receive an egg, fresh and heathy – I consider it a gift. I feel this process is like a magical daily virtuous circle…there is never a shortage of fresh eggs at my home.”
5. Koi carps in my lake: “I fell in love with Koi carps the first time I visited the imperial palace in Shanghai, more or less 25 years ago. They have always fascinated me for the peace they convey; fierce fish but elegant and with their own rhythm. The Koi in my lake are really faithful – they only take food from me so I’m quite attached to them.”
6. Quadrophenia (1973) by The Who: “This album is part of a 3000-piece vinyl collection – I had more, but I decided to clean it up a little! I’ve restored my music collection during these days of quarantine, so I have my records to keep me company. I bought this one by British rock band The Who after I saw Tommy (1975), a movie based upon their music. The album represents the beginning of British rock music, a genre a little bit decadent but still full of hope.”
7. Donna in attesa (“Waiting Woman”) sculpture by Ilario Fioravanti: “Fioravanti was an artist who was born in this area (Cesena). I feel that in this moment we are all like her. We observe, we listen, we think and we wait.”