Pret-a-Reporter

Designers Dish: Shoemaker Giuseppe Zanotti

The footwear genius behind Angela Bassett's Emmys heels spills on what makes the perfect red carpet shoe

Giuseppe Zanotti is truly one of the high priests of red carpet footwear, beginning in 1994 when he launched his first season to a small audience at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Even then, his creations were immediately embraced by celebrities, including Madonna, who purchased eight pairs upon seeing his debut collection. 

Fast forward to 2014, and the Giuseppe Zanotti brand encompasses more than 50 stores worldwide from Russia to China, and his creations regularly adorn everyone from Beyonce to Rita Ora to Katy Perry to Rihanna. Known for both his vertiginous platforms and elegant flat sandals, as well as his recent bold sneaker collections for both men and women, the luxury shoe line incorporates incredible detailing including delicately placed jewels by master artisans, architectural silhouettes, metallic chains and sequins, zippers, buckles and materials from python to patent.

The latest star to embrace one of Zanotti's flattering footwear designs was Angela Bassett, who arrived at Monday's Emmys in a mirror metallic gold cuffed ankle strap stilettos. Stylist Jennifer Austin, who dressed Bassett for TV's biggest night, says: "This shoe was the perfect balance of simplicity in style, yet boldness in color. The dress had such an elegant slit in the front, which was just enough for the shoes to gracefully peek out as she walked."

After the Emmys, we caught up with the master of sole to talk red carpet footwear. 

What do you think makes the perfect red carpet shoe?

When I started my career I just wanted to create shoes for stars and exclusively for special occasions. Since the beginning, I wanted to impress with outstanding designs. My shoes for the red carpet are more than just an accessory -— they are an essential part of the look.

Why do you think women (and increasingly men!) turn to your shoes to express themselves?

Nowadays, the market is huge and there is a place for everyone. My shoes are made with distinct proportions, the finest materials, and a lot of wow factor. The women and men who choose my creations are very specific — they want to feel special and unique.  I love it when I see my designs worn in an unusual, personal way; when they make someone more attractive and beautiful.

Can you tell us about the gold metallic shoes Angela Bassett wore to the Emmys?  

I had never worked with Angela before, but I really loved her Emmys look. Angela chose a very sophisticated gold strappy sandal. The design reflects some of the main features of my design house – seductive silhouettes, metallic colors and elongated heels. The geometric design of the sandal perfectly matched Angela’s sophisticated and confident look. As a designer, I feel so fulfilled when my shoes are deeply entwined with a woman’s personality.

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