The Givenchy dress was demure: high-necked, long-sleeved and showing just a hint of enviably toned calf beneath its floaty hem.
But Meghan Markle’s shoes this week at her first ever solo engagement — at London’s Royal Academy of Arts — were unashamedly sexy.
From Italian footwear designer Aquazzura, the 4½ in, £490 Deneuve black heels with a flirty bow, named after French film star Catherine Deneuve, oozed sensuality.
Aquazzura, founded in 2011, is not a household name yet. But that could change thanks to Meghan and other fans of the statement heels, such as actress Lily James, who wore a pair of £530 Candela heels on the red carpet (right).
Why is the label so popular with our newest royal? We asked founder Edgardo Osorio to find out…
Meghan Markle (pictured) wore £490 Deneuve black heels by Aquazzura for her first solo engagement. Sarah Rainey spoke to the designer about the inspiration behind the brand
Edgardo, 32, is rather a prodigy. Born in Colombia and raised in Miami and London, he studied at the London College of Fashion and, at 23, became Roberto Cavalli’s head of footwear design.
Two years on, he set up Aquazzura — its HQ is in Florence — and the brand is known for bold patterns, metallics and exotic skins. Sold in high-end department stores, prices range from £370 to £1,500. Edgardo says: ‘Whenever you put a pair of my shoes on, you should feel like a million dollars.’
Had he not been a shoe designer, he says, he would have become a plastic surgeon — such is his desire to enhance female beauty.
Edgardo lives in a 15th-century palazzo with partner, Ricardo D’Almeida Figueiredo, 46, a former Louis Vuitton and Gucci publicist.
Many Aquazzura shoes are named after stars. There’s the £885 Debbie bootie, after singer Debbie Harry; the £470 Forever Marilyn slingback; and the £670 Sharon stiletto, a nod to movie star Sharon Stone.
Aquazzura means ‘blue water’ in Italian and on each sole is the company’s gold pineapple logo.
Celebrities including Nicole Kidman, Rihanna and Gigi Hadid have also chosen to complete their looks with Aquazzura shoes (pictured)
‘When I started the brand, it was all about Italy and the Riviera,’ Edgardo says. ‘There, you see stone pineapples outside villas. The pineapple is a symbol of hospitality.
‘Then I discovered that in Asian cultures, the gold pineapple is a symbol of good fortune.’
Meghan’s Aquazzura obsession began long before meeting her prince. For her engagement photocall last November, she wore the label’s £490 suede Matilde heels, and white Aquazzuras for the evening reception at her wedding.
Other A-list fans include models Poppy Delevingne and Gigi Hadid, actresses Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Nicole Kidman, plus singers Rihanna and Beyonce.
Meghan has also got her mum, Doria, 61, into them — she wore a bespoke pair to the royal wedding.
PERFECT HEEL HEIGHT
Most Aquazzura heels are from 3½ in to 4.5½ in — the optimum height for enhancing posture, studies have found. Made of soft leather, they are also comfortable. ‘It’s one of the reasons our brand became so popular,’ Edgardo says.