Alberto Ciaschini has built his own footwear brand on the cigarette heel

It is not meant to be an incitement to smoke, indeed bans on smoking today are stricter than ever. Alberto Ciaschini knows this very well, having created his own brand around the cigarette heel, a tribute to timeless seduction. “The gesture of a woman lighting a cigarette evokes seduction and sensuality in her movements” – explains the designer – “Just think of the many signature shots of past divas such as Marlene Dietrich or more recent ones such as Uma Thurman.

Then, the cigarette is in the heel, as such it is a provocative gesture that crushes something underfoot. I am well aware that this shoe could disappear over time and become a memento-object, so I want to pay homage to it through my models.”

The forerunner of the cigarette heel, in Alberto’s experience, was another women’s fetish object, the lipstick that he applied to Alberto Guardiani’s shoes: “It was a question of proposing something disruptive for a brand, such as Alberto Guardiani, which is linked to men’s footwear. While I was working for the company, the lipstick-heel was born and immediately attracted the attention of celebs like Katy Perry, who, seeing it in a newspaper, wanted it for herself”.

This type of ironic, pop, and feminine heel gave rise to the idea of creating the homonymous brand in 2021 that best expresses his imagination: smoking a cigarette for a woman is equivalent, in the ritual of seduction, to putting on lipstick. “The market is saturated with beautiful shoes” – he explains – “and after our online debut, for the presentation at Showcase during AltaRoma, which has just ended in the capital, we needed a disruptive element that could strongly characterise the collection, a single product that rotates precisely around the heel”.

The market is saturated with beautiful shoes and we needed a disruptive element that could strongly characterise the collection

But Ciaschini’s path in the fashion and footwear sector is full of other collaborations. After training at the Istituto Marangoni he started with clothing brands and then joined the ‘Costume National’ team to design accessories, to later move on to Giorgio Armani, and later working as a consultant for Trussardi and Loewe. Experiences that led him to appreciate ‘Made in Italy’, the beautiful and well-made shoe constructed with refined materials, which he has produced in Lombardy. Pumps, slingbacks, and sandals all with 11 cm heels make up a capsule collection that comes in various materials: patent leather, satin in black, fuchsia, and yellow, suede, reptile, and Nappa leather, which in the latest version is studded with Swarovski crystal powder. The shoes are currently on sale on the brand’s e-commerce for order, depending on the model and material chosen.

Flavia Colli Franzone