From buyer to designer, following his passion for footwear

[On the cover: Daniele Giovani with one of his creations]

Daniele Giovani’s career path in fashion is the opposite of many other designers: after studying Fashion Design at the Politecnico di Milano in 2009 and undertaking a Master’s Degree in Brand Strategy and Communication, Fashion and Design at IULM, in 2014 he opened an accessories shop in Milan and only later, in 2022, did he create a footwear collection under his own name. Obviously, after having added another “academic” qualification to complete his knowledge of footwear: a Master’s degree in Accessory Design, also at the Politecnico. A path that he planned, made up of gradual steps to create a 360-degree experience and understand the mechanisms of the world of footwear from the retail point of view, through the multi-brand store, to then become a designer. Linking these choices, there is a common thread that comes back to his passion for accessories, as he himself explains.

What was the path that led you to create the first footwear collection for S/S 2023 with the Daniele Giovani Design brand?

After my studies, in 2014 I opened the shop in Milan because I felt that a commercial experience was important to understand what lies behind a product. This also allowed me to come into contact with the industrial reality of the brands that I sell in the store, to create strong ties with companies, making it easier for me to choose the shoe factory for my line, which is produced in Fermo in the Marche region.

How come you own an accessories shop?

First of all, I opened the shop thanks to the momentum created by Expo, a force for change for the city of Milan, and in an area that was changing its look with the new Darsena project (editor’s note: the boutique is in Corso Genova 13). Moreover, those who graduate from the Politecnico have a vision of fashion that is closely linked to architecture and, since accessories can be considered small architectural structures (certain heel-sculptures are an example) that also require ergonomic study, it seemed inevitable that I would dedicate myself to this category of product. This is no coincidence, at the Politecnico all the lessons are held by architects, and shoes, bags, and jewels are approached from this point of view (my thesis, indeed, was in Jewel Design). So, shoes are seen as precious objects, a concept that is also reflected in my jeweller-like boutique.

From the shop to the collection…

I have always wanted to create my own brand, it’s not a recent thought. My first creative collaboration was in 2016, the ‘Perdizione’ perfume with Nobile, which is sold all over the world. But shoes, as I said, are my passion, and the accessory that best represents a person’s personality. So, I did a Master’s degree in Accessory Design to delve into product design. To make my shoes, I could only turn to companies in the Marche region that specialise in women’s footwear.

What does your ideal shoe look like?

I would like to first note that this is a very complex socio-political period and, as such, it is not easy to decode what the market wants. We went through smart working that has relaunched comfort in fashion, but I thought of something that would escape from reality and give a slice of dreams to women. This is why I called my first collection, dedicated to Spring/Summer 2023, Metaphors of Light: laminated and iridescent leathers with a Middle Eastern retro vibe because gold and light transport you to far-away destinations. Gold is also something lasting in our culture and imagination, in tune with moments like these, when time periods are marked by events (the lockdown, different rules for different regions, etc.) that follow on quickly from one another and do not last for centuries, but come in short intervals, influencing and modifying people’s choices as well. For example, I have noticed that in January people are more depressed and for the next two months until spring they only buy very practical things, then towards the summer they buy more precious objects. This is the same behaviour that I see when news arrived about decreasing numbers of infections: when they decrease, people look for something of greater value. The concept of light in the collection therefore wants to express positivity and hope that I have interpreted through laminated and iridescent materials.

So, colours that are not very exuberant or bright?

I would talk more about reflections, shades, iridescent colours: of the night with black paint, of the purplish blue of certain sunrises or sunsets, of iridescent gold. The models range from high heels, to flats, to sneakers, because I believe that every collection must have a shoe for every woman, as long as it has a clear common thread that links all the shoes.

Why did you choose to debut in Montecarlo?

I chose to debut in Montecarlo for various reasons: it is a city with an undisputed allure and from a geographical point of view it represents the crossroads between Italy and France, which are the countries most focused on fashion; my collection is ‘Made in Italy’, but with a Monegasque taste, from the French Riviera. Furthermore, Montecarlo Fashion Week has become a hub for new talent. So I presented my collection on three distinct occasions: at the Daniele Giovani Design catwalk dedicated only to my shoes at the impressive Opera di Montecarlo, at the buyer presentation at the CREM (Club des Résidents Etrangers de Monaco), and then again on the 27th of May at the Grimaldi Forum, during the famous Amber Lounge Monaco Charity Fashion Show 2022 in Avenue Princesse Grace 10, where the ALTER collection of dresses by Pauline Ducruet, daughter of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, walked this catwalk with my shoes.

What are customers looking for today?

In general, reassuring and lasting products, timeless, with an intrinsic value. I noticed that before the pandemic my shop was 99% frequented by women who bought for themselves, later I saw that they bought more gifts and even men started going to the shop to buy gifts, for birthdays or anniversaries, of higher value than in the past.

Given that your store is increasingly frequented by male shoppers, have you thought, as a buyer, – not as a designer – about including men’s shoes as well?

Men have a completely different concept of shopping. First of all, this place is too intimate for men who need larger spaces and a shop offering total looks, including clothing. Women, on the other hand, love looking for products in various stores. I therefore believe that they are two different worlds and ways of shopping.

What are the models that are selling the most in this sales period?

Sandals for formal occasions in light gold, because it is an easily matched passe-par-tout shade. I myself do not like bright colours and, therefore, I proposed neutral tones for the shoes, but added a few touches of colour to the bags.

What will be the best sellers for next winter?

It is difficult to say for sure what will work next season. It will depend a lot on the sentiment of the moment. My customers will certainly come looking for accessories that are not banal, yet that are comfortable and functional for the winter, such as ankle boots with sexy but comfortable heels or slip-ons.

Do you also scout or do you focus on the most popular brands?

In addition to Fratelli Rossetti, Loriblu, Giorgio Fabiani, Pollini, Vic Matié, Baldinini and Orciani, Reptile House, Caterina Lucchi for bags, I have also added new names such as Hazy NYC, 7 am, 3 Juin for shoes and Giaquinto for bags. I must say, however, that people mostly focus on well-known and reassuring brands.

Flavia Colli Franzone