– By Nicole Castagneto –
Translating to “Blonde Brunette” British shoe brand Bionda Castana has been catching our eyes; its mix of femininity and edgy details, making for glam yet ultimately wearable shapes that span any and all occasions. Created by Londoners Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman, Bionda Castana begins the design process in London, before coming to fruition – handcrafted in a family-owned factory – in Italy.
At a recent intimate candle-lit cocktail party, we sat down with designer Natalia Barbieri. A woman of grace and beauty, as well as a welcoming presence, we asked what inspired her Fall 2012 collection; her response was like a mural that attracted even the most skeptical of buyers.
“… inspired by the strength, beauty and mystique of film noir heroines, this collection is timelessly confident, effortlessly sexy, and utterly irresistible. The sensual, unspoken sexuality of the Forties and Fifties beats at the heart of the collection – each shoe the footwear equivalent of a knowing glance or subtle smile.”
“A women’s shoes give away her mood,” and Natalia’s collections paint this broad image ranging from a masculine studded loafer to a perfectly arched heel with a romantic body. With roughly two months of actual designing, the process always repeats itself starting with a blank canvas. Inspired by anything and everything that makes one’s life so fulfilled, it is predominantly her gut feelings that motivate her. Quality is what always stays consistent throughout each collection by only using the finest skins, handcrafted workmanship and, as always, being made in Italy.
“Fashion is the expression of all ones inner self.”
Shortly after Bionda Castana was launched, all of Natalia’s hard work and inspiration paid off by winning the Vogue Italia ‘Who Is On Next’ competition. With the future at hand (and a goal to work on a collection with Chanel in the offing), Natalia has paved a path that surly will succeed.
New York based, Nikki Castagneto is a jewelry designer recently launching Nikki Cast Jewelry in 2011. Nikki’s line is a fusion of masculine and feminine creating a truly unisex experience. Nikki Cast derives inspiration by the facets of our everyday lives as well as her love for motocross,“From Tools to Jewels.” Make sure to follow her on Twitter @byNikkiCast