You know you’ve made it as a designer when people recognize your pieces without having to look at the label. Today, those outside of the fashion pack recognize a ruffled off-the-shoulder that falls just-so as Johanna Ortiz and it’s not just editors who refer to Aquazzura’s tie-up sandals by their style name “The Wild Thing”.
But what makes a stand-out piece? Is there a secret formula to achieving iconic status? We asked designers to reveal the stories behind their signature styles.
THE ULTIMATE OFF-THE-SHOULDER
Johanna Ortiz’s Tulum Top
"Shoulders have always been really important to me and not because it’s a trend.
It’s a meeting point between sexy bombshell and elegant. I wasn’t expecting it [to be so popular] when I designed it.
Everyone wanted it and wore it so differently and styled it in so many different ways that it became a classic."
"I've always loved ‘20s flapper dresses and wanted to create a great dancing shoe.
The Wild Thing works equally well with jeans or a cocktail dress, walking down the street or dancing the night away.
I love how @garypeppergirl works it with a white skirt and shirt. She looks great."
"We wanted to create a signature shape that represented our architectural inspiration.
It took us eight hours to draw! We envisaged a day into night bag that you could wear to work and then go straight to dinner or cocktails,
but we love how some women wear it for weddings with long beautiful gowns."
"Seafarer’s relaunch was motivated by the idea of resurrecting a brand from the 1900s without a nostalgic perspective.
We reinterpreted a technical trouser originally designed for sailors into a feminine and contemporary jean.
We were clear about our goals and brand image from the start though it wasn’t without it’s challenges, particularly during the era of the skinny jean."
–FOUNDERS Federico Barina,
"We didn’t set out to create a bodycon dress—it was more about finding a silhouette that is empowering, feminine and timeless.
We envision the look how we show it on the runway but that's definitely not the only way to wear it.
It’s exciting to see how a woman herself, and her attitude, can change a dress entirely."
"I was in need of a supportive swimsuit that also reflected my personality.
Everything out there was too boring, too bling-bling, too sexy, too granny, or too padded.
I thought I’d sell in five stores and maybe a few from my website… I had no idea it would become such a success!"