Guest Interview n°20: George Esquivel


Guest Interview n° 20: George Esquivel

Among conoisseurs of fine shoes – and among southern Californians – George Esquivel requires no fanfare or introduction. From simple beginnings and through honest, meticulous work he built a passion for shoes into a sterling reputation for quality and creativity. We’ve even called him a sort of present-day, living Salvatore Ferragamo. A truly inspiring artisan in a thoroughly impersonal industry, his tiny atelier churns out masterpieces that regularly make their rounds in the glossies, and he was just featured in this month’s issue of Monocle as an example of an exceptionally inspired small business success story. We had a chat with him following the launch of his fresh collaboration with Italian shoe giant Fratelli Rosetti.

How and when did this collaboration with Fratelli Rossetti begin?
Diego (their managing director and son of one of the founding Rosetti brothers) wanted to relaunch the brand. He came to the states six moths ago to meet me, we met, we clicked. We understood each other immediately and in short time began our collaboration.

Does this capsule collection have an Italian attitude?
It’s a mix of both Italian and Californian influences. I design for a free spirit so I don’t want to define my style as a nationality. And this wasn’t just a capsule collaboration! It’s a long-term, true collaboration that has just begun… next season will be even better!

Are you happy to be linked up with a big, historical Italian brand like FR?
Of course, has always been a dream for me to work with an Italian brand and it’s really an honor to have collaborated with them.

How do you think Italians will react to your work?
I am not worried about it. The collection is not only for Italian market, it’s for Americans and everyone else, for that matter. In any case, I design what I love…

So, three words to describe Italy?
Really. Amazing. Food.

What do you think is the strong point of this work?
Like all of my work, the collection maintains a classic edge and superfluous craftsmanship. Its point of strength is a mix of elements: twists, turns, colors, and shapes inspired by Diego’s father’s style. Colors and treatments and leathers mixed to 60’s shapes…

Which materials do you prefer to use?
Leather only. It’s the best material, no comparisons. You can do anything with it.

Your feelings about vintage?
I love vintage leather!

Has your idea of beauty evolved or changed since your first collection?
I definitely understand shoes and shoemaking better… Lots of changes in my taste since my first collection. At the beginning, in the mid-90s, I was inspired by rock’ n roll and punk and my style was more aggressive. Now times have changed, as has my idea of beauty with it.

What have shoes meant for your life?
Quite a bit, obviously. I wear shoes that I design, shoes are my passion and deeply connected to me, my family and the people I love.

If you hadn’t become a shoe designer what would you probably be doing now?
Only God knows…

What kind of music do you like to listen to?
What inspires you when you create? I like different kinds of music. Right now I especially love Janelle Monae. I made shoes for her in the video for “Tightrope.” I also listen to Ben Harper… and he wears my shoes as well.

Have you evern worn women’s shoes?
NO WAY! Definitely not my style…

Intro by Tag Christof, Interview by Giudetta Vigilani, Images by Sara Romani, Film by David Hubert for Esquivel.