September 2 2014

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Edmundo Castillo, Sneaker Obsessive, Grows Up


Edmundo Castillo has spent years designing gorgeous, exotic shoes for the ladies (both for his former namesake collection, and for Santoni, which signed the Puerto Rico-born designer as creative director last year), but the guy himself was most often seen in sneaks. No more. This weekend in Milan, Castillo and partner Manuele Bianchi debut Casbia, their first men’s line. Castillo spoke to about trends, traditions, and just how many kicks he’s got in his closet.

How’d Casbia come about?

I always wanted a line of men’s shoes. I love buying men’s shoes, as much as a woman loves buying high heels and platforms. And I’ve always been a collector of the shoes that I like—I have over 500 pairs of sneakers. But lately, I’ve been having difficulty finding what I want to buy. My partner, Manuele, and I, we both feel that we’ve been wearing sneakers for the past ten years. It’s time for the shoe that’s going to replace the sneaker but still feel like a sneaker—to have that casualness. It’s almost like growing up.

So what can we expect from the initial collection?

We’re starting it with the ten shoes that every guy needs in his closet. We say “guy” because we see it as that guy who just enjoys dressing up in the morning as opposed to someone who is more of a fashion follower. This is for someone who knows that he wants a timeless piece in his closet. It has nothing to do with Edmundo Castillo as a brand—it’s not so much a fashion shoe of the season as one that keeps tradition in mind, with a modern edge.

So it’ll be ten shoes, from the sneaker to the dress shoe. There are times for everything, and there are times you need a dress shoe, not just a sneaker. Unless you work in the fashion industry, where you can get away with anything! But not everybody does. [Laughs.]

Interesting that you’re doing a men’s collection now, given that you’re also designing a women’s line for Santoni, the Italian brand that makes traditional men’s shoes.

Santoni has always been known as a maker of men’s shoes, and for the Santoni women’s collection, I’m taking a lot of elements from a men’s collection to create a very sexy shoe. The constructions are a lot more masculine-based—not to say masculine design. It’s making the sexiest women’s shoe in the most traditional men’s shoe factory. It’s all based on the identity of the brand. That’s the direction that I’m taking with Santoni—always with a lot of femininity when it comes to the colors, the heel height, the heel shapes, the lasts. I’m trying to stand out. You see so much of the same things these days—every shoe has more, more, more, and they get higher and higher and higher. These days everything has a red sole. I’m trying to give the collection an identity that stands alone.

Sounds good to us. Can we expect any Castillo shoes to be on the Fall 2010 runways?

Right this minute, I’ve left the factory where I was putting into work Narciso‘s shoe collection for his show. It’s a completely new thing for Narciso, and I’m super-excited about the silhouettes that we’re working on. And with Santoni, I’m doing the show footwear for Behnaz Sarafpour as well.

Photo: Courtesy of Edmundo Castillo