The Paciotti brand of shoes is famous for its fine Italian craftsmanship, and the designer Cesare Paciotti has launched a collection of sandals this Ramadan, created specifically for the UAE market. Fashioned from rare and exotic leather and available in rich shades of mahogany, ebony and pewter, the footwear features buckles, snaffles and the famous Paciotti dagger.
What was the inspiration behind your Ramadan/Eid collection?
When I first visited the UAE for the opening of my boutique in Dubai, I realised that the Arabic sandal would be an interesting product to apply my design to. It meant that, other than the watch, the Emirati male could also express his fashion taste through his sandals. Based on the traditional national costume, the sandal is an important element of the overall look. When sourcing the leather to produce my range for the GCC region, I work with experts who treat or tan the leather in a specific way to guard it from the effects of the heat.
Why was the collection designed with the Emirati market in mind?
I have a great admiration for the UAE and its people. I have also formed great collaborations with my local partners here. And when you admire people, they become the basis of your inspiration and you subconsciously want to service them better. Designing the Emirati sandal collection was my way of giving back to the people who have been so supportive to me. I've been to the UAE several times, my first visit was 17 years ago. In 1996, I remember Dubai as an evolving industrial city. But even then, I could identify a real hunger for fashion and I wanted to be a part of, and contribute to, the growth of the fashion spectrum in the UAE.
How have you married Italian craftsmanship with UAE tastes in footwear?
Designing the Arabic sandal required me to plunge into the Emirati culture and really research the sandal and the elements that make it special. I have great respect and admiration for the region's hold on culture and tradition; I feel honoured that I can somehow contribute to it. So this collection is the perfect harmony of traditional elements infused with Italian design and quality.
What do you make of the Emirati men's style of apparel and accessories?
I feel that the Emirati traditional dress has a modern twist when compared to other countries in the GCC region. Emirati men come across as very sophisticated and they are always at the forefront of fashion when it comes to their watches and accessories.
Does the dagger logo have any regional roots or is it just a coincidence?
I guess it's just a happy coincidence! However, I do love how the dagger has traditional roots in the region and that it symbolises strength. I chose it because many years ago, I realised that the men who wear my shoes felt the necessity to have a symbol of their behaviour and their style: a dagger is a friend for every man, both noble or poor. It's an element of pure style, deep rooted in many ancient cultures as in the Arabic or Italian one. Its shape is also similar to my shoes, not only because they are often long and pointed, but there are qualities of discretion and elegance, too. Similarly, when I started my women's collection, I realised that an Italian translation for the dagger is the stiletto.
How have you adapted your styles in Emirati sandals over the years? Are tastes evolving and becoming less conventional and conservative?
I feel that with every collection, we are getting a little more courageous and creative. Our Emirati customers are looking for something out of the ordinary, so with every collection we hope to give them more of what they want.
Which well-known Emirati would you like to see wearing your designs this Eid?
I'd have to say His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Ruler of Dubai and Vice President of the UAE. He symbolises leadership, strength, style and sophistication, which is synonymous with the brand.
Cesare Paciotti boutiques are located in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Qatar. Visit www.cesare-paciotti.com