style file, cesare paciotti

Scalpel Or Hatchet? Cesare Paciotti Prefers A Fine knife

Photo: Courtesy of Adrian Wilson

Last night Cesare Paciotti hosted a party in his newly reopened Madison Avenue boutique, which just underwent a three-month renovation and now boasts—in the typically understated Italian style—marble flooring, a mirrored ceiling, Baroque detailing, and an LED display case. Paciotti talked with (with help from the brand’s managing director/unofficial translator) about the new store and the other project that brought him to New York this week: the design competition he’s heading at Parsons. Paciotti will manufacture shoes and handbags designed by four students for their senior thesis collections, and the winner’s designs will be sold in Paciotti’s boutiques around the world. Buona fortuna, seniors!

Tell me about the concept behind the renovation of the Madison Avenue boutique.

It’s sort of a vintage jewelry box. You can see this from the mirrors in the ceiling and by the contrast of the color—the red—inside the display cases. As you can see, everything carries the logo. In the fixtures, the furnishings, and the frames of the mirrors you can see the dagger, which represents our brand.

Why the dagger?

The dagger represents power for men, because it’s a weapon. It can be powerful for women, too, as it represents a fine knife, which in Italian is “stiletto” and comes back to the stiletto heel of a women’s shoe.

Yesterday you met with senior accessories students at Parsons and launched a design competition there. What will you be looking for in the winner?

I felt already that many students had prepared themselves. They had sketches and inspiration boards and many creative ideas. I’ll be looking for this sort of preparation and imagination. I feel that I’m getting even more from the students than what I’m giving them. Having them around is such good energy. I really love that. I hope through inspiration they will do a good job of creating the small collection that I will produce for them.

You started out with a line of men’s shoes and collaborated with Dolce & Gabbana and Roberto Cavalli before designing a women’s collection. What do you prefer, designing for men or women?

It’s very different. When I approach the men’s line, I think of my wardrobe. It’s something more on my skin that I see myself in. When I approach the design of the women’s collection, it’s something I am inspired by. I see a beautiful woman walking on the street, and I can become more playful. There are more details: the height of the heel, the accessories, the rhinestones. It’s more fun.

Before you were a shoe designer, you were a drummer in a band. Do you still play?

Unfortunately, I’m not performing anymore. I see my friends from the band, but only when we go out for drinks.

What was the name of your band?

Ice Cream. We love ice cream.