Any time Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears something, it immediately jumps to the top of my shopping list. Her take on style is modern and on-trend without feeling trendy, and the same thing can be said about her just-launched shoe collection in partnership with Italian brand Gia Couture. For the collaboration, model, business owner, and entrepreneur Rosie Huntington-Whiteley co-designed a collection of four shoe styles with Gia Couture founder Barbara Borghini. Each shoe is a blend of modern design with elements from nature, including materials like radica wood and braided leather and autumnal tones ranging from hazelnut to moss green. One thing is certain: every shoe is stunning and I guarantee that you’ll spot them on every fashion insider this season.
After partnering with Danish influencer Pernille Teisbaek last year, Borghini already has a wildly successful collaboration under her belt and has made a point of having woman-led design core to her brand. “Since the launch [of Gia Couture], I’ve considered every aspect of the brand with a forward-looking approach singularly focused with each collection on making women feel special. I love meeting and speaking with strong women and this brand has given me endless opportunities to learn and grow,” Barbara Borghini explains.
Ahead, Barbara Borghini dives into the collaboration, what inspired it, and which shoes are destined to sell out.
How did the Gia Couture collaboration with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley come about?
I have long admired Rosie's impeccable taste and entrepreneurial spirit. She always seemed to me such a leader in everything she does, as well as a true natural beauty inside and out. I reached out to Rosie last year and asked if she would ever like to design a footwear collection, and that was the start. It’s been a dream come true for us both.
What inspired the collaboration?
All of the styles were carefully chosen with Rosie to complement her modern style and how she wanted to feel in the shoes. She had so much insight on how simple details like the wrap of the ankle strap or heel height could flatter the leg, and that translated so beautifully into the silhouettes for each style. The color scheme was inspired by the beauty of nature and many of the autumnal tones we were seeing as the collection was being developed—burnt orange, hazelnut, golden brown, and moss green. We also pulled in radica wood and braided leather, natural materials to mirror that simplicity of nature.
The collection was well edited to make sure each style has a clear identity with two flat sandals and two heels. I truly believe all styles have a lot of potential and will sell strong because they were designed with purpose—something for everyone. If I had to guess, perhaps the Rosie 2 [strappy sandals] for fun nights out. That’s my personal favorite.
Which shoe from the collection is your personal favorite shoe? What about Rosie Huntington-Whiteley?
I love them all but I think for Rosie and I the strappy sandals, Rosie 2, is definitely a favorite. The design of the heel is so unique - the heel height makes it look sexy and flattering, yet the wedge design is what makes it comfortable to wear. It’s a perfect day to night heel style.
What was the process like designing the collection through lockdown?
Due to the pandemic, everything was created over many Zoom meetings, emails, videos, and notes with our global teams in Florence, Paris, London, NY, and LA. That was certainly an added challenge but there was also an immediate connection as we shared the same vision. I really respect Rosie’s commitment to style and comfort—qualities that Gia prides ourselves on working with the very best in Italy. She knew she wanted height without sacrificing wearability and we were able to develop a new heel for this collection to make it unique. Throughout the process, she brought so much of her own experience and ideas to these designs and I feel we helped to refine and execute them in a way that made her proud.
What is your #1 tip for styling the shoes this spring?
Rosie’s collection is elegant and sophisticated but at the same time has an ease which makes the shoes perfect to wear any time. The neutral, earthy colors are easy to style together with other colors or to create beautiful monochromatic looks, which I personally love.
They can be the perfect piece to elevate key outfits: sophisticated and chic for a business meeting, or casual but still put together for a girls lunch. The flats can be worn even just to run your daily errands for a look that’s laid back but still very stylish.
I look forward to going out for an aperitivo in Florence wearing a strong leather cropped pantsuit and my favorite Rosie 2 [strappy sandals]. That’s my look this season.