In conversation with: Walter de Silva
Walter de Silva began his career as an industrial designer in the automobile industry and became an acclaimed designer at Alfa Romeo, Audi and Volkswagen. From cars he transitioned to women’s footwear to fulfill a childhood dream, establishing his eponymous brand. He now works with his daughter Julie, to create collections with a fresh aesthetic whilst remaining timeless and innovative.
We had the chance to discuss Walter de Silva’s inspiration and the selection of must-have mules and loafers you can find at Vasquiat.
VASQUIAT What was it about shoe design that appealed to you after working as a car designer for many years?
WALTER DE SILVAI spent the biggest part of my career in the automotive industry and I have also designed furniture, lighting and much more! Over the years I gained the necessary skills to become not only a 360° designer but also an engineer chameleon and many fields became my inspiration. However, designing shoes has been my long-lasting dream. As a child, my grandparents worked as artisans running a small business in the women’s sector, producing footwear worn by the ladies of the Milanese bourgeoisie. Today I am recreating a childhood dream; to succeed my grandparents’ business designing women’s shoes to affirm their refined authenticity, created and made in Italy. I feel that I can express my creativity in many domains. The footwear and automotive industry are two different sectors however, my motto, form in motion applies to both. Shoes, just like cars, are beautiful elements in movement and movement is key to my designs.
VThe Walter de Silva shoes in the selection at Vasquiat are innovative, timeless, and elegant. Is this how you would describe the aesthetic of the brand?
WDSThe main essence of Walter de Silva is its timelessness. We live in a world ever fastening, where consumption is being questioned. I wish to design elegant styles that will remain timeless. I imagine my clients seeing their pair of shoes as their long lasting friends accompanying them to special events or every day occasions.
Millow Loafer in Whit.- A fresh take on the classic loafer.
Catherine mule in Mediterraneo- Outing worthy spring mules.
“Today I am recreating a childhood dream; to succeed my grandparents’ business designing women’s shoes to affirm their refined authenticity, created and made in Italy.”
VWhat distinguishes Walter de Silva shoes?
WDS The fact that I am a 360° designer and my inspiration comes from my Italian heritage, but also mostly also from architecture, industrial design, and not trends. Also, it is increasingly difficult to find timeless design and long-lasting quality combined. At Walter de Silva, each pair is 100% created and handcrafted in Italy; all our materials, from the leather to the thread, are sourced from Italy. We aim for excellence, creating only one collection per year to fit in with our ethical fashion philosophy as well as qualitative designs. Moreover, I have studied each part of the shoe, from the heel stability to the sole inclination to create a design of perfect proportions.
“Shoes, just like cars, are beautiful elements in movement and movement is key to my designs.”
VTell us about your favorite pieces in the selection at Vasquiat and what is unique about them?
WDS This capsule collection called « Buongiorno! » is the first one that I created together with my daughter Julie. I guess that my favourites are the CATHERINE and BRIGITTE, because two generations came together to create them. Julie asked me to design mules, she came up with inspiration, new colors and materials, and I focused on creating a new signature heel and a timeless design. To me, the mules represent a new beginning and beautiful family work.