Founded in 2007 by Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman, luxury shoe brand Bionda Castana perfectly blends London-cool with Italian craftsmanship and expertise. Barbieri and Portman, who met at business school and are both half-Italian, were instantly inseparable and became known as ‘the blonde brunette’. Leaving high-flying banking and marketing jobs in the City to launch the company, years later their handle seemed like the perfect name for the business. They identified a niche in the luxury shoe market, for timeless and understated designs that suit the modern woman and all aspects of their daily lives. Within this niche, the brand rapidly gained momentum and are now stocked internationally in the world’s most illustrious department stores and online destinations such as Net-a-Porter.com, Harvey Nichols and Opening Ceremony.
A loyal following of London ‘girls-about-town’ and magazine editors grew and celebrities quickly followed suit. Bionda Castana has become the go-to shoe brand worn to events including the Grammys and Golden Globes by Keira Knightley, Alexa Chung, Nicole Richie, Olivia Palermo, Eva Mendes, Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, Miranda Kerr, Jessica Biel, Christina Hendricks, Zoe Saldana and Taylor Swift amongst others. On the catwalk, Bionda Castana have collaborated with renowned designers including Matthew Williamson, David Koma, Osman and Emilio de la Morena.
Barbieri and Portman design for women like themselves; they create the kind of shoes that they want to wear because they are the Bionda Castana customer. Each shoe is designed in the London studio and handmade in a remote town a few miles from Lake Como. Emphasis is on classic design, the finest fabrics and exceptional craftsmanship with a distinctive youthfulness and fun aesthetic. Distinctive features such as the classic single-sole pump, functional mid-heel and sheer panels has led to the evolution of their signature shapes and a highly recognisable brand image. Fabrics range from exotic skins, velvets and suede to technologically advanced intricate lace and printed silk. A signature design that has gained iconic status is the best-seller ‘Lana’, a single soled geometric pump that is a modern take on the universal court shoe.
Previously listed as a ‘brand to watch’, Bionda Castana’s ability to constantly deliver sought after collections and classic designs, has reinforced their position at the forefront of the global luxury footwear market.