Style Insider - Natalia Barbieri of Bionda Castana

We go behind the scenes with Natalia Barbieri, the designer and founder of Bionda Castana.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in London by an Italian father and Spanish mother.

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Tell us about yourself - how did you get into fashion?

When I was 15 my older brother Alberto went to Milan with friends for a shopping trip. When he returned to London, he brought back a pair of Sergio Rossi shoes. They were a single sole, blue crocodile leather court shoe with an elongated point and a thin strap across the ankle on a 10cm heel. I loved them, and I wore them to death. I still have them. They got me thinking about shoes in a different way. I remembered how I felt the day I received those shoes, the joy of unwrapping the box to discover something so exquisite, so chic, so feminine and I thought that’s what I want to do. I want to design shoes...shoes that make women feel beautiful and empowered. So I decided to take a risk. Bionda Castana was born late 2007.

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“I adore the juxtaposition of a soft feminine blouse and the hardness of leather trousers. Here I am wearing J Brand leather with Bionda Castana Zelda brogues. Even though I’m not wearing heels, this outfit means business.”

Where do you like to shop?

Sandro, Stella McCartney, Equipment, Selfridges, Browns, Vince, Zara and of course Donna Ida without question for my denim needs.

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Who are your style icons (past of present)?

I adore Sophia Loren. A true woman in all aspects. Exquisite. And also my mother who always looked impeccable.

donna ida, bionda castana, style insider, style tips, london fashion, london style, street style“This is my perfect ‘dash-to-drinks-after-work’ look. It works for me any day, at any time.”

Why did you choose to have the shoot in this space?

I spend a lot time in East London, primarily because I visit my PR Team at RMO COMMS regularly and because I socialise here a lot too. The space itself is very inspiring. Back to back with creative agencies. The Boundary opposite the Biscuit Building never fails to please either. This part of London has always felt very New York to me, which is also a city I love.

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“My ‘Friday’ work look has been revealed! This is perfect for wintery days in London.”

What is your best industry advice?

Fear is not an option.