Fashion polymath Ada Kokosar first launched her luxury footwear brand, Midnight 00, as a collaboration with Italian footwear brand Cesare Paciotti, for its autumn '18 collection. Despite her initial reservations - namely a lack of design experience - the stylist/consultant, and now Creative Director of Midnight 00, conceded and set about creating a line of shoes that would feel entirely unique.
Steering away from Paciotti's typically controversial and unconventional campaigns in favour of something new, the path to this new-fashioned future was by way of both the past and the imagined past. "Cinderella's glass slipper and the opulence of Marie Antoinette's style" were key contributors to Midnight 00's now trademark whimsical designs. Visions of PVC and silk, they are indeed befitting of a modern-age heroine.
Midnight 00 by Ada Kokosar
Type of Brand:
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the countryside near Milan, surrounded by nature and horses. It gave me a lot of freedom.
Your earliest fashion memory is…
My grandmother getting dressed. She was always wearing couture or fancy garments, even just to stay at home. I remember her sipping coffee on her patio wearing printed robes with huge diva shades and jewellery. I was so fascinated by her.
How does the name Midnight 00 connect with your brand?
It comes from childhood fantasy tales such as One Thousand and One Nights and Cinderella.
Where is your studio and what does it look like?
I have a studio at home. One of the walls is painted in magenta, the exact same colour as the table below it - a beautiful piece by Umberto Mascagni. In the middle of the room stands a spectacular chair by artist Carla Tolomeo; it's the shape of a big palm and made from velvet and embroidery. There's also a 19th-century glass expositor where I display all my shoes.
What songs do you play on repeat in your studio?
It depends on which mood I want to be in or bring out. Lately, I'm listening to Mina Mazzini since it was her 80th birthday recently.
You started out as a stylist. How did the transition to accessories designer come about?
I've been a fashion consultant for years, working closely with the design team [at Paciotti]. Three years ago, I was asked to revamp the Paciotti shoe line. I declined the offer many times as I had never designed shoes before, but since they kept insisting, I decided that I needed to trust in myself.
Tell us about your thought process when faced with the challenge and opportunity of revamping a brand like Paciotti.
Paciotti was very famous for its unconventional campaigns. When they hired me, I thought the key to success was not in another controversial campaign, but in the designing of shoes that were unique to the market - shoes that haven't been seen before. In order to design something new and distinctive, I referenced the most iconic shoe in history: Cinderella's lost glass slipper. That's how I came out with the pump wrapped in silk and PVC.
Originally from Milan, you later moved to New York. What was - or is - NYC's appeal?
New York is the city of possibility and opportunity. If you have a voice, that's the place it will be heard the most.
Who is the Midnight 00 customer?
A romantic woman who loves fantasy and to feel elegantly sensual.
If you could see your designs worn by anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Shop your own line. What are three of your favourite pieces?
I'm emotionally attached to the Shell pump for its unicity. I still vividly remember the feeling I had when I made the prototype. I also love the mule that ended up being included in the MET costume exhibition Camp: Notes on Fashion, as well as the very first prototype I made: the Cinderella slipper.
Other than Midnight 00, what brands are in your closet?
We're talking about 20 years worth of fashion! The question should be: "what's not in your closet?"
What have been some of the greatest challenges in launching and running an accessories brand?
The sense of responsibility towards your team, costumers, the buyers and the manufacturer.
What role has social media played in your brand's growth?
It played a crucial role. Rising from 1,000 followers to 10,000 on the @midnight00 account in a couple of days was all thanks to a single post that went viral. The post was a cropped picture of me wearing the shell shoes in polka-dot tulle. When fantasy blossoms…
Is travel a source of inspiration?
Three destinations on your travel wish list…
Where is your favourite place in the world and why?
Home, because I have everything I need. It's my sweet shelter.
What are you reading right now?
News about the coronavirus to stay informed and shape my opinion on how to respond to the imminent change we will go through.
What podcasts are you listening to?
Deepak Chopra's Infinite Potential and the Making Sense Podcast with Sam Harris.
If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?
In nature as it reaches full blossom.
What's next for Midnight 00?
Sustainability. I'm working to pull together a collection of shoes made with materials that have a low impact on the environment.