FN Summit: Let’s Talk Shoes

Photo by John Aquino, WWD
Tabitha Simmons, Alessandra Lavin, and Laurence Dacade are three of the most prominent women in footwear today (if only Charlotte Olympia has been there…) and all three of them love luxury.
Photo by John Aquino, WWD
Tabitha Simmons, a former model and a fashion stylist for magazines such as American and Italian Vogue, is making a serious impression on the fashion industry, especially since she just won the CFDA Swarovski award for Emerging Talent in Accessory Design. Since launching in 2009, the brand has grown into quite an impressive luxury business that makes genuinely beautiful yet cool shoes, which are sold at over 6o locations. She is careful to grow her business slowly and “organically…one step at a time.” Her biggest challenges, though, in the business are “production, and getting it into stores on time.” She ultimately would love to have a store, because “then you really connect to your customer.” She loves collaborating with designers, like Creatures of the Wind, for runway shows, as it’s “fun, and a great way to grow with them. You support each other, it’s nice.” Nice indeed, almost nicer than that CFDA award.
Photos Courtesy of Aperlai
Alessandra Lanvin believes that female shoe designers have an advantage over their male counterparts, since men tend to fantasize more about heels, and not take into account a woman’s comfort, while women do. Alessandra founded Aperlai (named for the ancient Lycian city), a luxury accessory line, almost three years ago, though she holds degrees in Political Science and Art History. It is fitting, then, that most of her inspiration comes from Artists; favorites include Picasso, Pollack, and Mondrian. The modern styles of these artists are clearly represented in Ms. Lanvin’s shoe designs- her shoes often include such elements as graphic lines, asymmetries, and contrasts. She often uses exotic skins such as python and pony, and all her shoes are made in Italy. Her main focus will always be on footwear, though she is open to expanding, but just a little bit. “Aperlai is a small brand, and we want to remain as such,” she stated, and added that with all the big luxury shoe companies out there, it is hardly wise to try and compete. 

Photos Courtesy of Laurence Dacade
Laurence Dacade is certainly the envy of most everyone, for she has collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. That’s pretty much the ultimate. She likes Karl a lot, and likes that he “knows exactly what he wants, he’s quick, he’s talented, and professional…” she shares in a thick French accent that she actually apologized for, which made her Parisian charm that much charmier, “everyday it’s a great moment (with him).” So though she loves him, and who wouldn’t love working for Chanel? She doesn’t just want to be known for her (amazing) collaborations. She wants to be known for her own line as well, she wants the client to be happy, and she wants to “fight for the idea that you don’t have to fight to wear heels,” that is, they should be comfortable. I’m liking her more and more. She loves designing, loves to work on the heel, the proportion, the fabric, and loves shoes in general. She went into footwear because, plain and simple, she loves shoes, and she gives them everything she’s got.
These three women were so inspiring, they are successful, beautiful, talented, and all around pretty amazing.

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