Randy Ochart, well known for his French Sole collection of ballet flats, is expanding his repertoire.
After launching his New York-based brand 25 years ago, Ochart will make the leap into the comfort market for spring ’11 with sister brand FS/NY Comfort. This time around Ochart is raising the bar on comfort with a group of looks designed with multidensity platform wedges, padded footbeds and arch supports. He’s also borrowed from the ballet market, offering styles on sachetto constructions. “I tried to make the shoes very lightweight, but still with great ergonomics and lots of support,” he said.
Ochart has elicited feedback from his customers about what they want in comfort footwear through his French Sole Comfort store, a fashion-comfort shop that opened in April on New York’s Upper East Side (across the street from his two existing French Sole locations). And, he said, comfort is not the only thing on their wish lists. “They want younger, more fashion-driven styles. We use the store as a lab, so we know how the shoes will sell and fit,” he said, adding that a capsule collection will debut this fall in his store.
Produced predominantly in Italy, FS/NY Comfort includes a variety of looks, from sexy mules and tailored wedges to, of course, ballet styles. “[The line] goes from A to Z,” Ochart said. A companion series of boots is already on the drawing board for fall ’11. Set to retail from $150 to $300, the line hits stores in February.
Recognized for his signature ballet styles for French Sole, Randy Ochart is bringing the same soft touch to his comfort collection, this time with a hint of lift via platforms and wedges.
“I wanted to do a fun, whimsical line, not just one that was black and brown,” Ochart said. Instead, the color spectrum includes shades of blue, fuchsia and mushroom.
FS/NY Comfort caught the attention of Mari Jo Crowe, shoe buyer for Carabella in Oakmont, Pa. “French Sole does a good job [with fashion product], and this [new brand offers] more comfort,” she said. “Everybody of a certain age is looking for cute shoes that are comfortable, and these cover a lot of the foot.”