The designer, who recently added comfort details to much of her collection, said the idea came from loyal customers of her 33-year-old eponymous brand.
“What women really want most is comfortable shoes,” said the designer, who visited New York from her home in Alicante, Spain, during the last week of October. To that end, Feldman has created a comfort-focused spring collection that includes pumps, flats and booties in a mix of animal prints, vibrant pops of color and contrasting textures such as leather, snakeskin and pony hair. The shoes will retail for about $275 to $350 on her e-commerce site and on HSN.
Here, Feldman weighs in on the move toward more comfortable footwear and how her brand is faring during a down economy.
1. How are you integrating comfort with your signature looks?
BF: Women are just fed up, and I’m trying to bring some normalcy back into the shoe business. Professional women should not have to feel compelled to walk into an office in 10-inch spike heels. You don’t have to be wearing a very high heel to make a statement. The [new collection] has solid heels. The heavier the heel, the more powerful the walk. The construction also includes a flexible rubber sole and an insole with memory foam that’s almost like mattress foam.
2. Why do you like to focus on understated constructions?
BF: Women’s footwear has really gotten out of hand with all the triple platforms and what The New York Times recently called “furniture shoes.” My whole aesthetic has always been about the glamour queens of the 1950s. That’s the inspiration for all my collections. I stick to what I believe in and what I think looks good.
3. You’ve been in the shoe business for more than 40 years. How do you weather difficult economic times?
BF: I design into it. We have a rather large business designing special collections [for department stores] that are priced for the recession. We offer an entry-level price point in the designer footwear zone. This [part of the business] has floated us through [recessions]. We’re doing [these more moderately priced products] constantly. Everybody does it, but maybe other people don’t talk about it.