Like her TV cartoon character Lisa Simpson on “The Simpsons,” Yeardley Smith does things her own way.
“I march to the beat of my own drummer,” said the actress-turned-footwear entrepreneur, who is launching a fashion-comfort line, Marchez Vous YS, which she is producing through her Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company. Although Smith, 46, has no formal training in design, she is determined to be taken seriously. “My dream was to create a shoe brand, not just a celebrity-driven line,” she said.
The brand, which debuts for fall ’11, includes flared-heel booties and pumps, and modern-day, feminine combat and Western boots. And comfort is key: A fully cushioned footbed comes in every pair. “We can crack this nut,” said Smith. “[You] can have truly comfortable, exquisitely beautiful shoes. If shoes are not comfortable, we are like everyone else.”
Smith was inspired by one of her favorite fashion eras. “I love the 1940s,” she said. “It was a perpetually classic, sexy, elegant period of time. The first order of business was to flatter women and make them feel beautiful.”
While the designs aren’t literal interpretations of the period, they do feature retro details such as round toes and solid heels. “Round toes make your butt look smaller,” she said, noting they provide the right balance to her signature look — subtle shoulder pads. “[And sturdy heels] can be beautiful, not dowdy. [Combined] with a round toe and the [right] proportion of platform to heel, they make you feel solid on the ground, so you can charge around and accomplish your tasks.”
Set to retail from $250 to $500, the Italian-made line hits stores in July.
In addition to appearing in multiple movies and television shows, Yeardley Smith has voiced the character of Lisa Simpson since 1987. The show was just renewed by Fox for a 23rd season.
Novelty fabrics and materials lend a couture look to the line. For fall, Smith focused on tactile fabrics, including boiled wool, houndstooth, pinstripes, chenille and flannel. And, together with design experts, Smith took other opinions into account. “I can’t design just for myself,” she said. “I am willing to accommodate others’ tastes.”
Doretta Boehm, owner of San Francisco boutique Bettina, has three styles on her order list: a boot with a Louis heel and two platform pumps. “The line is very chic and slightly funky, but feminine, too,” said Boehm.