9 Of The Best Women’s Shoe Stores Worldwide

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The
119 Corbo, Toronto.
Courtesy Image.

In a follow-up to our 2015 profiles of great men’s stores, Footwear News scanned the globe to find luxury women’s boutiques that have transcended the typical retail experience to create something unprecedented.

With their elevated merchandising and visionary designs, these stores set the brick-and-morter bar higher.

119 Corbo — Toronto
In 2017, this luxury boutique, located steps away from Toronto’s Hazelton Hotel and the Four Seasons, will celebrate its 10th anniversary. Founder and chief merchant Linda Perisa shared a peek inside her haute business strategy. — Erika Flynn

Why did you open 119 Corbo?
“I’m all about the street and had a feeling for the location. I knew the building itself would be a perfect place to execute my retail vision.”

What are some of your key brands?
“Céline, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Rick Owens, Haider Ackermann, Ann Demeulemeester, Maison Margiela and Stella McCartney.”

How would you describe your merchandising philosophy?
“Everything has a home. We don’t just buy for the sake of buying. We can see exactly whose closet that shoe is going to end up in. Literally and figuratively, shoes can transport you. And just like the Cinderella story, we know the perfect fit.”

Who is your target clientele?
“Women who know themselves and express it through fashion.”

Describe your vision for the store’s atmosphere.
“The rebirth of cool.”

What is the secret to your success?
“We believe in luxury, which should never be thrown out or discounted. You should wear your soles out.”

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World 119 Corbo, Toronto. Courtesy Image.

Antonia — Milan
Antonia Giacinti and Maurizio Purificato are the founders of Milan’s successful multibrand boutique, Antonia, a point of reference for the international fashion community.

The boutique opened as an accessories store in 1999, and through the years, the married couple opened two more locations: one for women’s ready-to-wear and another dedicated to men’s fashion. In 2011, Giacinti was appointed fashion director at Excelsior, Milan’s luxury department store, and two years later, the Antonia men’s and women’s stores were combined into one at Milan’s Palazzo Cagnola, in the city’s artsy Brera district.

Architect Vincenzo De Cotiis designed the store incorporating contemporary elements, including sleek glass and metal displays, in the overall classical space, showing late 19th-century plasters and capitals. Giacinti and Purificato’s philosophy is to mix niche brands — which are not too international — with the most successful and international labels, such as pairing the Japanese brand Sacai with Saint Laurent.

The boutique has an expansive range of women’s luxury shoe brands, including Christian Louboutin, Pierre Hardy, Sophia Webster and Jimmy Choo. — Francesca Bonfanti

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Antonia, Milan. Courtesy Image.

Mona Moore — Venice Beach, Calif.
Lisa Bush’s first Mona Moore boutique operated in Montreal from 2002 to 2010. When she moved with her family to Los Angeles, the store concept came along, too.

In 2009, Bush opened a Mona Moore shop in Venice Beach. The store moved last year to a space on Main Street that typifies her goal of giving women “access to the more unusual shoes they will both wear and adore.”

Many of Bush’s customers are appreciators and collectors of beautiful design and craft. “They love clothing as creative expression,” she said. “They’re ‘fashion nerds’ like myself. They know a lot about the history of fashion and avidly follow where fashion is headed.”

Mona Moore is a place where if a customer wants a particular runway shoe and the silk knee socks that were worn with it, “we probably have it,” she said.

The store serves customers from across the globe who are often described as “aesthetically brave,” she noted. Its top labels include Margiela, Vetements, The Row, Marni, Marsell, Cherevichkiotvichki, Laurence Dacade, Tabitha Simmons, Ann Demeulemeester and Haider Ackermann.

With a “high-end and low-key” approach, Bush aims to create a fun and inviting shopping experience: “We sell precious items in a laid-back atmosphere. Exquisite things should be a part of daily life, not saved for special occasions.” — E.F.

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Mona Moore, Venice Beach, Calif. Courtesy Image.

Miss Louise — Melbourne, Australia
Morry Fishman opened Miss Louise in Melbourne’s luxury shopping district in 1964. In the 1970s, he and his wife realized they needed to “break away from the drab offerings available in Australia and import Italian and French shoe and handbag designers,” said Fishman’s daughter, Jacqueline Fishman, a co-owner of the store. Below, she reveals some highlights from the luxury boutique. — Zameena Mejia

What are some of your top brands?
“Giuseppe Zanotti, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Aquazzura, Gianvito Rossi, Rene Caovilla, Tod’s, Sergio Rossi, Alexander McQueen, Chloe, Versace, Balmain, Bionda Castana.”

How would you describe your merchandising philosophy?
“We like to have a certain edge to our selection, such as customized styles and colors, exclusivity with certain brands or limited-edition pieces. We carry a large selection of color and an eclectic take on current trends. We don’t follow like sheep, but will often go out on a limb with new designers.”

Who is your target clientele?
“As we are located in Melbourne’s premiere luxury shopping precinct, we have a large base of tourists. But we also offer personalized service to a return clientele [coming from all across Australia].”

What is the secret to your success?
“[Having] something different and great personalized service.”

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Miss Louise, Melbourne, Australia. Courtesy Image.

Colette — Paris
For nearly 20 years, Colette has provided a handpicked selection of styles, offering “a little something for everybody,” said spokesman Guillaume Salmon.

The store, founded and owned by Colette Roussaux and daughter Sarah Lerfel, has three floors that collectively contribute to Colette’s goal of reinventing the concept of retail.
The basement is a water-bar restaurant, the ground level showcases art, high-tech products and urban lifestyle pieces, and the top level features women’s and men’s apparel, shoes and accessories.

“We have a minimalist aestheticism in order to put the product and only the product under the [spotlight],” said Salmon.

The store changes its windows and displays weekly to suggest a variety of ways to wear outfits. Colette’s available shoes include Manolo Blahnik, Valentino, Gucci, Alaïa, Aquazzura and Paul Andrew, as well as Ipanema and Melissa.

Initially, Colette’s mission was to offer products one couldn’t find in Paris, said Salmon. He attributes the store’s success to hard work and continued innovation. “We always think about how to surprise you tomorrow and never about the success of yesterday,” said Salmon. — Z.M.

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Colette, Paris. Courtesy Image

Just One Eye — Los Angeles
Just One Eye launched first as a website in November 2011 and then debuted a sophisticated brick-and-mortar presence in January 2012, on Romaine Street in Los Angeles. According to store manager Paola Russo, the shop strives to consistently inspire and surprise its customers. “The challenge is to keep it fresh and different each time,” she said. — E.F.

What was the initial goal of this store?
“The inspiration was to create something fresh and unusual, different from the traditional retail concept. Unlike most stores on Rodeo Drive or West Hollywood, we’re located in a creative and cultural destination. The store is housed in an Art Deco building, which was once home to the headquarters of Howard Hughes’ aviation empire.”

What are some top women’s brands you offer?
“To name a few, Francesco Russo, Gianvito Rossi, Pierre Hardy and Robert Clergerie.”

What is your merchandising philosophy?
“Each season, our buyers bring back a carefully curated and enhanced selection of designers. It’s based on what we’re drawn to in the moment, but most importantly, it’s the craftsmanship, integrity and rarity of the product.”

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Just One Eye, Los Angeles. Courtesy Image.

Secret Location — Vancouver, British Columbia
Secret Location is an adventurous, 7,500-sq.-ft. retail space that also houses a 65-seat restaurant. Founder and creative director Carey Melnichuk takes pride in Canada’s first true luxury destination concept store. “Every customer has a different experience, and we build an expectation that every visit will surprise with something new, personal and memorable,” she said.

Opened in June 2012, the store is in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Gastown district. A second location, at McArthurGlen Vancouver Airport, debuted this summer. Called “SL,” it serves as a contemporary division of the flagship store.

Melnichuk’s motivation was to create a place of intellectual expression and sartorial creativity within the city she loved most. Key brands include Aperlaï, Giannico and Jean Michel Cazabat, for customers who have discerning taste and a clear worldview of fashion, food and lifestyle. “They’re playful and looking for something new,” Melnichuk said. “Our customers don’t follow brands — they’re drawn to thought-provoking products and quality craftsmanship.”

A vibrant merchandising philosophy has created a shop known for bold products and pristine displays. “Our space effortlessly blends whimsical and colorful design elements against a white-on-white backdrop,” said Melnichuk. “Our aesthetic is an exploration of old and new, symmetry and chaos, structure and playfulness. We want people to feel like they’ve escaped into a new world, to live in the moment and be inspired.” — E.F.

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Secret Location, Vancouver, British Columbia. Courtesy Image.

LN-CC — London
There has always been an aura of mystery surrounding LN-CC for its unexpected location and alternative design.

As LN-CC is tucked away in an alleyway off Dalston’s Shacklewell Lane, in London’s East End, a map is mandatory to spot the discreet entrance of the concept store that launched in 2010.

Once inside, a wooden tunnel with neon, acrylic accents — designed by illustrator and set designer Gary Card — leads to the shop floor, which houses the retailer’s ready-to-wear and footwear collections, as well as a curated selection of hard-to-find vinyl albums and magazines.

Like the design aesthetic, the store merchandise embraces the same dedication to creativity, offering major brands such as Gucci and Saint Laurent along with eco-conscious labels and Japanese streetwear.

LN-CC’s footwear highlights include embellished Christopher Kane sneakers and Gucci mules, as well as raw-edged brogues and chunky sneakers with futuristic PVC panels by Petrucha Studio and Rombaut.

“Our footwear buy for fall ’16 is heavy with classic styles, with a focus on Italian craftsmanship and traditional silhouettes,” said Lottie Elerker, LN-CC’s womenswear buyer. “Gucci and Fendi provide a modern twist on Italian heritage with shearling platform slip-ons, knee-high boots and embellished mules, while Christopher Kane offers a sportier aesthetic with studded neoprene and oversized fastenings.” — Natalie Theodosi

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World LN-CC, London. Courtesy Image.

Fivestory — New York
Native New Yorker Claire Distenfeld has always loved to travel and collect unique objects. After working in the art world, she collaborated with her father, Fred, to create a store that would embody both old-world elegance and modern innovation. They opened Fivestory in 2012 in New York. — E.F.

What makes Fivestory unique?
“Customers come to discover renowned international ready-to-wear designers, alongside cutting-edge creatives. We house exclusive Fivestory collaborations, impeccably created accessories, fine and fashion jewelry and home décor that span the globe.”

What are your key women’s brands?
“Gianvito Rossi, Proenza Schouler, Aquazzura, Sergio Rossi, Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Olympia and Pierre Hardy.”

Who is your target clientele?
“Customers who enrich their own tales with our rare offerings.”

Describe your store’s aesthetic.
“With the help of interior designer Ryan Korban, we transformed the space into a treasure trove of the world’s finest items. It’s a nod to not only the building, but also the distinct histories behind each product placed within its walls.”

Best Women's Shoe Stores In The World Fivestory, New York. Courtesy Image.

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