Georgian designer Ketevane Maissaia launched her Le Mocassin Zippé brand in 2013, offering traditional moccasin loafers with a twist — or a zip, more accurately.
Her styles feature a deceptively decorative-looking zipper on the front that enables the shoes to fasten together neatly when they’re not being worn.
Just like its visual concept, the brand itself is small but clever. Maissaia has a full-time day job as a bag designer at Loewe menswear and previously worked in a similar capacity at Hermès and Margiela.
“I like to keep the brand focused on one product to differentiate it,” she said. “That way, it’s easy for people to recognize and trust it.”
For spring ’18, she experimented with many colors and fabrics. Her Babuches style with a step-down heel and the Sabo slingback come in leather and suede, in rich shades such as electric blue, forest green and sunshine yellow. There are also over-the-knee boots done in canvas, and the soles of the shoes are made in either traditional leather or all-natural latex.
The collection retails for $475 to $650 at such sellers as Barcelona boutique Darial and Moreislove.com.
While based in Paris, Maissaia remains loyal to her roots by producing the line in her homeland. “Shoemaking is part of Georgia’s history, so I wanted to export its products and support local artisans,” she said. Even the shoeboxes are crafted there by hand in a tiny atelier.
And as a regular at the Mercedes Benz Tbilisi Fashion Week, Maissaia has become known for her quirky staging. For her latest show on Nov. 4, guests found themselves under a giant table where they could see all the shoes at eye level, and the event had a soundtrack with traditional Georgian dining songs.
“There is a big tradition of dining and sharing food, with lots of toasts, music and dancing,” she said, “so I wanted to play around with that and have some fun.”