New Italian Shoe Brand Nina Smith Has the Most Adorable Illustration on its Insoles

Nina Smith founder and designer Chiara
Nina Smith founder and designer Chiara Cubiciotto
Ivan Marianelli

Taking an iconic shape and giving it a modern twist is no easy task. However, Nina Smith founder Chiara Cubiciotto has worked closely with artisans in the South of Italy for her playful updates on the traditional Caprese sandal. The insoles feature a manga-style doll motif – Cubiciotto’s alter ego – also set to appear in the fledgling brand’s digital communication activities. 

A Nina Smith Caprese sandal. A Nina Smith Caprese sandal. Courtesy Photo.

Her debut spring 2018 collection, launched during Milan Fashion Week in September, reworks the classic Caprese sandal with its hand-stitched sole. Done in calf leather or raw-edged suede with either flat or block heels, the lineup features bright colors inspired by the Mediterranean. Styles include a thong, two-strap and T-bar. Some come embellished with crystals and pearls in the shape of sea creatures such as a sea horse, octopus and starfish.

Born and raised in Naples, Cubiciotto describes herself as a travel addict and says her trips abroad are a great source of inspiration. “I gave the sandals an international twist,” she said. “I combined everything I saw around the world.” The same goes for the name, Nina Smith; Nina is a nickname common in Naples and Smith gives the brand, according to the founder, a more international flavor. Indeed, fashion runs in the family. Cubiciotto’s mother Antonella Di Pietro is the global creative director at Tommy Hilfiger

Each pair of Nina Smith shoes is handmade by Neapolitan artisans and aims to be unique which, according to the designer, is the true goal of any luxury brand.

Nina Smith sandals in different color combinations. Nina Smith sandals in different color combinations. Courtesy Photo.

The shoes will retail between $185 and $290 dollars with suppliers including Rinascente. E-commerce is planned to roll out in fall 2018.