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3 Questions for Melissa’s Michele Levy

Melissa is forging ahead with a plan to take its signature plastic shoes worldwide.

The 33-year-old Brazilian label already has a presence in 70 countries, but it opened its first retail location outside Brazil — a New York flagship — early this year. And the brand plans to bow more international doors in the near future, starting with London, where Melissa found success with a pop-up shop during the 2012 Summer Olympics, according to company CEO Michele Levy.

The executive also told Footwear News in a conversation this week that additional Melissa stores are in the works for the U.S., although she declined to give a specific timeline.

Here, Levy talks about the Melissa’s longtime love of collabs and the footwear market’s current obsession with jellies.

1. Melissa is known for its collaborations, including with icons such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Zaha Hadid and Vivienne Westwood, but not all the names have been well known. How do you choose your partnerships?
ML:
You don’t have to be a [fashion or footwear] designer. We have worked with architects, artists and even a young rock musician we loved called Lovefoxxx. At retail, we do collaborations with some of the really cool concept stores in Brazil, and those [styles] never even come to the U.S. As long as [the collaboration] is fun and with someone we love, we’re game.

2. With whom would you like to partner next?
ML:
Personally, I’d love to collaborate with Jeff Koons. His work is so fun and architectural.

3. To what do you attribute the recent jelly trend?
ML:
This year has been different from other years. You can feel when a material is really, really hot. We were in the Chanel store in Paris, and they had jellies. Valentino has a [plastic] sandal for $375. [At more moderate price points], though, customers can realize that not all plastic shoes are created equal, and they can differentiate.

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