5 Questions for Caparros’ Top Duo

E! Entertainment Television, the cable network that covers all things celebrity, is getting in on the footwear action this spring, licensing its E! Live From the Red Carpet trademark to Caparros Shoes for a women’s label inspired by Hollywood.

Caparros founder Anavel Caparros said when E! — which already has product extensions with brands such as Stila Cosmetics and Adrianna Papell — approached her last year with the idea for a shoe line, she saw it as a good way to tap into the celebrity trend, with the benefit of the network’s built-in audience.

“I was excited because we’re the experts in the evening shoe business, but until now, we haven’t really had the opportunity to address the more contemporary approach,” said Caparros VP and creative director Mo Kenny. “I thought, now we can really do some hot, sexy shoes.”

The E! line, which hits major department stores in April, includes heels, sandals and booties inspired by fashion from awards shows. Going forward, the brand expects to put out 12 to 15 styles, retailing $89 to $130, four times a year.

Here, Footwear News chatted with Caparros and Kenny about the new partnership.

1. Why was the idea of a celebrity footwear line so appealing?
AC: We thought of bringing on a celebrity before, and we approached a few over the past five years, but we couldn’t find the right fit. This is a better approach because it is not about a specific celebrity; it’s about the culture.

MK: I’ve been in the footwear business for more than 40 years, and you can never [underestimate] the influence of pop culture on fashion.

2. Did you worry about launching a new brand in the uncertain economy?
MK: No. In difficult economic times, opportunities present themselves. Newness is part of what’s going to [sell] in a difficult economy.

AC: We never buy into the negativity.

3. How do you differentiate between the E! collection and your existing Caparros evening shoe business?
MK: I design each one of the E! shoes as an item that stands on its own, and the E! woman is more fashion-forward and a little younger [than the Caparros customer]. She is watching the award shows and getting her fashion from the red carpet. She doesn’t look at a shoe as an accessory; she gets dressed around her shoes. The Caparros customer buys her shoe after she buys the dress. Caparros owns the bride, the mother of the bride and cocktail party business. It’s more collection-driven.

4. What have been the biggest changes in the industry as a whole since you founded Caparros in 1988?
AC: No one could have told me 10 years ago how important [e-commerce] would be to the industry. I remember sitting at a dinner next to a guy from Via Spiga, and [he said] they were selling online with a department store and getting 44 percent returns. I said, “It’ll be a cold day in hell when people start buying shoes online.” But now that’s the way people shop.

5. What are some of the next big trends you see coming down the pipeline?
MK: Someone told me that single soles are coming back, but the consumer didn’t get that memo. We still have time with the platform. As long as young women are wearing short skirts and shorts, the platform is still alive and well. Also, I never would have believed that glitter and sparkly shoes would become seasonless, but in the last 18 months, we have actually seen glitter go across the board at every price point, and everywhere from day to evening.

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