First Look at Boot Tapas

As a former furniture designer, Angelina Danette has a way with materials.

“I’ve always liked putting collages of fabrics and leather together,” she said. Her new footwear label, Boot Tapas by Angelina Danette, takes that notion to the next level for fall ’12. It features boots with interchangeable, zip-off shafts that come in an array of colors and materials. The corresponding leather shoes can also be worn alone, as booties.

The five styles of Italian leather booties retail for $150. The tops, available with more than 100 patterns in materials such as printed polyurethane and snakeskin, are sold separately for $70 to $225 each. “This gives a woman a choice,” Danette said. “You can start out wearing a fun [boot] top during the day and go straight to a fashion top for evening.”

Danette said the idea for her Charlotte, N.C.-based brand came to her in a dream after her furniture store, Purple Picket Furniture Co., closed in 2007. (Danette has since opened a new store, Mansion House of Design, but is not involved in its day-to-day operations.) “It was a true epiphany,” she said of the Boot Tapas idea. She spent the next few seasons traveling to trade shows such as FN Platform to learn more about the footwear world. Boot Tapas will hit retail in August, and the designer said that while the company is targeting major department stores, it expects to start with smaller boutiques and gift retailers. “Some people don’t quite get Boot Tapas or understand [the concept] yet,” Danette said. “We think mainstream America will discover Boot Tapas and catch on in those little shops.”

The footwear is made in China and the U.S., and the collection has a matching handbag line. Danette said Boot Tapas is aimed at women ages 20 to 55, but plans are in the works to produce a juniors’ range.

Boot Tapas also aims to connect to young people through a charity component. Ten percent of the company’s profits will go to Shepherd’s Field, a charity that helps provide care and adoption assistance for children with special needs in China. “At the core, we are about making a difference,” Danette said. “We think every company should be giving something to others and changing lives.”

Charlotte, N.C.-based Angelina Danette had an 18-year career in furniture design and retail before bowing Boot Tapas for fall ’12. The self-taught designer owns a furniture boutique in addition to her footwear brand.

Upholstery influences are abundant in the Boot Tapas collection. “I get my inspiration from furniture,” Danette said. “The leathers, furs and other materials [that we use for] our boot tops come out of the furnishings industry. It’s really cool when you can take one industry and cross over to another.”

THE BUZZ The brand will be carried in a range of independent retailers for fall, including If the Shoe Fits in San Angelo, Texas, and Virginia-based Tread Rite Footwear Inc. “People are always looking for versatility,” said Joe Curulla, owner and buyer for Tread Rite. “With Boot Tapas, a woman can buy two or three boot tops and wear them with different outfits. I think this is really going to take off.”

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