Chromatic Gallerie is taking its round-toe pumps to a new level. The year-old brand, which previously offered 2- and 3-inch options for its streamlined leather style in multiple widths and colorways, is adding a 4-inch version to the mix for mid-October. “The natural next step was to offer a 4-inch option,” said Chris Luhur, Chromatic Gallerie founder and CEO. “We are [also] working on flats so we can offer a full range of heel heights, and we [will be] adding new styles for spring ’13.” The shoes, which retail for $88 across the board, are available only on the brand’s e-commerce site, but Chromatic Gallerie plans to open a New York showroom and retail location later this month.
Seattle painters Kira Bundlie and Lisa Strom have found a new canvas — shoes. The friends launched Hourglass Footwear in July. The label offers hand-painted stilettos, pumps and flats featuring their own work, as well as designs by eight other local artists. The footwear, which retails starting at $80, is available through the brand’s e-commerce site with limited-edition pre-painted styles and custom designs. The business also has a charity component, with a portion of proceeds from select items going to the different artists’ favorite nonprofits. Bundlie and Strom funded their company with more than $12,000 garnered through Kickstarter.com, a social media platform that helps entrepreneurs find backers. “It was a natural fit for all of us,” Strom said of the new label. “We all love shoes, and we thought we could do something fashionable and current with our skills.”
Matt Bernson is sizing up the competition. His eponymous women’s label will offer an increased size range across all styles, starting in spring ‘13. The footwear previously came in sizes 6 to 10, with 5 and 11 available by special order. Going forward, the smaller and larger sizes will be standard for the label. “We had so many phone calls and requests [for] those sizes that we knew we needed to include them more readily,” Bernson said. “We do see a business opportunity. If other people aren’t catering well to [customers’] needs [in those sizes] and we can, that’s an opportunity.”