First Look at David Giordano’s Atelje 71

Two heads are better than one — at least in the case of Ateljé 71.

The label from David Giordano and wife Asa Larsson launches for spring ’15 and is named for the Swedish word for “artist space.” It’s fitting, then, that the collection takes heavy inspiration from the art world.

“Our footwear is in a similar [artistic] vein,” Giordano said. “Our laser-cut soles and straight structural lines give a nod to modernism’s shapes and forms.”

The collection of 25 styles features a mix of graphic lines and bold colors, plus the logo A7eljé. Price points range from $200 to $400.

“This season’s shoes are focused on how we see the future,” Giordano said. “In a world of emphasis on well-being, each style has flexible soles, soft leathers and lightweight constructions, and the shoe is designed to make it easy to get on or off.”

Larsson, a native of Sweden and former publicist for Marc Jacobs, added, “We are trying to innovate with a new wave of comfort and practicality — Swedish sensibility meets New York’s cutting-edge [mentality].”

For their target consumer, the pair is focused on a woman who “recognizes the effort we are putting into even the smallest of details and who doesn’t need a 5-inch heel to feel sexy,” Giordano said.

Launching in today’s competitive environment is no easy task; however, Giordano noted his seven years as executive creative director at Pour La Victoire prepared him well.

“There, I developed extremely useful skills in shoe manufacturing and factory management, all while continuing to keep my hands in education, in running a business from soup to nuts,” Giordano said. “I am an entrepreneur at heart, and I believe I am best utilized running my own show.”

To that end, the husband-and-wife duo is excited to tackle the new venture together, even if it involves a few disagreements along the way.

“Hands down, the pros overcome the cons,” Giordano said of the partnership. “We have complementary skill sets, and the company gets attention 24/7. We wake up talking about shipments and heel heights, we lunch over brand strategies and go to bed arguing over color palettes. It’s a fun and educational journey.”

Looking ahead, the designer has big goals for his nascent label. “Our main focus for the future will be launching e-commerce, and we will ensure we have great management over retail and customer relationships,” Giordano said. “Perhaps a men’s line could be an exciting new market.”

The Pitch
The brand debuted at FFANY last week. “Our goal is to work with department stores, e-tailers and specialty stores throughout the world that share a forward idea of where the industry is headed,” Giordano said. “We see Ateljé 71 as part of the advanced contemporary landscape.”

The Designer
David Giordano has a bachelor’s degree in economics and worked as a trader on Wall Street before transitioning to the fashion world. After stints at BCBG, Theory and Sam Edelman, the designer co-founded Pour La Victoire in 2007.

The Inspiration
“We are launching with products sketched through the lens of an art form, a celebration of modern architecture and contemporary artists,” Giordano said. “Doug Aitken and Frank Gehry have expressions that are calculated but artistic.”

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