New York-based designer Gabriela Hearst’s latest endeavor started as a high-end footwear collection but has blossomed into something much bigger.
“I had this obsession with why certain men’s shoes are so well-made, like John Lobb’s. I wanted to create that same level of quality for myself, but keeping the prices down a bit more,” said Hearst, 38, who debuted her eponymous label for fall ’15.
The shoe collection includes such dapper details as welting, tufting and broguing on styles such as the Peter booties and Miles brogues. Prices range from $795 to $1,595 for the footwear, which is made in a factory outside Venice, Italy.
Hearst — who also established a contemporary ready-to-wear collection, Candela, in 2004 — takes inspiration from her father’s Uruguay ranch. Tall boots and faux-bois hand-painted leather heels reference her life as an accomplished horsewoman and lover of gaucho style. “You can’t take where I am from out of me,” she said.
Not satisfied with just shoes, though, the ambitious wife of publishing scion Austin Hearst also created a full-scale Gabriela Hearst apparel collection, with cashmere tailoring and ribbed-knit dresses to complement the footwear.
Barneys New York already has scooped her up for an exclusive, with items available for pre-order online now. “It’s quite uncommon for a new [lifestyle brand to debut with shoes], but Gabriela has done so seamlessly,” said Tomoko Ogura, senior fashion director at the department store. “We’re particularly drawn to her boots, which are impeccably constructed. The silhouettes are simple and pair beautifully with the equestrian hints in the collection.”
Though the label is still in its infancy, Hearst plans to open a New York flagship next year, while juggling her other label and young twins at home, with another child on the way. “Gabriela Hearst is really more me now, 365 days a year,” she said.