Jenni Kayne Ups Her Shoe Game

FN recently sat down with designer Jenni Kayne, to discuss her foray into footwear, changes in production and what she does in her spare time. Read on to see what she had to say.

1. What direction did you take for this expanded footwear foray?

As with a lot of my designs, I was inspired by classic menswear shapes. The goal was to keep the shoes super-simple, with minimal stitching. I wanted them to be seasonless, too. I’m really excited about it. I’ve been wearing the flat mule a lot right now, and it has been super-popular.

2. Your brand is synonymous with the often-copied d’Orsay flat. What other looks do you want to be known for?

We focused on clean lines in rich, textural materials. I love working with velvet, croc-embossed glossy leathers and calf hair. I’m also just starting to get into the world of heels. I wanted to make a really comfortable pump version of our d’Orsay.

Jenni Kayne mules Fall '15
Jenni Kayne mules for fall ’15.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand.

3. Has your production changed now that you have a wider collection, from boots to pumps?

I started working with a new factory. We still do our classic d’Orsay with our original factory outside Florence, Italy. They also do our mules. But everything else is with a new factory nearby. I felt like we needed something different, and in Italy, everyone has their specialty.

4. You’ve decided to sell the new footwear line direct to consumers in your stores and online. Would you consider wholesale opportunities, as you’ve done in the past?

I’m not sure. I would consider having a partner or two, but I would rather keep the distribution tight for now. We are launching the collection in our stores and on our website. Direct-to-consumer allows us to be more competitive and keep prices down. [Retail prices range from $395 to $865.]

5. Between your label, stores and Rip + Tan website, you lead a pretty busy life. What do you do in your downtime?

I love to go horseback riding. From that, I did a riding boot that’s set to become a staple for the brand. It was inspired by a traditional pair I ride in that all the girls in the office wanted for themselves.

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