Maiyet Makes Big Footwear Moves

As the luxury market continues to bank on accessories, women’s wear label Maiyet is taking a significant step forward in footwear.

For pre-fall, co-founder, president and creative director Kristy Caylor added 10 new styles, and for fall, she doubled up with an additional 20 designs.

The luxury brand, which is headquartered in New York, employs and runs training programs for local craftspeople in Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia and Italy, where its shoes are manufactured. The line retails for $495 to $995.

“Our Italian partners produce shoes with the same attention to detail and hand-crafted expertise that our artisans possess across the globe,” noted CEO and co-founder Paul Van Zyl. “We are consistently looking for ways to bring the hand and touch of our global artisans — whether it’s embroidery, beadwork or hand-poured jewelry — to enhance and embellish our shoes.” The embroidery, for example, is crafted in India.

The opportunity to offer more shoes came at the right time, said Caylor. “We were ready to round out the [brand],” she told FN. “We felt we needed to fully invest in a real collection rather than just accenting the ready-to-wear.”

Kristy Caylor
Kristy Caylor

In shoes, that strategy translated into carved wooden heels with kiltie details, sturdy mules and walkable flats. “Our girl has an on-the-go lifestyle. She’s adventurous, she travels — and the shoes have to fit that,” Caylor said, noting that the overall accessories category accounts for about half of the business.

Hardware touches, such as gold bar details, hand screws and cage heels evoke Maiyet’s other accessory signatures. “We work a lot of the organic shapes from our jewelry into our heel shapes and developments, too. It’s very referential,” she added.

Beyond Maiyet’s Crosby Steet store in Soho, retailers that carry the line include The Webster, Beymen, Selfridges, Galeries Lafayette, On Pedder and Barneys, which has been a key partner since the brand’s inception in 2011. “The collection is characterized by its high-quality craftsmanship, emphasizing strong, clean silhouettes,” said Sarah Blair, Barneys’ SVP and DMM of women’s accessories and shoes.

Blair said she encourages Maiyet to emphasize its architectural heels, jewelry ornamentation and handmade materials to lend both exotic élan and a point of differentiation in the market. For Blair, Maiyet’s strongest fall styles include a sandal with a jeweled-cuff heel and an open-toe with a carved wooden wedge, also available in a boot variation.

But Caylor is focused on offering more than just standouts. “For us, it’s really about building a true shoe business, and that’s different than just a seasonal collection of styles,” she noted.

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