“Shoes are a very tricky area to get just right,” said Marchesa’s Georgina Chapman at the top of her FN Summit panel discussion Monday alongside partner Keren Craig on the duo’s latest foray into footwear, which launched for spring ’16. “We knew we needed the right partner.”
For them, that came in the form of AKH Group’s Annelie Hofstrom, a veteran of Manolo Blahnik and Oscar de la Renta, and partner Ashley Kennedy, who approached the designers with a bold new idea for a collection that brought the signature ornate details from their red-carpet regalia to footwear. “They really understood right away how to translate our brand into shoes and really got our DNA,” said Chapman.
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They also spoke of their seven-year collaboration with Christian Louboutin, who also impressed upon them just how difficult and specific shoemaking can be. “He really helped us, and getting to see inside his atelier was a great learning experience for us,” said Craig, who handles the print and textile development side of design, while Chapman is tasked more with shape and spirit of collections. “He really is on top of his game.”
Speaking of games, when asked about the competition in the footwear market, particularly on the celebrity circuit, they said that they are happier to tree a different path.
“We don’t advertise,” added Craig. “Instead for us, it’s about great relationships with stylists and actresses — that’s always been our focus.”
Of course, they’re betting those bonds will mean some great shoe-style moments in the future. “Now we want to get our girls in the dresses and the shoes, too,” said Chapman.