What’s in a name? It depends on how you look at it.
When a designer launches a brand under his or her own name, the stakes are automatically higher. Amina Muaddi who left the label Oscar Tiye last year and launched her own eponymous label this week agrees. “Everything had to be a perfect representation of me,” she told us, “from the image and the campaign to the logo and the product itself.” Pressure? Much.
Generally, though, whether it’s Manolo Blahnik calling the shots, Olga Djangirov at Olgana Paris or new designer Gherardo Felloni at Roger Vivier, most luxury footwear labels have a named designer-creative director heading up proceedings.
There are exceptions though and the following brands are worn by famous faces, but their designers are unknown to the public. Who are they? Read on.
The eponymous founder sold his Sergio Rossi brand to Gucci Group (now Kering in 1999). As of 2015, it relaunched, having passed on once again. This time to European investment house Investindustrial. Riccardo Sciutto is the CEO but the collections are designed by a team. Looking for endorsement? Beyoncé is a fan of their work.
Although it was co-founded by Mary Alice Malone and Roy Luwolt, the label takes its name from Malone who did the designing with business partner Luwolt as CEO. As of last month, however, Malone has departed the label and while it is admittedly changing its name to Malone Souliers by Roy Luwolt, collections will be now designed by the team that Malone previously headed up. Celebrity fans include Priyanka Chopra and Constance Wu. The latter wore a pair of the label’s leopard-print pumps at the recent AOL Build Speaker Series in New York.
The label is an anomaly. Launched last year, it is actually owned by the Ballin family, who own the Italian factory of the same name. However, while production is house owned, the design is not a family affair and its covetable styles are designed by an in-house team. That hasn’t done the fledgling brand any harm though: Hadid sisters Bella and Gigi are already fans. Not least of these are the Daphne puffer ankle boots.
The Swiss heritage label, recently acquired by Chinese behemoth Shandong Ruyi Group, also operates with a team of four unnamed designers. Speaking to FN earlier this year, CEO Frédéric de Narp explained why. “We went with a platform that I find much more modern. Creative directors are talented, but all brands are doing the same product in the same location and designed by the same [people]. They circulate from one brand to another. For me, our team [of four designers] is fitting. It stimulates an environment where everybody plays a role.
“For a CEO, it’s easiest to hire one creative director, but that’s not what we wanted. We make it work by having them connect to one another. Once a season, they travel together for one week and get inspiration. They don’t care about themselves; they care for the brand and its DNA. And they have 35,000 shoes, thousands of logos and stories from our archive to be inspired by,” de Narp said.
Oh and if you’re looking for a celebrity angle, fans range from Slick Rick to Swizz Beatz, who created a Bally capsule collection last year.
As The Office’s David Brent might say, “there is no ‘I’ in team.”