Mary Alice Malone is making a return to her namesake brand Malone Souliers — one of the fastest rising emerging labels in the shoe market — while co-founder and CEO Roy Luwolt is departing.
FN exclusively confirmed the surprise move today.
“I am thrilled to be returning to Malone Souliers after taking a short period of time away,” Malone said. “Creating the brand was a dream for me and I am so immensely pleased and inspired by what the company has achieved, and very excited to be returning and building on the brand’s success.”
The change coincides with expansion plans for Malone Souliers as the brand launches its debut men’s collection in 2019 and a New York office. It will also continue to build its global distribution as Malone picks back up with design oversight of the pre-fall ’19 collection.
In addition, Malone has named Steven Hope — an expert in Chinese e-commerce — as CEO.
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“Steven is an instinctive entrepreneur and brings a wealth of knowledge from over 25 years in the fashion industry and possesses expertise in wholesale, supply chain, lean manufacturing, e-commerce and export strategies,” Malone said. “China is a rapidly expanding market, and Steven’s knowledge will help drive the brand’s success in the region. He will be instrumental in the evolution of Malone Souliers.”
It’s been just four months since Malone stepped down from the company. At the time of her departure, Luwolt stayed on board to manage all aspects of the business. This summer, the brand opened a unit upscale Villaggio Mall in Doha, Qatar,
The shoe label, which reported that sales for spring ’19 were up 176 percent compared with fall ’18, counts 320 points of sale globally. “They offer something unique in the marketplace,” said Kristin Frossmo, EVP and GMM of Nordstrom’s shoe division. “We love the modern twist on their timeless silhouettes.”
Alberto Oliveros, GMM of Level Shoes in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, said one of the team’s talents is its ability to react swiftly to global demand, while maintaining high-quality production standards.
“Their business and resulting success has also developed as a result of their readiness to work collaboratively with retailers to develop exclusive capsules tailored to each region’s nuances,” Oliveros said.
Outside of the Middle East, the brand has been experiencing robust growth at home, with London retail giant Kurt Geiger singling it out as a top performer at Harrods and Selfridges.
The label has collaborated with buzzy British ready-to-wear label Roksanda and Emanuel Ungaro, a classic French couture house.