At the launch of their handbag brand, Les Petits Joueurs, in 2014, creative director Maria Sole Cecchi and her CEO brother, Andrea, were surprised by the response.
“When we showed our first collection, there was a line outside and bags falling onto the floor. We had to call our friends to take orders,” recalled Cecchi.
Fast-forward four years and the fledgling label has introduced footwear into its repertoire for spring ’19. But now they know what to expect — and this launch went a little differently.
For its debut shoe presentation during Paris Fashion Week in September, the brand took over the entire Café Chic bar and restaurant in the city’s rarified eighth arrondissement and transformed it into LPJ House. Guests were invited for breakfast, lunch and dinner, followed by an after-party with live music from Miles Kane.
The first footwear line consists of 10 styles that take their cue from the Les Petits Joueurs bags, with their whimsical geometric detailing, Swarovski crystals, beads and fringing. (The clue to the design is the name, which translates to “the little players.”)
Signature pieces include high-heeled sandals (the biggest hit with buyers), pumps, disco flats and lunch-appropriate closed-toe mules on a walkable 3.5-centimeter heel — all featuring mismatched circle and square shapes done in crystal.
“I’m so proud of the shoes,” said Cecchi. “They’re chic, retro and glamorous, and also represent my love of sparkles and geometric shapes.” Retail prices for the shoes range from 390 to 650 euros ($447 to $744).
The designer explained that incorporating footwear into the lineup allows her to express the brand’s identity more completely. Plus, Cecchi fully admits that she has a personal weakness for shoes because “they are more emotional than bags.”
Les Petits Joueurs footwear is produced in a factory just outside Florence, Italy. Come spring, it will be available at stores including Level Shoes, Luisa Via Roma and Harvey Nichols.
Its bags are sold through roughly 200 accounts including Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue and Just One Eye in L.A., and Paris’ Galeries Lafayette is hosting a pop-up until December.