Onward Luxury Adds Francesco Russo, Carlotha Ray Brands as Italian Group Continues to Expand

Onward Luxury Group (OLG) has signed a licensing deal with Francesco Russo and launched new footwear label Carlotha Ray with Antolina designer Mariela Schwarz Montiel.

OLG is the Milan-based branch of the Japanese parent company Onward Holdings LTD, a luxury group specializing in the manufacturing and distribution of designer and contemporary brands in the global high-end sector. It operates international showrooms in Milan, Paris, New York and Tokyo.

Francesco Russo spring '20, Paris Fashion Week.
Francesco Russo spring ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Francesco Russo
The exclusive agreement with Russo extends to production and worldwide distribution. The deal will allow the designer to focus on the creative side of the business by combining Russo’s expertise and craftsmanship in shoe design with OLG’s experience. OLG signed a similar agreement with Alaïa alumnus Samuele Failli last year.

Russo created some interesting silhouettes for spring ’20 — and though the designer isn’t one to latch on to trends, the square toe was present in a new take on his signature flame sandal. (The point that usually rises from the rear came squared off at the tip.) Another trend done the Russo way was the rolled leather strap sandal. His came with a chunky rope of woven leather that resembled mountaineering cord in its texture.

Francesco Russo spring '20, Paris Fashion Week.
Francesco Russo spring ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Francesco Russo
Meanwhile, Montiel launched elevated, eco-friendy sandal label Carlotha Ray with OLG. The group recently started a subsidiary called OLG Lab — focused on new talents, innovative projects and sustainability — debuting sneaker label F_WD during Milan Fashion Week last February. “Generation Z definitely wants to buy sustainability, and we have to listen to them,” said CEO Fabio Ducci. “It doesn’t necessarily mean higher prices. It’s a matter of focus through research and product development, and we’re investing a lot.”

Carlotha Ray is made in Italy with 100% natural rubber from Madagascar and uses colors and scents derived from rice, seaweed and egg shell. It takes its name from Montiel’s South American grandma who runs a sustainably managed school.

Carlotha Ray spring '20, Paris Fashion Week.
Carlotha Ray spring ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller
“Giving back very important,” Montiel told FN at the OLG Paris showroom during Paris Fashion Week just gone. “These days, when you create a brand, you need to do something good for the earth as well.”

The scalloping and delicate patterns running around the edges of the soles are inspired by French porcelain — the Paris based designer lives in Limoges and her husband is involved in the town’s traditional local economy. “There was no luxurious type of beach shoes like this on the market so I wanted to created an alternative,” she explained. — With contributions from Katie Abel

Carlotha Ray spring '20, Paris Fashion Week.
Carlotha Ray spring ’20, Paris Fashion Week.
CREDIT: Stephanie Hirschmiller

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