How Emily Ratajkowski Helped Paris Texas Reach Cult Brand Status

On Dec. 3, Paris Texas designer Annamaria Brivio will be honored with the Emerging Talent Award at the FN Achievement Awards. Below is an article from the magazine’s Dec. 2 print issue on how her boots achieved cult status with a little help form Emily Ratajkowski. 

Designer Annamaria Brivio has always had two passions in life: boots and the color pink. Her Milan-based footwear label, Paris Texas, with its hero “walk-tall” silhouettes and flashy pink shoeboxes, is the perfect union of the two. “I remember from my childhood I was always wearing boots — even in the summertime,” she recalled.

Now others have adopted her passion. “They add a cool factor to any look,” said Casey Winston, accessories fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue. “Paris Texas has been an instant sensation among fashion influencers.”

Brivio launched her brand four years ago, but it was September 2018 when it burst onto the global fashion scene — thanks, in part, to Emily Ratajkowski. During Milan Fashion Week, the British-born model and actress posted a picture of the label’s knee-high boots in black-and-white python print, and the die was cast. Other early adopters, such as Eva Chen, Chiara Ferragni and Mytheresa fashion buying director Tiffany Hsu followed suit.

“When we first saw our boots on Emrata and Eva Chen, it was unbelievable,” said Brivio. However, she admitted the brand wasn’t quite ready for the shopping frenzy it produced. “We didn’t expect it. [It] was such early days for us that we didn’t have enough stock to keep up with the demand.”

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Today, social buzz continues to build with numerous other sightings on the likes of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid. Brivio said each post creates a significant uptick in sales. In fact, in the last 12 months, the label’s turnover has risen fivefold.

But it’s not just about celebrity star power. Paris Texas’ early success is due also to its winning combination of style, quality and value for money. “It has a high fashion aesthetic with a very reasonable contemporary price point,” said Mytheresa’s Hsu. “The quality is great and the overall product fills a gap in the market.”

Brivio began her career as a fashion buyer for a multibrand store in Milan before teaming up with business partner Massimo Baltimora to create the showroom Baltimora Studio, which represents labels including Self Portrait. Together, they launched fashion boutique Norrgatan in 2012, which operates three stores in Monza, just outside of Milan.

What’s more, the company is a family affair: After finishing her studies, younger sister Margherita Brivio joined the business, initially as a buyer for Norrgatan.

The Paris Texas label was conceived after spotting a gap in the market for cool day-tonight footwear options. “There were mainly designer options, more nightlife-orientated [shoes] with stiletto heels,” said Brivo. “I needed something for myself when I was running between appointments and didn’t have time to change for a dinner or drinks.”

Her first look was a 3-inch block-heel boot. She found a factory in Italy’s famed Brenta shoe district that would produce small quantities to try out in her stores. Retailers Excelsior and Antonia in Milan soon signed on. Today, the list of partners includes Moda Operandi, Mytheresa, Browns, FWD by Elyse Walker, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks, plus pop-ups with Selfridges in London and Le Bon Marché in Paris.

For spring ’20, the label’s signature knee-length silhouettes are offered in pastels, poppy seasonal shades of faux croc and python, plus a smattering of metallics. However, the brand is also evolving. New styles include mid-calf versions of the core boots and summer-appropriate sandals, such as square-toe thongs, wedges and clogs. Of course, Paris Texas pink features heavily.

Going forward, Brivio said she will continue to establish Paris Texas as a brand her customers can trust, “but I don’t want to lose the fun factor.”

The 33rd annual FNAA ceremony will be held at the IAC Building in New York. Sponsors for the event include Klarna, Geox, The Style Room Powered by Zappos, FDRA, Micam Milano and Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky.

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