On Nov. 30, Larroudé will be honored as Launch of the Year at the 35th annual FN Achievement Awards. Below is a conversation with founder Marina Larroudé from the magazine’s Nov. 29 print issue.
In a year when the challenges of the pandemic reduced life in many ways, Marina Larroudé went big, launching an eponymous collection of shoes and accessories. Not only are these veritable works of foot art crafted in her native Brazil with the highest quality standards, they’re priced to move. So every woman can access Larroudé’s impeccable style, while she keeps it all in the fashion family. Here, the first-time FN honoree shares insights into how she did it.
What motivated you to launch your brand?
“I’ve been working in high fashion for years, so I have tremendous access to it. But most consumers don’t because the price is so prohibitive. I truly believe that fashion should be for everyone. So when I started working on Larroudé, I said, ‘I want it to be high quality, and I want it to be high fashion, but I want the price to be attainable.’ When the first shoe arrived from Brazil, I was so happy I cried, that my company was able to execute such a fine product.”
You have a family business — your husband, Ricardo, is CEO. What is the dynamic?
“Ricardo, he’s brilliant. He spent 20 years of my career by my side and always looked through the business lens. He’s very tech savvy — he’s the CFO of a digital mining company that recently went public. He patented the QR code program for us, which we call ‘The Token.’ I got married really young, in my early 20s. I knew that I wanted to be married and have a family, and I knew that I had a career. So I don’t think you have to choose. My [two] kids love what I do, and they’re so proud. My son wears a Larroudé sweatshirt to school every day.”
You’ve had a varied career in the fashion industry, from the editorial side at Style.com and Teen Vogue, to the retail side with Barneys. How does your experience culminate in the vision for your brand?
“I like to learn and I like to grow. There is a moment when I can get pretty bored and be unsatisfied and need to get to the next level. After spending 12 years in editorial, I felt I had nailed that experience. Going into retail was a natural transition. Barneys was like getting an MBA for me. It was very informative in terms of how the consumer behaves. Not only was I finding new talent, I was developing products and doing lookbooks and advertorials. My job there was very 360 and gave me an incredible learning curve.”
You photographed friends for your first lookbook. How important were these relationships to your launch?
“I’m very thankful for the entire industry — I think it’s one big family. Everyone I met side by side throughout the years at fashion shows, and they’re responsible for making Larroudé what it is today. Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, in the fashion industry, people aren’t that nice.’ I have a completely different experience. People really help out. When I put together my campaign, I called all the friends I have, in the middle of lockdown, and everyone showed up. They brought clothes, they styled themselves. It was like a party! That’s what fashion is here for — hope and escapism. It’s so hard now, you just want to dream a bit.”
How will you celebrate the first anniversary?
“When I was 7 or 8 years old, I didn’t want dolls. When my grandmother wanted to treat me, I would say: ‘I want a pair of Melissas.’ I had a fascination with shoes from a very young age. I think to survive in the fashion industry, or to thrive, you need to be some kind of fanatic. Now, in December, Larroudé is launching a collection with Melissa, the biggest shoe manufacturer in Brazil. As soon as Larroudé turns one, our Melissa collaboration is going to hit stores. Imagine, 36 years later — it’s completely crazy!”
For 35 years, the annual FN Achievement Awards — often called the “Shoe Oscars” — have celebrated the style stars, best brand stories, ardent philanthropists, emerging talents and industry veterans. The 2021 event is supported by presenting sponsor Nordstrom, as well as Authentic Brands Group, FDRA, Informa, On and Wolverine Worldwide.