After establishing herself as a go-to New York designer for whimsical, travel-inspired clothing and swimwear, Caroline Constas is tackling a new challenge: footwear.
“People came to know the brand as fun, tongue-in-cheek and classic. The next thing that made sense to complete the look was shoes,” said the Constas, who grew up in Montreal and derives much of her inspiration from travels in the Greece and U.S.
The designer launched the made-in-Brazil collection of pumps and sandals with Shopbop, which sold out of many styles.
“I did a lot of research in terms of what factories to work with, and I really wanted shoes to be thought out. Starting a new category is essentially launching an entire new business,” she said. In terms of the manufacturing and fit, it’s a completely different game.”
The goal was to bring the DNA and details of the collection — sequins, gingham, polka dots and prints — to fun, feminine footwear with low heels that could be worn day to night — from the city to the beach. Prices range from $340 to $560.
“The ready-to-wear collection revolves heavily around prints, so we wanted to find a way to translate that to shoes that are wearable but still make a statement. Prints and shoes can be tricky, but it’s working really for us,” said the designer, who was modeling her rainbow sequin pumps with an oversized bow from the holiday collection.
During development of the collection — which occurred during the pandemic — Constas relied on Zoom and her factories to help executive her vision. “We’re able to communicate very efficiently,” she said. “When I [launched the brand in 2014], it was so important to go there and spend like three days. It’s crazy how the world changed in that time.”
The pandemic, she said, also gave her the opportunity to reset.
And now as she plots her next moves for 2022, the designer is anticipating significant growth based on retail performance so far.