Girl Power: Women Accessories Designers Coming of Age

A few leading ladies are packing plenty of punch with footwear collections that are both sophisticated and ultracool.

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Special Issue
WWD Accessory issue 08/13/2012

Watch out, Manolo and Christian. A few leading ladies are packing plenty of punch with footwear collections that are both sophisticated and ultracool.

This story first appeared in the August 13, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

RELATED STORY: Brazil Emerging as Luxury Force >>


Charlotte Olympia Dellal

Charlotte Olympia

Debut: Fall 2009

Price: $595 to $1,795

Look: “The 1940s and ’50s are a bygone era that I am nostalgic for.”

Signatures: Gold spider web on the soles; Dolly, a pump with gold island platform; Kitty, a flat smoking slipper.

Inspiration: “I am inspired by Old Hollywood glamour. For [resort], I returned to my Brazilian roots to create the spirit of Bahia.”

On spring
: “Expect a lot of pink.”

Background: The half-English, half-Brazilian designer graduated from Cordwainers College (at the London College of Fashion) and interned at Giambattista Valli before setting up her company. She began producing a bridal collection following her wedding to Maxim Crewe.

Base: London

Runway: Collaborations with Matthew Williamson and Temperley London, fall 2012.

Where sold
: Neiman Marcus; Bergdorf Goodman; On Pedder, Hong Kong; Net-a-porter; Harrods, London; Printemps, Paris; Beymen, Istanbul; Charlotte Olympia, London and New York.


NEXT: Alessandra Lanvin >>


Alessandra Lanvin


Debut: Spring 2011

Price: $600 to $1,000

Look: “A mix of graphic and pure lines with strong design. Feminine, with an eye for technical detail and comfort.”

Signatures: Geisha, a platform pump with resin heel; Gatsby, a ladylike loafer.

Inspiration: “The exotic world of nature and the Amerindian culture. The Geisha style was inspired by ancient Japanese tradition and the geisha’s elegance. Its graphic resin heel is an ode to Picasso’s Cubism.”

On spring: “Spring is about fresh, light shades and a splash of color with silver lining and new tech materials on organic shapes.”

Background: The half-Italian, half-Turkish Lanvin studied art history and worked as a luxury-sector headhunter before launching Aperlaï. The label takes its name from an ancient Lycian city located in southern Turkey.


Base: Paris

Runway: Collaboration with Peter Som, fall 2012.

Where sold
: Harvey Nichols, U.K.; Luisa Via Roma, Italy; Saks Fifth Avenue; L’Eclaireur, Paris; Opening Ceremony, Tokyo; Quartier 206, Berlin; Sanahunt, Kiev.

NEXT: Laurence Dacade >>


Laurence Dacade

Debut: Spring 2003

Price: $695 to $1,900

Look: “My approach is often to counterbalance extremes—pairing girly with forceful details, androgyny with glitter, red carpet with rocker chic.”

Signatures: A “beauty mark” on the right heel; the Merli, a studded biker boot.

Inspiration: “I am inspired by all women. Their style and their attitude.”

On spring: “I was inspired by organic elements. Lots of patchwork and distressed materials, such as canvas and leather, as well as lace oxfords, beautiful colored suedes and a continuation of the classics that we do so well with. It is a collection of bold contrasts!”

Background: Dacade attended AFPIC School of Shoe Design in Paris and worked in apparel design before focusing on footwear. She has worked for Givenchy and Chanel, where she continues to collaborate on the footwear collections under Karl Lagerfeld.

Base: Paris

Runway: Collaboration with Thakoon, fall 2012.

Where sold
: Bergdorf Goodman; Neiman Marcus; Browns, London; Montaigne Market, Paris; Hirshleifers, Manhasset, N.Y.; Isetan, Tokyo.

NEXT: Tabitha Simmons >>


Tabitha Simmons

Debut: Fall 2009


Price: $495 to $2,295


Look: “I try to create beautiful shoes that are timeless and will last for a very long time. I understand the demands of everyday life and hope that my shoes bring a balance of whimsy to the person wearing them.”

Signatures: Bailey, a multibuckle sandal; Sally, a lace-up ankle boot with kiltie; Dolly, an espadrille flat with a tie.


Inspiration: “I always draw inspiration from my English roots. Bunting flags inspired me for the resort 2012 collection, and the Pearly King and Queens were a big inspiration for fall 2012.”


On spring: “My spring line includes lots of color and mixed exotics.”


Background: Simmons has worked as a stylist for Vogue, Alexander McQueen and Dolce & Gabbana, and continues to work as a stylist. She won the BFA’s Emerging Talent in Accessories award in 2011 and the CFDA’s 2012 Swarovski Award for Accessory Design. She is currently a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund.

Base: New York

Runway: Collaborations with Honor and Creatures of the Wind, fall 2012.

Where sold
: Barneys New York; Bergdorf Goodman; Neiman Marcus; Nordstrom; Lane Crawford; Saks Fifth Avenue (starting this fall).

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