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With its second license inked, Proenza Schouler has accessories on the brain, or in this case, its feet.
This story first appeared in the June 2, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The company is partnering with Vicini SpA for the production and distribution of women’s shoes. A Milan-based luxury company with showrooms in New York and Paris, Vicini was founded by shoe designer Giuseppe Zanotti and his wife, Cinzia, and manufactures footwear for Zanotti, as well as Roberto Cavalli and Balmain.
Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, designers of the five-year-old Proenza Schouler label, created ballet slippers, loafers, lace-up sandals and heels aimed to hit stores this resort season.
“We’ve had a shoe collection before for shows, but never pushed outside of that,” Hernandez said. “They weren’t commercial shoes, and we did it ourselves with a little factory. Now, we’re going to start making things we like for everyday.”
Proenza Schouler shoes will retail for an average of $685, with pieces beginning in the $300s up to $3,000. The firm is targeting its existing ready-to-wear accounts and introducing the line to Vicini’s international retail and wholesale accounts. The company expects the collection to bring in about $8 million in sales in its first year.
“Proenza Schouler is already well and widely distributed in the five continents, but we are aiming to go globally in a deeper way,” Giuseppe Zanotti said. “We believe we can get into the major department stores, as well as the most select boutiques around the world in the next couple of seasons, thanks to the Vicini penetration of the global markets.”
After partnering with L’Amy America on eyewear in November, accessories are becoming a priority for the Proenza Schouler brand. Last July, Valentino Fashion Group SpA bought a 45 percent stake in the firm, which, according to the designers, has given them the means and freedom to expand their vision into other categories.
“We hired an entire accessories team,” McCollough said. “The beauty of working with Valentino is that we now have a whole team who is really pushing accessories and it makes sense.”
The designers said they will soon launch a handbag collection.
“People keep asking us, ‘Why haven’t you made a bag yet?'” Lazaro said. “It’s because we didn’t have anything to say yet. The entire market is so dense with bags and everything else, that until we found something original and specific to say, we didn’t want to say anything. We don’t do anything unless we have something to say.”