Via Spiga is getting down to business.The Italian shoe brand — bought by footwear conglomerate Caleres in 2005 — has hired a new designer, with reinvigorated product launching for fall.Streamlined, sometimes evocative styles — designed by Carla de Freitas, an alum of Vince, Topshop and Alexander Wang — will be produced by the brand’s original Italian manufacturing partner. Via Spiga was founded in 1985.Minimalist, trendy shapes, clean lines, a neutral color palette and modest heel heights comprise the collection — parts of which utilize Nineties-type elastic material as a design element. Priced from about $200 to $500, the designs will launch at Nordstrom, select Bloomingdale's locations and specialty shops in late summer.Caleres brand portfolio president Jay Schmidt also had a hand in Via Spiga’s resuscitation. The label previously had retained Paul Andrew as a consultant for shoe design. But when Andrew resigned from all consulting work last year in order to focus on his own brand, as well as his new tasks leading women’s shoes at Salvatore Ferragamo, de Freitas was brought on.“It was very natural for me. I just went back to the history of the brand to see if I could connect with it. I felt like I couldn’t take this on if I couldn’t feel for the history and direction of the label,” said de Freitas.Added Schmidt: “We always had really nice shoes in the line that were really well made but were lacking a consistent brand voice that related to the consumer — something for them to go back to. So we wanted to take it back to the place where it started.”Said de Freitas: “If you go back to the brand when it was founded, the whole concept was about high-quality fashion footwear for working women with an attainable price. The other thing I was looking at was elements of what the brand stood for. I want you to feel these are designer-level, high-level products.”Bags and brick and mortar are being mulled for the future. “We want to be thoughtful about it,” de Freitas said of next steps.
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