By  on August 18, 2008

Via Spiga, the Brown Shoe Co.-owned brand, has tapped ready-to-wear firm Vena Cava to create a capsule footwear collection that will march down its runway Sept. 6 at the Chelsea Art Museum in Manhattan. This is the first designer collaboration for Via Spiga. Vena Cava designers Lisa Mayock and Sophie Buhai, who were recently named finalists in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund for the second time, traveled to Bologna, Italy, to learn about the leather and footwear trade. Vena Cava, founded in 2003 after Buhai and Mayock’s graduation from Manhattan’s Parsons School of Design, has created some accessories in the past, but hadn’t tried footwear. The four-style footwear collection goes hand in hand with the designers’ “Egyptomania” theme for spring, with muted, sun-bleached colors, strappy sandals and pyramid hardware. The duo incorporated eclectic materials such as monkfish and salmon skin with silver hardware. There is a collage element to mixing materials, which also is a signature element in the brand’s apparel. “We’ve designed accessories such as jewelry and tote bags, but everything has been made by ourselves, staff and interns,” said Buhai, who, along with Mayock, has long been a fan of the brand’s footwear. “We’ve never done shoes before and it’s always been a dream design project. It was amazing to work with such knowledgeable technical designers at Via Spiga.” The designers consider their brand to be fashionable and approachable, in sync with Via Spiga’s mission. Vena Cava is looking to expand further into accessories such as eyewear, more handbags and umbrellas using the line’s signature prints. The collaboration extends for three seasons and Via Spiga will sponsor Vena Cava’s shows for that time, as well. The capsule footwear collection will retail from about $300 to $850, slightly higher than Via Spiga’s average prices, and will be sold on and in the new Via Spiga SoHo flagship in New York, scheduled to open inOctober. “This collaboration with Vena Cava is about merging two distinct points of view and marrying complementary design elements, to create a fresh and perhaps unexpected look that still holds true to the Via Spiga woman’s passion for chic, sophisticated fashion,” said Terri Rawson, senior vice president of marketing for Brown Shoe. She declined to comment on sales projections for the collaboration, noting that the effort is meant to boost brand awareness rather than sales. “Lisa and Sophie are a terrific fit with Via Spiga because they’ve built the Vena Cava brand around creating beautiful, yet wearable, designs.”

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