By  on October 4, 2010

As part of its plan to ramp up its footwear business into a $50-million entity within the next three to four years, Oscar de la Renta Inc. has hired two designer-savvy accessories executives.

After a 13-year stretch at Manolo Blahnik, Annelie Hofstrom has joined Oscar de la Renta as executive vice president of footwear. The other newcomer is Alexia Aubert, who had designed for Pierre Hardy and Christian Louboutin, and is now director of design for footwear.

In the shoe business for eight years, de la Renta has had some winning styles from time to time but the category today is less than $10 million, said chief executive officer Alex Bolen. “Our shoe business has been lackluster for quite a long time. We have had some great shoes but we have never been able to consistently develop a great line. In my opinion, we just didn’t have a team that knew how to make samples as Oscar and his team know how to make clothes.”

The collection, which has included flats and sky-high satin evening shoes, retails from less than $400 for flat sandals to several thousand dollars for shoes or boots made from exotic skins.

Hofstrom will be oversee footwear-related product development, sales, merchandising, production, and marketing and Aubert will work closely with de la Renta to set the category’s design direction. With nine freestanding Oscar de la Renta boutiques around the globe, and two more expected to open in the Middle East next year, the company considers shoes to be a growth opportunity. “Our own stores hold huge potential for shoes,” said Bolen, who is also eyeing additional retail sites overseas.

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