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Maria Sharapova is more than just a world-famous athlete and social media sensation — she’s also a bona fide accessories designer.

 

This story first appeared in the August 29, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Her Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan collection of handbags and footwear, which launched in 2009, is about to enter its fifth season. Currently, offerings are comprised of 10 styles of shoes and eight styles of bags, retailing from $148 to $428 and $248 to $448, respectively — but the bestseller is the line’s Air Bacara Ballet flat.

 

Ranging in price from $148 to $168 depending on fabrication — including hand-painted leathers, velvet, suede, leopard print haircalf, metallic leathers and embossed lizard print — the shoe has maintained its original design, which features corset lace detailing at the heel and concealed Nike Air technology.

 

“She’s a total rock star. As an athlete, her extensive travel and on-the-go style have given her a unique perspective and insight into what young women are wearing and how they’re wearing it. It’s been invaluable [to us],” Cole Haan’s chief executive officer Dave McTague told WWD.

 

McTague maintains that Sharapova works very closely with the brand’s design and merchant teams, from developing seasonal concepts, to material selections, to choosing colors, to final product approval.

 

“She takes time to talk to our staff and works with customers if she’s in the store, and as she travels, she’s constantly acquiring additional insight into this consumer of both of ours,” McTague said.

 

On Sept. 8, the brand will release two special editions of the Air Bacara Ballet silhouette — a perforated style available in gray leather and black suede with bright pink and yellow insoles — inspired from the colors of Sharapova’s “day” and “night” dresses created by Nike for this year’s U.S. Open.

 

It’s also Sharapova’s go-to off the court.

 

“My favorite staple is the Bacara Ballet because I wear them all the time in my everyday life,” she said, adding that for this season she’s particularly enamored with open toe booties — such as the Alexis from her Cole Haan collection — as well as a structured frame bag in willow, a beige suede color.

 

“My accessory style is quite minimal. I don’t travel with too many pieces as they get too heavy, but I do carry a few, such as a few cocktail rings, my Tag Heuer white ceramic watch and a staple necklace which I love wearing over simple shirts or blouses,” said Sharapova.

 

Sharapova also has worked with Tag Heuer since 2005 — appearing in ad campaigns shot by Patrick Demarchelier and Tom Munro.

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