It was February 2020 in Paris when Arielle Baron, along with business partner Eric Best, set up her first market season for a namesake shoe brand that she planned to launch in the fall. Orders from leading retailers poured in, only to be rescinded weeks later when the pandemic quickly took hold across the globe.
Now, taking stock of the past 18 months, Baron’s new label will officially launch today in a direct-to-consumer format. The daughter of famed creative director Fabien Baron and former Vogue Italia fashion director Sciascia Gambaccini, Baron said the project “is truly a reflection of myself and the culmination of 30 years of searching for my creative identity. The website design, the packaging design, the shoes — everything was done by me as a reflection and ode to my experiences.”
Baron, who went to Parsons School of Design, has previously worked in typography studios. Best — who is spearheading the line’s business operations — helped launch the now-internet-famous pants brand Miaou and has also worked at Balenciaga and Lanvin.
She and Best have engineered what they call a “phantom” heel that reflects the surface underneath their shoes — making each heel something of a prismatic mirror. Heels, boots, sandals and sling-back styles each utilize this signature material, with Baron noting she hopes her brand will “find a way to make shoes interact with their environment.”
Styles are priced from $595 to $895 and will be available for sale exclusively on the Arielle Baron website starting today. These prices are 25 percent lower than what they would have been sold for through wholesale retailers, prior to the pandemic.
Baron said she picked shoes as a creative medium because of how they made her feel growing up as someone who defines herself as “between a size 10 or 12.”
“I was really attracted to the fact that everyone around me worked in a creative industry. I could relate to people creating visual stories, but didn’t relate to glamorous aspect of fashion. I couldn’t express myself through clothing because it didn’t fit me that often. Shoes bring you a real sense of belonging when you are having a bad day trying clothes on that are not fitting — you always find yourself in the shoe department because they make you feel good,” she said.