LONDON — After building his résumé at top brands including Jimmy Choo and Burberry, Alfredo Piferi is striking out on his own with the debut of his namesake vegan luxury brand. Piferi is one to watch during a European collections season that has seen a noticeable lack of new footwear launches.
While many emerging designers enter the industry with little experience, Piferi — who left his post as head of design at Jimmy Choo last year — understands how to craft a shoe that’s both fashion-forward and commercial. The Made in Italy collection’s architectural aesthetic, environmentally responsible mission and sharp price points — combined with distinctive pink branding — are all critical to the equation.
“I started Piferi with the idea of creating a product with a purpose. It’s not just about shoes, but more about what they stand for,” the designer said in his London showroom last week. “All my shoes are leather free, and for me this is a challenge. I think it’s really what the future holds for us.”
The hero sandal style, which features a unique, curved 100-mm. heel that resembles the stem of a flower, is called “Fantasia,” inspired by the Disney film of the same name. It comes with a detachable, ruffled socquette made from recycled polyester and recycled Lurex. The style, with the sock, will retail for $795, which is more than $100 lower than most similar luxury styles in the market. (Without the sock, it’s priced at $695.)
A faux suede boot — which is made from recycled plastic bottles — features a bejeweled anklet that can be worn with the boot or without. Other attention-grabbing details incorporated across the collection include a pink rubber band, which serves as a modern strap, and a tiny red toecap that is used on pointed-toe styles. “It’s like a little nail polish, cheeky but super recognizable,” the designer said.
Piferi is already attracting attention from top retailers.
“Alfredo Piferi’s first collection caught my eye as it’s feminine, sensual and fun. He has created a luxury vegan collection that stands out as his sculpture heel, fun pink details and anklet socks are divine. Piferi is definitely a name to watch,” said Alberto Oliveros, Kurt Geiger’s general merchandise manager who oversees the Harrods business. The London department store will exclusively launch the collection in May with a pop-up that will run for a month.
“Piferi is a have-it-all brand and rewrites the rules of the market,” said Paolo Riva, a consultant and adviser for major brands who was previously chief executive officer of Diane von Furstenberg and held top roles at Valentino and Tory Burch. “When it comes to fashion, the concept of modernity and desirability is a complex interconnection of emotional and tangible aspects. Piferi has a distinctive design and innovative brand codes…and is determined to be responsible toward the environment.”