Maison Kitsuné, a clothing and music label that prides itself on strong Parisian roots, is applying its classic Gallic persona to accessories, beginning with footwear for fall.
The inaugural collection features four women’s styles — two fl ats, one boot, and one pair of heels — and will retail exclusively in Maison Kitsuné stores starting in October. The label’s previous footwear offerings — aside from a single tennis-style sneaker — were produced in collaboration with French brands including Pierre Hardy and Michel Vivien.
“It’s really completing the look and giving a wider perspective to the brand. I think you are a true clothes label when you have shoes — they are really important,” said Gildas Loaëc, who cofounded the brand with Masaya Kuroki.
The shoes are expected to retail between $350 and $600, and they reflect the refined, collegiate style the brand is known for. A pair of ankle boots, furnished with a modest, pedestrian-friendly heel, will be offered in leather or pony hair. There’s also an anklestrap
heel with a curt pointed toe, and two flat styles — a laceup oxford and a penny loafer.
“We wanted to make something that is not trendy, that we could work with between different seasons and follow-up on the concept, it’s something we do with the women’s [apparel] line,” said Loaëc.
A former artistic director for Daft Punk who also oversees the development of Kitsuné’s in-house music label, he said that he and Kuroki decided to enter the accessories space nearly a year ago. They have employed a veteran of Tila March and Delvaux to steer production.
The first collection will be manufactured in Italy, though Loaëc said that the brand is also looking into producing in Portugal for future accessory outings — which will soon follow. A Maison Kitsuné handbag is in the works — with a Boston bag early prototype appearing in the brand’s fall lookbook. Shown in navy leather with minimal gold hardware and a diminutive “Maison Kitsuné” logo stamp, Loaëc said a finished design will make its retail debut in early 2016 and will be priced around $1,000. A small range of men’s shoes will also launch around that time, he added.
By the time the brand’s shoes make their retail debut, Loaëc and Kuroki will be operating eight freestanding stores worldwide — counting
the forthcoming openings of a Hong Kong location, a second store in New York and a fourth in Paris, all opening by summer’s end. The brand also operates a small enclave of branded cafés in Paris and Tokyo.
For Loaëc, Kitsuné’s entry into the women’s accessory realm represents a larger push for the label’s women’s line. Currently, women’s
ready-to-wear accounts for 40 percent of the brand’s business. “A women’s shoe line is giving us more credit in the women’s industry instead of being largely seen as a men’s brand,” he said. Kitsuné’s apparel business had sales of $16 million last year, and the aim is to increase that figure to $18 million in 2015. The label says it is interested in taking on investors to help further growth.