Marchesa’s world of accessories is expanding again.
Just a week after designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman unveiled their first fashion jewelry collection, the duo is heading down a new accessory avenue: footwear. “We’ve always envisioned Marchesa as a lifestyle brand and including a full shoe collection is an important part of that vision,” Chapman said. “Customers and retailers alike have requested we expand into footwear so it’s incredibly exciting to have found a partner who can help us fulfill that goal.”
That partner is AKH Group, a footwear and handbag licensing company founded by industry veterans Annelie Hofstrom and Ashley Kennedy in March, whose existing clients include Maiyet, Soloviere, O Jour by Giorgia Caovilla and Cecilia New York. “[They have] been wonderful in fulfilling mine and Keren’s vision for footwear,” Chapman said. “They understand the need for impeccable quality and have worked with the best factories in Italy and Spain to ensure the collection is beautifully crafted.”
Hofstrom described the relationship as a true partnership. “They give the initial direction,” she said. “They are very open to listening to what we need them to make. We have really interesting meetings where they come up with their ideas and we come up with ours. They are very hands-on, and I like it that way. We couldn’t get the Marchesa aesthetic if it wasn’t for how involved they are.”
Staying true to the brand’s ready-to-wear, that aesthetic is highly feminine, and as Craig described it, “romantic.” The spring footwear collection is inspired by a French garden, particularly stemmed flowers and leaves, birds and birdcages and elaborate rococo architecture,” she said. “[It’s] blending vintage-inspired styling with modern whimsy.”
The spring collection will be the brand’s first, launching at the brand’s runway show scheduled for Sept. 16. Styles range from evening flats to high heels with materials including napa, alligator, water snake and python. Detailing, such as Swarovski crystals and laser cutting, was particularly important to the designers. “They really love shoes and are extremely detail-oriented,” Hofstrom said.
“They really pay attention to everything, from whether it’s a buckle or a snap, or on our plain pump, they insisted on laser-cut trim on the edging.” The attention applied to the inside of the shoe as well. “We made a special insole that’s laser-cut,” she continued. “You don’t see it when you’re walking with the shoes on, but when you do it’s so pretty. It really embodies the Marchesa aesthetic. We really wanted to make sure that the entire shoe was thought-out and put together in a special way.”
The spring collection will be available in select department stores beginning in January 2016 with price points ranging from $535 for an espadrille flat to $1,995 for an embroidered snake peep-toe pump. The brand plans to release four collections a year, following the traditional rtw schedule. “The options for silhouettes and materials are truly endless,” Chapman said. “We hope to expand the variety of styles available each season, creating pieces for the Marchesa women to wear in all aspects of her life.”