The 250-plus stockkeeping unit line of crocodile pumps, flats and sandals will exclusively launch in November at Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. Founder Nancy Gonzalez’s son, company creative director and president Santiago Barberi Gonzalez — who spearheaded the project — told WWD that, within two years, the label sees shoe sales tallying half its overall business. The label presently sells 79,000 bags per year.
“The logistics behind [the shoe launch] were enormous. The skins were developed specially for the shoes because we had to treat them in a special way so that they wouldn’t be easily damaged. Also there is [skin] sizing based on the sizing of the shoe. When you see a size 39, the scales are larger [than a size 37] the logistics of that functioning together starts from dying, starts from the farms — it’s all very, very precise,” Gonzalez said.
The designs — priced from $795 for a sandal to $2,395 for a pump — are “a complete market disruptor,” Gonzalez said. According to him, there is no such scope of exotic footwear available on the market, particularly at a stable price.
Each style is manufactured in Italy. Lasts were developed from scratch, with each design receiving its own cut. While styles come in an assortment of pitches — Gonzalez refused to mathematically adjust the proportion of each shoe according to its heel height, as is traditionally done. Rather, each shoe prototype was individually modeled (in crocodile prototypes), to toy with elements of anatomy, taste, and style.
Heels, which extend up to 105 millimeters, were sculpted as optical illusions — to appear taller than their measurement.
The 25 style range is offered in more than 20 colors, but the initial collection — intended for resort — lacks the floral, avian and horticulture motif embellishments that have become Nancy Gonzalez signatures in recent years.
“We wanted to start clean — this is the beginning; this is the fist line, which is like a canvas. Later on we will do all that stuff — I mean we have to measure the market, now that we know how to do shoes, we have to learn how to sell shoes,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez projects that the resort collection will yield approximately 2,500 individual sales — a number he considers conservative. “If we gave [the distribution] go-ahead to all of our accounts, the numbers would be huge, we don’t have that production,” he said.
The Nancy Gonzalez brand, which operates its own handbag production facilities and crocodile farms in Colombia, is not used to working with a third-party producer, as it is presently doing with its initial shoe runs. Gonzalez says, eventually, the firm would like to purchase a footwear manufacturing facility to bring that business in-house as well.