Sisco Sintes, Micaela Erlanger and Silvano Banfi.

Before there was SJP, there was DJP.

Donald J Pliner was the “It” shoe brand of the Nineties. As the Aughts rolled on and the shoe market exploded with a bevy of new labels, Pliner’s popularity as a fashion brand faltered. Pliner sold his brand to Castanea in 2011 and eventually stepped down as head of design in 2015. Now, the brand has enlisted veteran shoe designer Silvano Banfi of the Banfi Zambrelli Design Studio to make its mark on the shoe industry for the current generation.

Boots from the Fall 2017 Donald J Pliner

Boots from the fall Donald J Pliner line.

Banfi said Pliner’s work was an inspiration over the years and would love to meet the company namesake who built the brand. Banfi referred to any available pictures of the brand for reference but mainly sought to stay true to the elements that make up the brand’s DNA. To that end, the creative director said stretch leather and elastic are hallmarks and embellishment such as beading and whipstitching, as well. He said DJP stands for handmade craftsmanship with an artisanal flair.

Said Banfi “We are hoping to excite the people who know the brand but also introduce them to a new generation.” Secondhand stores prove to be a treasure trove for both twentysomethings looking for ironic fashion as well as design inspiration. “We like to take those elements like the military buttons, a timeless piece, but we paired in a new feminine way with velvet on a tall boot.”

A Donald J Pliner slipper for fall. 

To celebrate Banfi’s appointment, the brand hosted a digital-influencer-heavy dinner at Omar’s in Manhattan Tuesday night hosted by celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger. Greeting guests during cocktails, Banfi showed some key items from his second collection for the brand, fall 2017, in a the dimly lit space. In tow was men’s wear designer Sisco Sintes, who joined the brand in 2015.

Erlanger held court with digital influencers and editors as well as DJ du jour Chelsea Leyland. Erlanger has been in the spotlight these days for her work with Meryl Streep and Michelle Dockery. Erlanger called out a chunky midheel pump.

“I love them. It’s walkable, wearable and looks great with a rolled-up pair of jeans or with a fabulous party dress when going out. Comfort and style are definitely important to both Meryl and Michelle.”

Chelsea Leyland dials her DJP shoe "phone".

Chelsea Leyland dials her DJP shoe “phone.” 

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