Francesca Monaco and Salar Bicheranloo, the design duo behind Salar Milano.

“It was cheaper for me to produce our own set of shoe samples rather than buying footwear for her,” said Salar Bicheranloo. The designer, along with life and business partner Francesca Monaco, is introducing a footwear range to complement the offering of their contemporary handbag brand Salar Milano. The company established in 2010 is backed by two private investors.

The first collection for spring was presented in Milan on Thursday after a few styles introduced to retailers for resort gained success. “It’s the natural development of a handbag brand focused on Made in Italy, whose commitment is to extend to new merchandising iterations,” said Monaco, noting they expect the segment to increase sales by 15 to 20 percent.

The lineup was inspired by a festival in the desert and included chunky-heeled sandals and mules in a range of pastel hues and metallic finishes, often embellished with buckles and studs, as well as pointy flats. The shoes retail approximately at 400 euros.

A shoe from Salar Milano spring 2019 collection featuring a pyramid heel.

A shoe from Salar Milano’s spring 2019 collection featuring a pyramid heel.  Courtesy Photo.

For spring, the design duo developed a pyramid heel paying homage to Bicheranloo’s native country of Mexico. “It’s a symbol of strong energy,” said Monaco, who added that gutsy elements are a brand’s signature. To wit, a pair of sandals was embellished with a leather-torched ribbon on the upper strap. “Customers are often looking for customization so we decided to add elements evoking the do-it-yourself approach,” explained Bikeranloo. The same inspiration informed the spring handbag range, including a cute black leather satchel, which employed a combination of hooks and ropes for the handle.

The brand, which generated revenues in the region of 2 million euros in 2017, expects to close 2018 with a 15 percent uptick and is set on a global expansion as it gears up for the opening of its flagship at Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di shopping mall on Dec. 7. “Our success in China has been mesmerizing, as it developed naturally. We suddenly found out that Salar Milano was trending on WeChat,” explained Monaco noting the country accounts for 40 percent of sales. The Shanghai unit, developed with a local partner, features wire mesh arches and columns contrasting with the mirrored flooring and the brand’s signature black and pink painted walls.

Salar Milano first flagship store at Shanghai's Xin Tian Di shopping mall.

Salar Milano’s first flagship at Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di shopping mall.  Courtesy Photo.

In the first half of 2019, the brand will expand its presence in the country by adding stores in Beijing, Chengdu and Nanjing, while online shops on Alibaba’s Tmall and JD.com will bow later next year.

The designers are focused on pursuing dedicated strategies for markets, for instance in Italy, the label’s second most relevant market, they plan to roll out a series of pop-up shops in partnership with local retailers. The first one will be installed at Milan’s Rinascente in February, just in time for Saint Valentine’s day.

The U.S. is also a focus as the brand is strong, especially on the West Coast, according to Monaco.

Distributed worldwide by London-based showroom Tomorrow Ltd., Salar Milano is available at around 130 retailers, including Fenwick, Galleries Lafayette, Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdale’s in Los Angeles, as well as online at Shopbop, Coggles, Revolve and Farfetch.

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