DUBAI — Level Shoes today unveiled its new fall ad campaign, “Dear India.” Described as a love letter to the country and its rich culture, the campaign is the biggest yet for the retailer, which is also celebrating its fifth anniversary this year.
“While India has served as in inspiration for international designers for decades, this season in particular the rich colors are in line with autumn 2017 trends,” said Rania Masri, general manager of Level Shoes. “We felt now was a good time to pay homage to the opulence and overwhelming glamour of Indian culture — and with autumn 2017 being so rich from a color and fabric perspective, the seasonal synergy also reinforced what we wanted to do.”
Sixteen designers including Alberta Ferretti, Aquazzura, Laurence Dacade, Malone Souliers, Tod’s, Ingie Paris and Rupert Sanderson were invited to create styles for women inspired by India that will be available exclusively at Level during the campaign. For men, designers Edhen Milano, CB Made in Italy, Duke & Dexter and Stemar created special pieces.
“I’ve always been fascinated by India’s diverse culture and its breathtaking scenery. I had a chance to spend two weeks in December discovering Rajasthan and was very inspired by the incredible artisanal craftsmanship and its richness of fabrics, jewels and architecture. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of India,” said Edgardo Osorio, founder and creative director of Aquazzura, who reimagined his fall 2017 “powder puff” sling in gold and red as a tribute to the majestic culture.
Creating an India-inspired jacquard fabric for her classic fall sandals, Laurence Dacade harnessed her deep-rooted passion for India into her designs for the exclusive collection. “I have been to India several times and I must say that it is a very inspiring country to me. When Level Shoes invited me to partake in ‘Dear India’ I was very excited and all my memories and emotions from my trips came back. I could say I love everything about India from the colors, the people, the food to the architecture, the flowers, the perfumes. I wanted the fabric to reflect the richness of the Indian saris and the color pink for Jaipur, the Pink City and gold for the majestic jewelry,” she said.
Malone Souliers’ love of combining exotic patterns came to life when designing the exclusive styles for the campaign. “Roy [Luwolt, her cofounder] and I have always been fascinated by the richness of the Zardosi embroideries, by the subtle combination of gold and silver threads to create the most elaborate designs…so we felt there would be no better way to convey the admiration we have for their way of life than by using this traditional technique on our shoes. The intricacy of the thread work, the vibrant silk colors, mixed with an array of crystals and pearls, create in our minds a real celebration for the senses,” said Mary Alice Malone, founder and creative director of Malone Souliers.
In addition to the exclusive styles, some of India’s top designers worked with international footwear brands to create collaborations that represent the beauty of both worlds. Chloe Gosselin, designer of the French luxury shoe brand, and Indian couturier Gaurav Gupta created a one-of-a-kind style.
Strategically, paying homage to what is the largest segment of tourists coming to Dubai helps the retailer develop deeper ties with Indian clientele.
“When you think about the proximity of India to Dubai, we recognized that Dubai is often thought of as an extension of India amongst many in the high-society circles. And when we were looking at the nationalities of the seven million guests who walked through Level’s door in 2016, no surprise a substantial number are from India,” Masri said.
The number of Indian visitors to the United Arab Emirates rose to 2.3 million last year, a 9 percent increase from 2015. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are also becoming increasingly popular for Indian destination weddings. Airlines like Etihad Airways are strategically targeting the Indian tourism market.
The entire 96,000-square-foot department store will be transformed to reflect the theme, taking customers on a journey through India, with the visual merchandising inspired by the Indian wedding ceremony as well as the country’s iconic architecture.
Beyond just retailing footwear, Level has differentiated itself as a leader in developing community-oriented activities. The “Dear India” campaign aims to celebrate India’s rich heritage, focusing on craftsmanship, poetry, traditional cuisine, emerging art and the glamour of Bollywood. Throughout September and October there will be in-store talks with special appearances by designers taking part in the campaign as well as a three-day festival in store from Oct. 12 to 14 ahead of Diwali, the Festival of Lights.