Paris-based shoe designer Francesco Russo has just opened his first shop-in-shop outside of Paris at Los Angeles emporium Just One Eye. Russo began working with Just One Eye a year ago, when owner Paola Russo (no relation) suggested opening a permanent space for clients to peruse the ready-to-wear collection as well as the customizable offerings in crocodile, lizard and snake.
“Far more than being a place to shop, I wanted it to be a place of experience,” said Russo. “Otherwise customers would rather not go out. They’d just as soon shop online.” Russo said the shop, in a private room in the building which houses Just One Eye’s several gallery-like spaces, is an extension of the salon-like Paris store, with the same aesthetic vibe. Even the shopping bags are the same. The furnishings, however, were all sourced in Los Angeles. Instead of the Sixties-era sofa that graces the Paris store, he found a Thirties-era carved bench at an antiques dealer in L.A.
Russo will return for an official opening party in March; he took this week to meet with stylists and clients who haven’t seen the shoes in person yet. “With the custom program, anything is possible. If you see something you want in another materials, we can send leather and skin samples to Los Angeles and once an order is placed, we make the shoes in Italy in six weeks.”
The designer said apart from the Hollywood factor, he feels that Los Angeles is a key market for his designs. “There is a creative class here that we very much want to connect with,” he said. He is also a fan of the shopping in the city. “I bought so many things I’m worried I won’t be able to close my suitcase,” he laughed.