is one of a handful of US-based shoe lines that trade in high-end
luxury. She’s been featured in our shoe editions and sells at Bergdorf Goodman
and Dover Street Market (among other stores). We spoke to the designer
about her need for a shop, the uphill battle for American shoe lines,
the Euro factor, and the trends that should rope you into her new, West
Village-based jewel box of a boutique this fall and beyond.
The address you’ve chosen for the boutique is off the beaten path. What’s the thinking behind your location?
Diana Broussard: I am adding to what’s already here on
Christopher Street. The people who live in the neighborhood, and the
people who are coming here, are looking for a more personal experience.
This block, between 6th Avenue and Waverly, to me, is a little jewel in
the West Village.
How did you conceive of the store’s interior?
DB: In preparing a new store, one must first consider
the intrinsic space and the existing neighborhood. Within the somewhat
industrial interior, it was important to maintain the flavor of the
space’s landmark quality; I reinterpreted an Italian palazzo room with an unexpected blend of modern and antique furnishings. I am showing photography as well by Steve Pyke (London, NY), Kenji Aoiki (Tokyo), Christian Coinbergh (Stockholm), and Todd Burris (NY) to highlight their gorgeous art and to give a more personal touch to my customers.
JCR: Your designs have a particularly European flair —
even the name signals your French identity. Do Americans find
superiority in Euro-flavored shoes?
DB: For me, my training in shoemaking has been
singularly in Italy. I want to try to participate in preserving the
artisan process and culture of Italian shoemaking. As far as
Euro-flavored shoes, we need to create the American version of European
elegance and refinement.
What are the hurdles for an independent shoe line like yours in attracting an audience?
DB: One of the toughest hurdles is getting the brand’s
identity across without advertising or fashion shows. I also want to
build my company slowly and correctly, and the new boutique will allow
for people to discover the product in a more personal way.
JCR: We know women love their footwear. Yours isn’t
cheap — is the sky the limit for what women will pay for a coveted pair
DB: The prices are a reflection of the Euro rising
against the dollar, and this reflects in every component and material
and the labor of Italian-made shoes. If a woman buys a beautiful pair
of designer shoes, it affects the way she feels, how she sees the
world, and how the world sees her.
Do you have any style that’s stratospherically priced, meaning high four-digits and higher?
DB: For the store opening, I am beginning with a
cross-section of styles but focusing more on style than on ultra-high
prices. The boutique in the future will allow me to make custom orders,
and to bring in more super-luxe exotic materials.
What are your trends for spring 2008?
DB: Natural leathers, novelty patent leathers, and
hand-painted leather. The shapes are strong and for the urban woman,
such as strong 90mm stacked sandals with vacchetta and antique,
fine-chain fringe trim. There are also platform sandals with yellow or
white, Bakelite-inspired soles with graphic sandal uppers, and flat,
sporty city sandals and ballerinas.
This interview was conducted by Jason Campbell.