Tell us about your passion for shoes, how and when it started?
As a little girl growing up in Italy, I was completely obsessed with shoes. My mother tells the story of how, at age four, I was dragging her to all the shoe boutiques in Torino...Shoes have been my life for as long as I can remember. After studying footwear design in the UK, I went on to design shoes for many fashion houses including Juicy Couture, Donna Karan and Alice & Olivia. Today, my home is New York. I am a mother, a wife, and entrepreneur. I’ve been designing footwear for 25 years...it was time to make the shoes I’ve always wanted to wear.
What are the inspirations for your creations?
Living in New York inspiration is everywhere, from people sitting across you in the subway, to the nightlife in the bars and restaurants. I always start with what I think is missing in my wardrobe, and what I’m in the mood to wear. Pre-Covid, I was traveling to Milan and Florence a few times a year, the interaction with suppliers and factories always leads to new ideas. The process of making shoes and bringing to life an idea is the combination of many elements, sometimes it's a brainstorming of the minds in the factory. I’ve always loved the 80’s and 90’s fashion, and timeless chic designs. I look to what I know I will want to wear for a long time.
Why did you choose to produce in Italy?
Growing up in Italy I was surrounded by art and history. It was the norm to eat incredible local food and wear beautifully made shoes that lasted. I took all this for granted until we moved to the UK, good food (think spaghetti in a can) and well made shoes were simply not widely available at the time.
Italian culture is steeped in the arts, family traditions, architecture, music and food. Its history goes back thousands of years since the start of the Roman Empire and the birthplace of the Renaissance. Those Italian values stayed with me. I believe things should be well made, last a long time, and food should be consumed slowly and not on the go. When I decided to launch my collection, I knew I wanted the shoes made in Italy and to work with local artisans in Florence known for their impressive shoe quality and craftsmanship. When it comes to design, Made in Italy has been associated for years with luxury, quality, and craftsmanship.
What cause is particularly important for you?
I truly believe in giving back to the community, as an Italian-born New Yorker and small business owner, I like to support those who are suffering and those working hard to help others. One organization close to my heart is God's Love We Deliver, which provides nutritious meals for people who need it most. During the Covid-19 pandemic, God's Love still delivers food to thousands of people every day. For every pair sold we donate 5% to this charity.
What is your dream country to visit?
BHUTAN - This is a small eastern Himalayan country, tucked between China and India. It's a predominantly Buddhist place I’ve always wanted to visit for its natural beauty and spirituality.