As luxury label Lafayette 148 celebrates its 25th anniversary in the fall, the brand will also be celebrating its entry into the footwear category for the very first time. The brand is officially launching shoes for the fall ’20 season to continue to dress its consumers, now head to toe.
The line will be an extension of its ready-to-wear collection, which is known for sophisticated, clean-lined designs and modern sensibility.
“We were organically testing shoes online and in stores,” CEO and co-founder Deirdre Quinn told FN. “Once we believe in something, we are going to make it right, and the opportunity in the market was there. Apparel is doing well and we want the shoes to continue to drive that and have our consumer wear all of Lafayette.”
For the launch, the Brooklyn-based company teamed up with Project Society, led by industry veteran Wayne Kulkin, to bring this shoe collection to life. It’s made in Spain, with all components, hardware and leather sourced from Italy.
“We saw a huge void in the marketplace,” said Kulkin, who was a former Stuart Weitzman CEO. “So everything that Lafayette does well — fit, functionality and attention to detail — has been lost in footwear due to casualization.”
What Kulkin believes will set Lafayette shoes apart from competitors is its construction and materials. Styles, offered in sizes 4 through 12, will also be available in three width options for its demographic of women aged 40-plus.
“Our woman is busy. There’s the idea of femininity and practicality,” creative director Emily Smith added, noting that highest heel is 80 mm. Within the collection are moccasins, loafers, ballet flats, sneakers and a range of boots from moto to over-the-knee looks seen in leathers, snake print, calf hair and more. “It’s always about simplicity and structure,” she said. “For us, we started with shape and merged contemporary designs with the brand’s DNA, which is also in sync with the apparel.” Price points range from $350 to $890.
Plus, Smith is using fabric and materials used in the ready-to-wear collection for the shoes, in order to create a seamlessness between both categories.
Retail-wise, Quinn is looking at e-commerce as the biggest opportunity as it’s the brand’s largest form of distribution. In addition, the shoes will be sold in Lafayette’s 25 stores, 15 of which are in China, as well as at wholesale. (Lafayette 148 apparel is currently sold at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and more.)
As the label approaches its 25-year anniversary, it is also going through a rebranding for fall ’20, focused on new L-Beam hardware that will be showcased throughout the shoe line.
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