REDMILK PRESENTS A NEW PROJECT FEATURING EMERGING BRANDS, CAPSULE COLLECTIONS AND COLLABORATIONS.
FOR THE FIRST APPOINTMENT WE MET IN MILAN THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR MARY ALICE MALONE AND THE MANAGING DIRECTOR ROY LUWOLT OF LUXURY SHOES BRAND MALONE SOULIERS, IN OCCASION OF THE LAUNCH OF THE FIRST POP-UP STORE AT LA RINASCENTE.
Where does your passion for shoes come from?
Mary Alice Malone: I’m very interested in making things… so shoes come both from my love for psychology and my love for construction, and somehow that turned into shoes.
How did your land, Pennsylvania, influence you and your creations?
M.A. : I think it probably greatly influenced the way I approach design and work. “Perfect” is something that’s never going to be achieved, but to pursuit “perfection” is the process – and that’s what we’re all striving for, and that’s what I work for.
Which is the ideal woman of Malone Souliers?
M.A. : A confident woman. A woman who’s herself whethever she might be…
Which artist, actress or singer could become an icon for your brand?
Roy Luwolt: There are many, but if we have to chose just one person, I think it would be Cate Blanchett. She’s the quintessential woman, in a way that she has never struggled with the natural aging process or just the passage of time, she’s also a timeless actress and you can see this odd thing where there is a girl in the woman, and there is a woman in the girl. And there’s a transition she made that I think that’s very thespian – quite authentic, and I think a lot of the profile of the persona, of the consumer of Malone Souliers it’s not about the age, it’s just the agelessness, in a way that’s actually demoghraphic- free. So it could be anyone, from fifteen, sixteen all the way up to ninety… it makes no difference! And Cate Blanchett represents that very well.
How much does it count for you the name’s choice for your assortment?
M.A. : Some shoes just have a personality like all women. I believe that you can be a different Susan at 9 AM and and then yet a different Susan at 7 PM. And that is reflected in each shoes when you put it in a different material, different combination.. in a different phase – maybe a day shoe is in one material and then it’s a very sexy evening shoe in a different material. It’s naturally complex and complicated, just like women are.
How did “Emmanuelle”, the iconic shoe, change over the past collections?
M.A. : It went from kind of being this exaggerated pump in different materials – so it started out as being very considered and very focused on the make of it, but also on color, it was kind of un-earnest. And then maybe it got a little bit more tamed in it’s coloring and it went all seventies, and then in the last season and this fall it got very special and very playful with the fur – which I think it’s by far my favorite version of it.
And it will change again?
M. A. : Yes sure!
For SS17 you created shoes with 4 different brands Adam Lippes, Natalia Vodianova, Roksanda e Pringle of Scotland: was it hard to interpret 4 different souls trying to keep your original Malone Souliers identity?
M. A. : I’m not sure I would describe it as hard. It’s more a fun exercise, ‘cause you get to try on all sorts of different looks, and they’re all part of us, but there’s a different expression in each one of them.
Are there other brands you would like to collaborate with in the future?
R. : No! (laughs). No, cause we’re at the point to defining what the collaborations of Malone Souliers will be for the long therm, and the choice we’ve made for each collaborator is a very specific choice, based on particular qualities they have that identify with us. Take some like Pringle’s, it’s because is an establishment top-notch brand and they make wonderful knitwear; take Vodianova she’s this wonderful human with a great philantrophy with the Naked Heart Foundation, which is what half profit will go to; and then we take Adam Lippes which is effectively just a beautifully brave luxury ready-to-wear brand that fit very much into our DNA; and we got Roksanda who basically is the perfect complement to us, you know, if Malone Souliers were to be clothing line it’ll be Roksanda. So there’s a very poignant and very specific choices in those collaborations. It’s a lot of what surrounds Malone Souliers, as the world which we believe, belong and operate.
What about your collaboration with La Rinascente that see your brand protagonist of a pop up store?
R. : La Rinascente is a decider, if you will is a Trojan horse here in Italy! In America we have Bergdorf, and in the UK there’s Harvey Nichols, in Paris Le Bon Marché, and then in Milan you got La Rinascente! We’re fortunate to be here, it’s a big step much like exactly two years ago when we did Bergdorf, you know that was our first store-in. Starting with a country with the right store, the leading luxury store, is ideal for us! So we’re going to do our best to obviously introduce ourselves to Italy, even if we’ve been selling here for a while in multiple department stores, it’s the right time and the right way to present and show our shoe presence to the country, and La Rinascente has been very supportive and we’re happy about that!
Are you looking to open a monobrand store in Italy in the next future?
R.: I’m not gonna answer that! (laughs)
Your motto is:
R. : Ah! If I had to describe her I’ll say…being really cheesy…
M.A. : you’ve got your moment, go ahead…
R: Have you ever heard this sentence: “A mighty pain to love it is, and it is a pain that pain to miss; but of all pains, the greatest pain it is to love”? Ok, that’s her, 100%! That describes her completely. It’s interesting because we don’t do Malone Souliers because we have to. We do because we choose to have to! And it’s interesting because for instance the pain of the design process and the burden of it that she has to go through… she could chose not to go through this. But to miss out on that pain is it even a greater pain. I think that’s the definition of her as a human being!
I like the sentence “the evidence of things not seen” – I think that’s mine – I think my entire career has been about doing things the other way, not the way everyone does it, but the other way. And it’s not about “difference” it’s more about “differentiation”. And I think Malone Souliers demonstrates that a lot as well. I mean, we’ve never had anybody come and say: “your shoes look like everybody else”, that’s never been said a single time since we’ve launched! Now we’re in season six, we’re selling to over two-hundred-and-something stores in the world, all over the continents, and it’s interesting to realize that there is genuinely a person that comes trough, and that has actually been demonstrated by the shoes! That’s something we’re really proud of, and it doesn’t make it weird, it makes it different! And that’s an hard thing to do in an industry where you have a lot of options!
photo by Chiara Antille