While perusing through Lincoln Road last Sunday, I entered Melissa Shoes. Melissa has a tiny boutique filled with fashion for the feet…. But more like affordable art. Art? Yes! So artsy that mastermind Zaha Hadid even collaborated with the brand a few years ago.
Collaborations seem so common now, however, note to self: Melissa has been collaborating with major designers since 1984. Its first joint venture was with Jean Paul Gaultier. Huge? Um, yes! “We joined two creative minds, and it was awesome.”
Today, Melissa has a partnership with Karl Lagerfeld. He loved the brand so much that he agreed to four collections! Jason Wu (who you may remember for designing Michelle Obama’s Inaugural gown) also has a current collection with Melissa.
Melissa launched in the US market five years ago. Michele Levy, the Harvard educated, ex-finance beauty tells Haute Living “five years ago my husband and I obtained the rights for Melissa in the US, so we launched it here. The US is the youngest market. I guess they saved the best for last.” Also noting “we created our stores to tell the story. I was a finance girl, but design, it’s an admirable business!”
Not only does Melissa create partnerships with major designers, but the “head designer Edson Matsuo, well, he dreams our dreams on a daily basis. He has been with the company for over 20 years.”
Melissa originated in Brazil, it is 44 years old. “They created the plastic shoe. It happened when two Brazilian brothers saw fishermen wearing shoes in leather, they thought it was a terrible idea and that’s how it all started. The material used is plastic. It takes every shape and every form.”
Being all about creative minds, Melissa has also worked with Campana Brothers, a world renown furniture design company who’s works have ended up in MoMA. “We once created shoes based on their furniture line.” As mentioned above, Melissa’s collaboration with Zaha Hadid was monumental. “We were the first ‘non-building’ she ever did. Why? Because the properties of the plastic can create anything, so we created a structural boot that looked like her building.”
When Melissa launched in the US, “I wanted a strong American Designer with the brand. We had a lot of European talents and I wanted to work with someone here who was pushing the envelope. Jason Wu was our first American collaboration, and it was one of our most successful launches.”
Michele tells us “what we create is affordable luxury. They are made in Brazil and 100 percent recyclable.” Regarding their current collection, Karl Lagerfeld launched in 2013 and “we are psyched about the partnership, he is so iconic. Our product is iconic. We were thrilled he wanted to work with us. It’s a partnership, we hardly ever do ‘one off,’ we tend to continue to continue.”
If you are wondering what is next? Michele replies “Oh god, so much! We just launched Karl. He will do four collections for us. Were continuing with Jason, Campana Brothers and Karl. They keep pushing us in a positive creative direction.”
When I was in the store, I fell in LOVE with a boot, that becomes two, with a simple snap! I swear, so you get an equestrian look or an ankle bootie and what is most mouth watering is the price for the look! Just 200! I say buy it for Basel and its plastic, so incase it rains, voila! Protection and fashion, sexy, femme and innovative: So Melissa!
WHERE to Shop forMelissa:
online at: Shop601
830 Lincoln Road
102 Green Street