Interview | Malone Souliers
If you haven't heard of Malone Souliers yet, then it's only a matter of time before you do. Fresh from a collaboration with David Koma at February's London Fashion Week, the luxurious label is going from strength to strength, with its unapologetically feminine aesthetic appealing to the likes of Cameron Diaz and Amy Ryan. We sit down with the brand's Managing Director Roy Luwolt and Creative Director Mary Alice Malone to talk about their collections, their inspirations and what the future holds for Malone Souliers.
Q: How did the partnership with Malone Souliers and David Koma come about?
Roy Luwolt: Mary and I spent a couple of seasons getting the basic design and product and brand together, and once we figured that we'd defined the infancy stages, we decided we'd play around with the congruent market and brand, especially one that's been around longer than we have. Having attended his shows a couple of times prior and after exploring a few options we decided that this was the one we wanted to align with as a brand – as much as it's a different aesthetic from ours, it still felt very stubbornly itself, very self-aware and very insistently luxury – and that's one of the things we liked about it.
Q: What was the creative process like whilst creating the AW15 line with him?
Mary Alice Malone: Obviously he has a very strong aesthetic and a very established design process - which it may appear would make it more difficult to work with but it actually makes it easier – it's always easier to work with people who really know what they want their brand and collection to look like. It was a pure collaboration in that it was very creative from both ends and I think both of us produced something that wouldn't otherwise have happened - which is the best way to do things.
Q: How has the response to the collaboration been since the show at LFW?
RL: It's an interesting one, the decision was made not to boost sales, it was more of a conceptual project and more to exercise the creative muscles of Malone Souliers across a different product – and I say product because even though they're shoes, they're very different shoes from what we make. So the collaboration hasn't changed anything about what we are, it's just challenged us to apply the finishes and craftsmanship of what we make to create what have become quite gorgeous and bespoke shoes. They are the first bespoke shoes Malone Souliers has ever made and the response from a trade and a consumer perspective has been very positive.
Q: How would you describe the aesthetic of your shoes?
MAM: Very classic and feminine.
Q: Which shoe designers do you admire most?
RL: We disagree on a couple of them, but collectively we like Manolo Blahnik, Roger Vivier. I would then veer off towards brands like Céline and Balenciaga but she (Mary Alice) comes from a different school of thought on that – but maybe that's the difference between someone who makes shoes and someone who wears them.
Q: How would you describe how a great pair of heels makes a woman feel?
MAM: Sexy, powerful, hopefully beautiful.
RL: Complete. The product category we serve – we're lucky because it's the completion of an outfit and the finishing touch.
Q: Describe the ideal wearer of your shoes
MAM: I'm not into specifics, I don't think about what she looks like, how tall she is, what her career is – it's more the way she carries herself and the way she embodies herself. For me it's always that type of woman who has enough presence that you are aware of her before she's even walked in the door.
Q: Are there any projects currently in the works?
RL: UK-wise – we have a collaboration with a menswear label and womenswear label coming up, we have a pop-up coming up as well - and stateside we've got the likes of the Met Ball and a couple of things to do with TV and film. So the brand is continuing its obsessive need to clarify its positioning, by coupling with other brands that we feel define what we see ourselves as. That's the whole point of what we're doing. The big advantage that other luxury brands have is time - they've been around a lot longer; the brands that we respect the most happen to be the ones that have stood the test of time and have a sense of longevity about the ways that they design and run their businesses.
Malone Souliers is currently available By Appointment from Malone Souliers, Top Floor, 49 Albemarle Street, London W1S 4JR and is also available at MATCHESFASHION.COM