The Shoe Collaboration You'll Want to Buy in Bulk
It's pretty darn exciting to think that one of London's leading shoe labels—in terms of both A-list supporters and industry fans—is about to launch a line in collaboration with L.K.Bennett. Yes, Bionda Castana is in cahoots with the established British store, and it's safe to say that credit cards are prepped and space has been cleared in many a fashion week wardrobe to cater to this range of knockout heels, midis and flats.
To celebrate the combined retail greatness of this idea, we caught up with Bionda Castana co-founder, the eternally chic Natalia Barbieri, to chat shoes (obviously), shoes, and, erm, more shoes!
Scroll down to see the collection and Who What Wear UK's exclusive chat…
Courtesy of L.K.Bennett
Bionda Castana founders Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman wearing pieces from the L.K.Bennett x Bionda Castana collection.
Who What Wear UK: First things first, Natalia—in the past week critics have predicted that really high heels are coming back. What do you think?
Natalia Barbieri: I would tend to disagree. Sales for us over the past 18 months have increased drastically in the lower heel height collections—that's 7.5 cm and lower. Women are now more willing to purchase those mid-heel height styles without feeling that they are compromising on style. In some ways, wearing a lower heel height is more chic.
WWW UK: Is there a trick to walking in high heels?
NB: Simply walk on the heel and then roll onto the ball of your foot! Most importantly, you should only buy a heel you can walk in and are comfortable with in the first place.
WWW UK: When you first started your business, what was the most important aim for the brand?
NB: To develop a brand with a different point of view. Our "hand" is unique to us. An elegant, seasonless, eye-catching shoe that is neither eccentric nor unwearable.
Starting a footwear and accessories brand has always been inside Jennifer and I from a young age. But when we met, we shared our vision pretty much from the first day, so we knew we’d be working on this together as our lifetime project. We wanted to use our skills in a more creative way with all the business knowledge we had gained prior to launching Bionda Castana.
WWW UK: And what have you loved most about doing this collaboration?
NB: It’s been a real eye-opening experience for us coming from a small brand to work for a global brand. It’s been a real delight to get to know a new professional machine, in essence, and to learn new processes. No creative differences, a real harmonious collaboration.
Courtesy of L.K.Bennett
WWW UK: Which shoe do you think is most recognisably your brand's style and how have you translated that for L.K. Bennett?
The Lana pump effectively put us on the map. It was and is our take on the single sole pump that women adore so much. Elements of our Lana can be found in the capsule collection by way of transparency, geometry and also our signature checkerboard print.
WWW UK: Obviously all pairs are going to fly, but do you have bets on which style you think will sell out quickest?
NB: Our favourite is the Raspberry Chequerboard Jerry high-heeled sandal [in the gallery below]. It embodies both the L.K.Bennett and Bionda Castana worlds by using our signatures of laces, graphic prints and the thinner stiletto. It’s a showstopper.
Josiah Kamau/Getty Images
Alexa Chung in Bionda Castana Nicole Lace Pumps (£495) and a Carven dress.
WWW UK: You've had so many amazing celebrities wear Bionda Castana shoes over the past few years, but was there one person who really stood out for you as an real moment?
NB: I love the surprises of Lady Gaga and also the chicness of Alexa Chung.
WWW UK: How many shoes do you have in your own wardrobe?
NB: I’d say approximately 60... is that too many? The tribulations of being sample size!
WWW UK: And how many shoes do you think a woman needs in her wardrobe? These two answers may be quite different…
NB: A single sole 100 mm pump, an open-toe sandal, a 50 mm pump, a flat pointed ballerina, and a round-toe biker. These will see you through as essentials.
On that note, let's check the line out. Scroll through the collection in the gallery below, and prep your shopping list for the launch on February 10…
Which style do you like the most? Tell us in the comments box below!