“My shoes are classic in silhouette, but playful and sexy in the details.”
What is it about the “it” shoe that is so alluring? In all of its stylish splendor, the right pair of kicks can accent an ensemble as well as add a dash of flair and sex-appeal to a look. This is the essence of what French-born, New York-based designer Jean-Michel Cazabat captures with his shoe designs. Known for a bold and colorful aesthetic with a provocative silhouette, the 25-year veteran and CFDA member makes mastering shoe design his mission and has garnered a celebrity following including Sarah Jessica Parker, Mary-Kate Olsen, and Madonna. For Fall 2015, Cazabat has launched a collection reminiscent of the 70s featuring color-blocked pumps, glitter snake-printed heels, and neon colored sandals. I recently caught up with Cazabat for an exclusive e-interview to get intel on his line and what’s coming next.
Ladies are always on a mission to find the next “it” shoe designer. What inspires your designs and what sets your shoes apart from other designers? I’m a visual person, anything bright, fun, and bold, I love – it’s my personality and it’s reflected in my designs. I like to play with color, prints, and exotic leathers, all of which have become signature trademarks of my shoes. For my SS16 collection, I was inspired by a recent trip I took to Zanzibar. I fell in love with all of the printed fabrics there and incorporated them into the collection.
Your shoes have garnered a famous following including celebrities such as Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Mary-Kate Olsen. What do you believe is the allure of your designs? My shoes are classic in silhouette, but playful and sexy in the details. The celebs and their stylists want provocative pieces, shoes that stand out and are adventurous. It’s a unique point of view and I’m lucky to have such an amazing following – they inspire me!
What is the best part of what you do as a shoe designer? Seeing my shoes on women’s feet. The process of seeing something you designed come to life on the street keeps me going as a designer, there’s no better feeling.
If you could design a shoe for anyone past or present, real or fictional, who would it be and why? Tough question, there are so many. J’adore Rihanna, she is fearless with her fashion choices and such a chameleon.
As a shoe aficionado, are there any shoe trends that have made you cringe. if so, what are they? I’ve never been a fan of socks and sandals, just doesn’t make sense to me.
How has your work evolved over the years? I’ve been designing my own label now for 15 years and in this time not only have I evolved as a person, but the business and fashion it self has as well. Being in this industry for so long has given me self-confidence as a designer. I used to question if my collections were on trend and worry about how they would be received. Now, I don’t doubt myself. I design what makes me happy.
You design both flats and heels, but what do you think women look best wearing? I think women are beautiful and can look great in anything, but you really can never go wrong with a great pair of pumps.
Any cool design projects or new collections in the works? I’m collaborating with Sophie Theallet and creating the shoes for her SS16 show. This will be the third season we are working together and it has been such a pleasure to work with her.
Header image source: Jean-Michel Cazabat for Sophie Theallet F/W 2015