Mar 30, 2009

An interview with Nicole LaFave, creative director of omelle shoes

In early February I posted about a shoe brand I had fallen head-over-heels in love with, omelle. So you can imagine my joy/surprise/awe when I received an email from Nicole LaFave, the creative director of omelle, thanking me for the love! I could not let this opportunity pass by without learning as much as possible from Nicole about the brand, from an insiders perspective, and so we have since been emailing back and forth (she is incredibly sweet, btw!). In order to help you all learn more about omelle shoes, Nicole agreed to do a little interview for Breakfast at Saks! Prepare to fall in love with Nicole and omelle!

How did you and Cherise decide that you wanted to design shoes for a living?
I didn't! We both came from different backgrounds... Cherise during her time at the law firm was wearing a lot of suits, and found herself dressing up with fun shoes and handbags that made a statement, since that was the only way she could get creative in the corporate world. I think it was around that time that she really got serious about studying in footwear or wanting to get into the industry.

On my end of things, I never planned to get into shoes. I have always been one of those girls with a lot of shoes, all different types, including vintage shoes that I became really into before moving from Michigan to L.A. I was working as an art director and a graphic designer in Michigan and moved to Los Angeles strictly for the knitwear program at FIDM. I wanted to create my own knitwear. While I was at FIDM I fell in love with being in school again and I felt that the shoe program sounded interesting and that it was another way to apply my design background, since I studied in many areas prior to moving. I gave the application process a shot for the advanced program and wasn't sure if I was accepted if I was even going to do it, but I was accepted, fell in love with the design application assignment and felt it was now or never since I was already back in school for the second time. It just all fell into place and felt like the right thing to do since I loved the process.

I read that the name "omelle" was created by scrambling the letters of your name and your partner Cherise's. Were there any other possible names for your line that came out of this scrambling of letters? Why did you end up picking the name "omelle"?
We went on google and looked for word scrambler programs and scrambled "Cherise Marie Angelle" and "Nicole Michelle LaFave". Yes there were a bunch of names on the list, however we only circled about 3-5 of them, most of which I don't really remember. We picked omelle because it just sounded right and felt good. It was feminine, quirky and sophisticated, which was what our shoes are.

When was it that you first felt that you 'made it' as a designer? Or to put it differently, what has been your proudest moment as a designer?
This is a hard question. I think as a designer, there are always a lot of these moments. I think I would have to say there were some "milestones" overall.

-Creating my first online portfolio as a graphic designer + when I first got into knits ages ago for myself.
-Accomplishing my knitwear portfolio at my first degree at FIDM, it was such a difficult process and degree, but I pushed myself so hard at school to finish the impossible.

IN FOOTWEAR (Cherise + myself):
- Writing the omelle business plan with Cherise, one of the hardest things to date that either of us have accomplished! (probably a huge milestone overall for our shoe careers)
- Sharing S/S 2009 with the world! When we were able to show the shoes to retailers, the press + started getting the word out there, I was proud of all our hard work.
- Shipping S/S 2009 to retailers + opening our webstore! This just happened this past year and as a footwear company, probably one of the proudest accomplishments

What is your favorite shoe out of the Spring/Summer '09 collection?
Neither of us can pick! I don't have an all-time favorite because our collection was made to cover a woman's lifestyle needs from day to night. I can tell you that this week I have been really loving my Darby, Avrey and Carol flats and at night I have been wearing Drew and Cecilia out a lot. Cherise switches it up a lot, but I catch her in Dafné a lot this week at work, and she lives in her Cappy's!

Can you give us an idea as to where omelle shoes are headed for Fall/Winter '09-10?
The fall collection is inspired by my favorite things! Knitwear, pockets, envelopes, and we carried over the hex shapes you see in the spring collection. The colors are interesting neutrals again, but a different palette that is darker, deeper and textural. We have some very interesting shoes that involve knit, felt and really amazing leathers and suede.


Fashion Trend Guide said...

What a great, informative interview! The shoes are gorgeous. Hey, did you get your C/E jeans?

Unknown said...

their shoes are gorgeous!! love, love them. they have this nicholas kirkwood feel about them (absolutely love his shoes), but those omelle shoes are unique and fantastic in their own right.:)

nice blog! hope you could visit and link mine as well soon



Dream Sequins said...

GREAT interview. I had never heard of this brand before-- thanks for the heads up! It looks like their shoes are very versatile. Have you tried them on? Are they comfortable? Loving those spat-style booties with cutouts. So beautiful and classy.

Freya said...

well, im in love! amazing shoes!

Rebecca Jane said...

great great post and interview - I am a huge fan of this shoe line!

Natanya said...

Great interview! What beautiful shoes and very unique career paths. Although I'd be petrified to wear those gorgeous metal heels, I can just imagine getting stuck in a subway grate!

Frankie said...

Epic shoes! x

Aline said...

thank you for doing this interview....the shoes are absolutely gorgeous!

freeteyme said...

great interview. and their shoes are so unique, fun and flirty!

SOS! said...

I've been admiring her work recently. Lovely interview!
xx-LJ from SOS!

sarah said...

that is so strange! i was just at this charity shopping event on sunday and she was there selling her beautiful shoesies! i was absolutely DYINGGGG the sky high heels with the bows~!!!

thank you for posting this

Da Fashionista said...

i had just been falling in love with the peep toe booties on shopbop!!!

great blog,

tanya said...

wow, I LOVED reading that! Thanks for the interview :-)

Eyeliah said...

Yes they are gorgeous, I also love the bow shoes! wow

KFai said...

IN LOVE with the bow booties. Where can I get my hands on a pair?