Parson’s grad Alejandro Ingelmo might be fairly new to the shoe design scene–he launched his first collection in 2006–but he’s had almost instant success, scoring a CFDA nom this year for the Swarovski Award for Accessories and was a nominee in 2008, too. Designers like Chris Benz and Cushnie et Ochs call on him to shod their models for their runway shows. So it follows that Ingelmo opened his first stand-alone brick and mortar store this past fall at 51 Wooster St. in Soho.
We chatted with the fourth-generation shoe designer about his sexy spring collection (currently in store), his thoughts on collaborating, and his exciting new business plans for this summer.
Fashionista: First off, congrats on the CFDA nom–how does it feel?
Alejandro Ingelmo: It’s an honor to be nominated alongside truly talented designers.
Your first boutique opened this past September in Soho. What made it the right time for you to open up shop?
I had wanted to open a shop for a long time. We found the space and everything just sort of seemed to come together. I knew I wanted to be in Soho and I knew I wanted it to be small and quaint and have nostalgic touches from my grandfathers shop, so when we got this space, it was just meant to be.
You’ve done some really cool collaborations with fashion designers like Chris Benz. How important do you think it is for a shoemaker to work with ready-to-wear designers in this era?
It’s been great to collaborate with different designers. You get to really be creative and work with someone whose aesthetic may be slightly different from yours and you come together to truly collaborate.
We hear you recently decorated your workspace–can you tell us a little about it?
I have been collecting antique furniture for years, mostly mid-century. I was looking all over for a roll top desk, similar to the one that my grandfather had in his office, and I found one on eBay from the late 1800s. Then this just started my determination to make my work space comfortable and inspiring, while still looking like it belonged in the back of the store. So, I searched for more antiques and also had a curtain made to separate my workspace from the rest of the store.
Shoe design and architecture are so interwoven–how big of a role did you have in designing the store?
I designed the entire store. From the shelving to the flooring, to the light fixtures.
You’re a fourth generation shoe designer. That’s kind of amazing. How has your background influenced your collection, and how are you different from your predecessors?
My background and heritage have, or course, been an influence in my work. But my family is known for mens oxford shoes and I think I am now known for high sexy heels and futuristic sneakers.
What’s next on your agenda?
I am launching e-commerce in June!
Check out some of Ingelmo’s spring collection: