Last night, Italian sneaker brand Superga invited fashion’s best and brightest to celebrate their first-ever American store in SoHo–and they pulled off an impressive feat in the process, getting many of fashion’s die-hard heel-addicts, including the brand’s Creative Directors Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, to ditch their signature stilettos for Superga’s cool and classic sneaks. Hey, anything that gets us closer to wearing comfy shoes at fashion events, we can get behind!
At the event we also had a chance to chat with Steven Madden, who is responsible for bringing the classic Italian brand stateside and who has worked with the Olsens for five years, first on their Elizabeth and James shoe line and now on Superga. Madden is a pioneer–and a character–in the shoe industry and he’s certainly not one to mince words.
When asked what it was like to work with Mary-Kate and Ashley on the twins’ line of shoes for the brand, Madden said with a wry smile, “Painful. Painful.”
“They’re very demanding, they’re very tough,” he continued. “You know, just tough, tough. They want what they want. And so we worked hard to get that done.”
Obviously Mary-Kate and Ashley, who are successful designers and billionaires to boot, maintain a strict standard when it comes to their work–something which Madden confirms. “They are difficult. They are exacting,” he said. “They are a pain in the ass. But they’re very good though.”
Madden’s critical eye was not limited to his much-younger collaborators. Asked whether there were any misunderstandings due to the generational gap between them, Madden responded, “No. They’re awesome. They’re very grown up, very worldly. And I’m very immature. So we meet in the middle.”
As to why Madden decided to bring Superga to America in the first place, the shoe exec said that it started out as a “casual thing.”
“I’ve always liked Superga. When I went to Italy as a kid I saw girls wearing backpacks with Superga,” he said. “I thought it was really cute. I thought it’d be great. And so I said [something] to Ashley Olsen…and she goes ‘I love Superga.’ I said I’ll get it for you, I’ll bring it to America and you’ll be my creative director. So that’s how it happened.”
Well, there you go!
Click through to see more photos from the party.
Photos: Courtesy PR Consulting