Designers Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel held their first proper New York Fashion Week presentation back in September, and they used the occasion to make an announcement that had attendees giddy with anticipation: The minimalist label would introduce footwear for spring 2016, following on the heels of its 2015 CFDA Award win for emerging accessories design.
If you're a fan of Mansur Gavriel's handbags, you likely know that they're notoriously difficult to get, and many styles (specifically the bucket bags) tend sell out instantly upon their release. Considering the cult following that the almost four-year-old brand has amassed, it's not outrageous to anticipate a similar situation with the shoes, which become available on Wednesday. Net-a-Porter, one of the label's first-ever retail partners, will be the first to carry the collection — and will have a two-week exclusive before the goods hit shelves anywhere else.
Much like with the handbags, Mansur Gavriel's shoes are available in mix-and-match styles with a whopping 320 possible combinations: There are four models (a headband, 2 bands, crossed bands, mule), five different heel heights (flat, 40mm, 65mm, 90mm, 110mm), both suede and vegetable-tanned leather fabrications and 16 colors, including royal blue, cammello, plum, pink and red. Prices are based on heel height, and range from $350-$625.
Adding another category has been an exciting, albeit challenging, project for Mansur and Gavriel, especially on the production front. "We've never dealt with fit before, so it was interesting learning about that," Mansur told Fashionista over the phone ahead of the launch. "We had everyone in our office trying on shoes for fit and we were all comparing our feet — we learned it's kind of impossible to make a shoe that fits all and sizing can be subjective." Comfort was key as well, and optimizing that went beyond simply making sure there's ample padding. "We had to find a perfect thickness of the leather and suede so it's not too stiff that it'll hurt your foot, but not too flimsy that it doesn't hold up," Mansur explained. "Plus, it's a block heel, so as it gets higher, there's a platform that adds extra support. We wanted a range of shoes where you could have this high heel that's quite sexy but also wearable, and a lower heel that's easy and comfortable but also elegant."
Because of the brand's desire to grow organically and to not overproduce, they're taking "baby steps" with the footwear debut, and only launching with seven partners: Net-a-Porter, Dover Street Market New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Opening Ceremony, Colette, Steven Alan Tribeca, Lane Crawford and the label's own e-commerce site. If you're formulating a plan of action beyond the NaP release, the designers anticipate an arrival during the first week of March, and some retailers may run a pre-sale beginning around Feb. 24. If there was ever a time to buddy up with an in-the-know sales associate from one of the aforementioned retailers, it's now.
Browse Net-a-Porter's debut offering of Mansur Gavriel shoes, available now here, in the gallery below.