As Seen in Elle
By Ilana Kaplan
You’ve probably seen them plastered across your Instagram feed or on the heels of your favorite influencers: chunky platforms, knee-high boots, and mules in bold patterns that range from gingham to daisies, in playful silhouettes and eye-popping shades like fuchsia and metallic silver. The brand? Larroudé. Over the past two years, the ’70s-influenced footwear has been quietly taking over the fashion industry, thanks in large part to its luxury appeal at a rather accessible price point.
But Larroudé might not have come to life in quite the same way had it not been for some unfortunate circumstances. One month after the start of the pandemic, its eponymous founder, Marina Larroudé, and her husband, Ricardo, both lost their jobs. As they found themselves in lockdown with their kids trying to figure out their next move, Marina, a fashion industry veteran who had previously held positions at Barneys, Teen Vogue, and Style.com, channeled her focus into launching a shoe line. It was something that had been on her mind for years. “Honestly, I remember reading a story about Tory Burch and how she started [her line] right after she had twins. She was home, and that was when she had that aha moment of creating her own brand and bringing it to market. It was when she wasn’t ‘in it’ that she could see it,” Marina explains over Zoom, from Larroudé’s office in Midtown Manhattan.
Marina finally felt like it was her time. She initially thought of designing private label shoes for Barneys, since she had done that at her last job, but some advice from her ex-colleagues to “start your own brand instead of trying to revive something” stuck with her. By December 2020, Larroudé had officially launched, with Marina and Ricardo as co-founders—the former the CCO, and the latter the CEO. “We did everything within a six-month period,” she recalls. The team, which began with five people, now has a headcount of 26, with an additional office in Brazil. Plus, Larroudé has a factory opening there next month.