By Phebe Wahl And Lauren Brocato
The next wave of innovators has arrived, bringing a flood of fresh energy to New York.
“Larroudé believes in making fashion fun, artistic and empowering,” explains Marina Larroudé, founder of her newly debuted eponymous collection, Larroudé. The 20-year fashion veteran teamed up with her financier husband to innovate and develop cloudlike cushions to make wearing their seriously stylish shoes perfectly painless. “Our products feature reimagined classic staples adding the ability to also think of new constructions, and colorways for customers [to] express their moods and personalities,” she says. The forward-thinking team developed a DTC model that includes an initiative QR system that gives each shoe an individual identification that clients can share with their friends to earn and give credits. “I believe in conscious purchases that will last.”
How do you think your innovation fills a void or need in the community? I once did the math and realized I had seen over 3,000 live shows in my lifetime, excluding private appointments. I’ve spent a lot of my life around fashion products. I could find great dresses, sweaters, jeans, all at attainable prices, but not shoes. All good designer shoes were so highly priced, or the cheap ones would fall apart and feel cheap when you wore them. So I took my 20-plus years of knowledge, combined with an incredible shoe designer-technician, and designed and developed a high-end designer shoe using only the best-quality materials. We also cut a lot of middle men in the development and production process and focused on delivering outstanding quality directly to clients. That was my dream, to bring fashion and high-quality items to a much larger audience. I believe in conscious purchases that will last. I’m happy to say we have achieved that.
How do you hope to bring about change? I hope to use our platform to start tough conversations, to break taboos, to help communities and to enhance women’s empowerment, all in a beautiful way. We are not just about beautiful products. We are about sharing everyone’s stories and welcoming new people into the fashion discussion. For our first campaign, I cast several friends to be part of it: Dominique Castelano, whom I met when we were both working at Barneys, and now is a famous transgender model. Then Erin Hazelton, who kicked cancer in the butt and has been raising money toward breast cancer ever since, and so many other incredible women. While for Valentine’s Day, we partnered with Womanizer to give a free Liberty by Lily Allen x Womanizer [sex toy] with any Larroudé purchase—the real shoegasm. But all jokes aside, women’s sexuality and pleasure are one of the hardest conversations to have, and we think the hardest are the ones worth having.
What other news can we buzz for the year ahead? We’re launching sweats this spring with nonprofit organization Spectrum Designs Foundation. Hundred percent of their proceeds support their mission to provide employment and meaningful vocational opportunities to people with autism and related developmental disabilities. They are an amazing organization, and we couldn’t have chosen a better partner.