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    By Andrea Park

     

    Marina and Ricardo Larroudé were among the many people who found themselves unemployed during the pandemic. 

     

    Marina, 41, who was vice president, fashion director, of the now-shuttered Barneys, says the timing couldn’t have been worse for her family as the world came to a halt, with few available job opportunities. 

     

    But instead of embracing the ennui of lockdown, she and her husband Ricardo, 42, launched the clothing line Larroudé and spent their days building a team remotely, setting up third-party logistics, researching factories, and raising seed capital, with all of their meetings conducted on Zoom. 

     

    “We decided to take the reins of our own future and build our own company,” says Marina, who was a well-known editor and fashion director at Teen Vogue and Style.com prior to her role at Barney’s. “Together we have 40 years of experience, me in the fashion industry and Ricardo in finance and operations. He has been following the fashion industry all these years and we've always spoken of how we would make it different if we had our own business.”

     

    The Larroudés even worked while driving an RV from New York to Malibu and back with their children for more than a month, stopping at national parks along the way and fulfilling a life-long dream of theirs. 

     

    “This country is so beautiful,” Marina says. “We can’t wait to do it again. We did it all as we were starting Larroudé. It was the right start of an adventure of our lifetime.”

     

    Larroudé launched last December with a line of shoes, bags, and clothes; Marina characterizes the aesthetic as “joyful and playful.” Larroudé’s irreverent and colorful shoes have quickly become ubiquitous on Instagram, but the brand boasts a broader appeal, with celebrities including Rita Ora,  Normani, and Amy Sedaris among Larroudé’s fans. Even First Lady Jill Biden has been seen carrying the Erin, a black alligator-embossed clutch.

     

    

    THE ITEMS

    Larroudé’s line includes shoes, bags, and clothing, but its shoes—especially the heels—are the star of the show. From the prim Diana flats to the 4.5-inch high Dolly sandals, which come in a crystal-encrusted suede, all of Larroudé’s shoes have lasts and a toe box made wider for comfort, and a memory foam insole for added cushion. Materials include suede, leather, and high-shine patent leather with playful patterns. “The printed whimsical shoes have my heart,” Marina says. 

    Now that the seasons have changed, she is transitioning into the Louise western boot that frequently sells out. “Thankfully I have the sample and that’s what I’ll be wearing all fall,” she says.

    Larroudé currently has one handbag shape, the Erin clutch, which comes in crocodile embossed leather or patent leather with a cheeky cannabis-leaf print. 

    The brand also offers sweatshirts, sweatpants, and denim.

     

    THE PRICE

    Larroudé shoes range from US$150 for flat mule sandals to US$485 for knee-high lace-up combat boots. The cult-favorite platform Miso sandal is US$285-US$290. The Erin clutch is US$325, and clothes range from US$95 for a sweatshirt to US$235 for jeans. 

    Although Larroudé products are sold at retailers like Revolve and Shopbop, the line began as a direct-to-consumer company, allowing for lower prices for high-fashion items, says Marina. 

     

     

    WHAT’S THE GOOD?

    Marina says that when she and Ricardo were launching Larroudé, sustainability was a top priority. 

     

    “We want [Larroudé] to be part of people’s lives for a long time,” she says. “It’s more than an aesthetic, but also how humans should connect with each other and the world.” 

     

    That meant finding a factory with responsible practices. Marina and Ricardo are originally from Brazil, and they work exclusively with a Brazilian factory that follows International Labour Organization rules. Larroudé also ensures that the factory meets additional criteria, such as proximity to quality housing and employee benefits.  

     

    Larroudé shoes and bags start with leather from local tanneries that are gold-certified by the Leather Working Group, a nonprofit organization that conducts environmental audits for leather manufacturers. Larroudé is responsible for disposing all of its industrial waste responsibly, and taking active measures to reduce environmental pollution. 

     

    WHAT’S NEXT

    Larroudé has several collaborations in the pipeline, including a collection with vegan shoe brand Melissa to launch during the holidays, and another shoe collection with Oscar de la Renta to launch in the spring. 

     

    Marina says the brand is also working on expanding its handbag collection, wholesale footprint, and new product categories while also searching for a physical retail storefront. 

     

    As seen in Barrons.

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