Talk the Talk

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - BY JEN­NIE BELL

Katy Perry gets can­did about shoes, star­dom and mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

Katy Perry has mas­tered the pop mu­sic game. And in two short years, she’s shown sim­i­lar prow­ess with her at­ten­tion-grab­bing footwear brand. In a can­did con­ver­sa­tion with FN, the singer, de­signer and “FFANY Shoes on Sale” am­bas­sador re­veals what it re­ally means to be a buzz-maker.

Katy Perry has al­ways had a knack for get­ting peo­ple talk­ing. From her 2008 break­out hit “I Kissed a Girl” to her no-holds-barred Twit­ter feed, the mu­sic su­per­star tends to stir up con­ver­sa­tion with her unique mix of hu­mor, sen­su­al­ity and pas­sion.

But re­cently, fol­low­ing a hec­tic — and of­ten head­line-mak­ing — year on her “Wit­ness” tour and as a judge on “Amer­i­can Idol,” the 33-yearold singer has adopted a more philo­soph­i­cal tone and told FN she is tak­ing a short breather from mu­sic to fo­cus on her other in­ter­ests.

One of those is her Katy Perry Col­lec­tions footwear brand, which launched in 2016 as a joint ven­ture with Global Brands Group Hold­ing Ltd. And, in fact, the de­signer is lend­ing her buzz-mak­ing abil­ity to the shoe in­dus­try’s largest char­i­ta­ble project, the QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” breast can­cer fundraiser.

“Ev­ery­one knows some­one who has been af­fected by breast can­cer or can­cer in gen­eral,” she said about serv­ing as am­bas­sador. “When you’re in your 30s, es­pe­cially, you have a lot of friends who are fac­ing hard de­ci­sions in their lives, so any way that I can be a part of the move­ment that gives back, it’s an ob­vi­ous

‘of course.’”

In ad­di­tion to ap­pear­ing in the PSA ads for the char­ity,

Perry will at­tend the Oct. 11 Shoes on Sale event in New York and even cre­ated three spe­cial styles that will be sold ex­clu­sively in the gala’s shoe salon, in­clud­ing a glit­tery san­dal, boot and sneaker.

The star also will ap­pear the prior day on her first QVC broad­cast to sell looks from her line and raise aware­ness for the cause.

“[We’re] just try­ing to do our part and give back,” she ex­plained. “My busi­ness is fairly new, and we’re al­ways look­ing for unique ways to be part of dif­fer­ent con­ver­sa­tions, not just about the shoes.” Since launch­ing her footwear brand two years ago, Perry has chan­neled her en­thu­si­asm into de­vel­op­ing a la­bel with a unique iden­tity. Sarah Ader, sales direc­tor for Katy Perry Col­lec­tions, said, “We are happy with the per­for­mance [of the line] and the fact that this col­lec­tion is a point of dif­fer­ence from what ex­ists on the mar­ket. We pro­vide core sil­hou­ettes with a touch of de­tail and flair that makes Katy’s col­lec­tion what it is.”

The brand is car­ried in ma­jor re­tail ac­counts across the globe, in­clud­ing Macy’s, Dil­lard’s, Von Maur, Zap­pos, Ama­zon and For­ever 21. Iowa-based depart­ment store Von Maur stocks the line in 23 of its 34 lo­ca­tions. “The col­lec­tion def­i­nitely brings some­thing unique and fun to our shoe floor,” said Tif­fany Mu­sick, DMM of women’s. “Brands can tend to look the same, and this re­ally stands out. They’re very whim­si­cal shoes, and they’re good con­ver­sa­tion starters. And I feel like you can at­tract a wide range of cus­tomers.”

As Perry ex­plains it, “It’s a wacky, kind of weird world that I live in, and peo­ple like it. They’re buy­ing into it.” Here, she shares more with FN about her world and what she’s learned about shoes, star­dom and her­self.

IN YOUR MU­SIC, YOUR FASH­ION, EVEN YOUR TWIT­TER FEED, YOU SHOW FEAR­LESS­NESS. WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM?

KATY PERRY: “I didn’t al­ways have it. I’ve done a lot of work lately in the past year on my men­tal health, on my spir­i­tual and emo­tional side. Now I’ve been try­ing to find the balance and not overindulging, just try­ing to stay grounded. My sis­ter lives right next door to me, and my

“IT’S A WACKY, KIND OF WEIRD WORLD THAT I LIVE IN, AND PEO­PLE LIKE IT. THEY’RE BUY­ING INTO IT.”

fam­ily is not re­ally fazed by any­thing. They’re proud of me, but they don’t put me on a pedestal — every­body is pretty norm­core. My boyfriend, [Or­lando Bloom], is a great an­chor. For some rea­son, I at­tract peo­ple who are re­ally real and call me out on stuff when I’m be­ing cuckoo.”

NOW THAT YOUR “WIT­NESS” TOUR IS FIN­ISHED, WHAT ARE YOU FO­CUSED ON?

KP:

“I’ve been on the road for like 10 years, so I’m just go­ing to chill. I’m not go­ing to go straight into mak­ing an­other record. I feel like I’ve done a lot. I feel like I’ve rung the bell of be­ing a pop star very loudly, and I’m very grate­ful for that.”

WHY DO YOU FEEL LIKE IT’S THE RIGHT TIME TO TAKE A STEP BACK?

KP:

“Well, I knew what I wanted to do when

I was 9 years old, so every­thing else be­came sec­ondary to that. I didn’t re­ally pay at­ten­tion to any­thing be­sides my craft — which is great, and I love it. I love mak­ing mu­sic, I love writ­ing. But I don’t feel like I’m a part of a game any­more; I just feel like I’m an artist. I don’t feel like I have to prove any­thing, which is a free­ing feel­ing.”

WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR SHOE BRAND, YOU OF­TEN WEAR IT AND PRO­MOTE IT ON YOUR PER­SONAL SO­CIAL ME­DIA. WHY IS THAT IM­POR­TANT?

KP:

“It’s like a limb of mine — it’s re­ally that im­por­tant to me — be­cause it’s so full of per­son­al­ity, and it’s af­ford­able. When I was a teenager, I had to create a look on a bud­get, so I was al­ways putting to­gether things from thrift stores and char­ity shops. I couldn’t af­ford what was cool, which was Roxy and Bebe at the time. All the kids in my class who were wear­ing these $35 shirts, I’d be like, ‘Oh my gosh, you are rich!’”

IN THE TWO YEARS SINCE YOUR BRAND LAUNCHED, IS THERE ANY­THING ABOUT THE SHOE BUSI­NESS THAT HAS SUR­PRISED YOU?

KP:

“I think what sur­prised me was the re­ac­tion — peo­ple re­ally like it. All the main stores, they started on­line, and then they went into ac­tual phys­i­cal lo­ca­tions. They took a lot of chances with me be­cause my shoes are re­ally per­son­al­ity pieces. We have shoes that are sta­ples — we cover the whole gamut of footwear — but mostly the ones that I like to high­light are for that fun, unique in­di­vid­ual or some­one who is wear­ing all-black and wants the per­son­al­ity to pop on their feet. The styles are fun, a lot of times they’re funny, cutesy. They’re kind of like sto­ry­telling shoes.”

HOW HAVE YOU JUGGLED WORK­ING ON THE LA­BEL IN BE­TWEEN GO­ING OUT ON TOUR AND YOUR OTHER PROJECTS?

KP: “I col­lab­o­rate on the de­sign with Johnny Wu­jek, who was my long­time cos­tume de­signer for dif­fer­ent tours. He comes in and he helps me scheme up what the next fun, funny, light-hearted shoe will be. We have a What­sApp group where we put in our de­sign in­spi­ra­tion, and we have boards and talk about which themes we want and what works and what doesn’t. And when we do a shoe de­sign or pro­to­type meet­ing, it’s a full-day event. Last time we did it, I was on tour a few weeks ago in Aus­tralia, and the ladies [from Global Brands] came, and they brought like 700 pro­to­types with them. It was crazy.”

HOW DOES YOUR DE­SIGN PROCESS COM­PARE WITH MAK­ING MU­SIC?

KP: “I like my shoes to tell a story through the heel, [ask­ing]: ‘Can it be this or can it be that?’ I’ve tried to put many a dif­fer­ent fig­ure or or­na­ment on the heels just to tell a story and to hope­fully start con­ver­sa­tions via your feet wher­ever you’re go­ing, what­ever you’re do­ing. Mu­sic in a way is the same thing. Hope­fully, peo­ple talk about the songs.”

HAS HAV­ING YOUR OWN BRAND CHANGED THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THE FASH­ION WORLD?

KP: “For sure. It’s no small feat, the lo­gis­tics and or­ga­ni­za­tion and re­spon­si­bil­ity you have to have. It’s not just, ‘Oh, I want to start a shoe line’ — I mean, not if you want to be suc­cess­ful. There are a lot of peo­ple who do col­lab­o­ra­tions, and that’s su­per-fun, and good for them. But I wanted own­er­ship — it was im­por­tant to me to [ap­proach this like] Vic­to­ria Beck­ham did. She paved the way for pop stars. You can be taken se­ri­ously if you do take it se­ri­ously.”

YOU’RE MAK­ING YOUR FIRST AP­PEAR­ANCE ON QVC ON OCT. 10. ARE YOU EX­CITED?

KP:

“It’s kind of been a life­long dream. I’ve seen Mariah [Carey] and all these peo­ple on QVC. I love hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions with all kinds of dif­fer­ent peo­ple and help­ing them maybe select some­thing based on de­tails they give me about their aunt, sis­ter or grand­daugh­ter. So I’m go­ing to be my full quirky self — who knows what will

“I JUST FEEL LIKE I’M AN ARTIST. I DON’T FEEL LIKE I HAVE TO PROVE ANY­THING, WHICH IS A RE­ALLY FREE­ING FEEL­ING.”

Miu Miu’s re­sort ‘15 line went dark with a mid­night hue

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