Emerg­ing Tal­ent

How the de­signer has se­cured her place in footwear with a unique re­tail strat­egy, celebrity clien­tele and Ital­ian crafts­man­ship.

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - By NIKARA JOHNS

Chloe Gos­selin

At a time when fast fash­ion is abun­dant in the mar­ket­place, Chloe Gos­selin is tak­ing a dif­fer­ent route. The de­signer is bank­ing on her artistry and crafts­man­ship to cul­ti­vate the suc­cess of her epony­mous com­pany for the long haul — and it’s work­ing.

What’s been cru­cial to Gos­selin’s busi­ness is her strate­gic re­tail ap­proach, fo­cus­ing on lim­ited dis­tri­bu­tion for her made-in-Italy shoes. “I don’t want to be ev­ery­where, but [I plan to] have key new re­tail­ers,” said the 34-year-old for­mer model, who stud­ied shoe de­sign through evening classes at FIT and an Ars Su­to­ria pro­duc­tion work­shop be­fore launch­ing her la­bel in 2014.

Most re­cently, Gos­selin has added French depart­ment store Le Bon Marché to her list of whole­sale partners, and next up is Bloom­ing­dale’s.

She is finding in­ter­na­tional suc­cess with her di­rect e-com­merce partner, Far­fetch.com. Since her launch on the site in March 2016, Gos­selin’s sales there have grown 40 to 50 per­cent each year. Its chief com­mer­cial and sus­tain­abil­ity of­fi­cer, Gior­gio Bel­loli, told FN, “Far­fetch has pro­vided a plat­form for Chloe Gos­selin to gain great ex­po­sure to a global au­di­ence. And [we] feel [she] is a great ex­am­ple of an emerg­ing lux­ury de­signer who is not widely dis­trib­uted.”

To gain even more ex­po­sure in the U.S., Gos­selin is also bank­ing on trav­el­ing pop-up shops in 2019. She said, “It’s a more di­rect-to­con­sumer [ap­proach] where I can show the true range of the col­lec­tion and tell my story in key cities. Even if it is a pop-up, I want to cu­rate a place for peo­ple to get a bet­ter sense of the en­vi­ron­ment and [the brand].”

Also com­ing up in the new year are fresh col­lab­o­ra­tions. Gos­selin has teamed up with in­ti­mates brand Mor­gan Lane for a fourpiece swim­suit col­lec­tion and pool slide for spring ’19 that will fea­ture her prints and brand­ing el­e­ments such as buckle de­tail­ing.

Gos­selin, who launched her epony­mous la­bel with pri­mar­ily evening styles, has broad­ened her de­sign bound­aries this year by adding more ca­sual looks such as flats and chunky heels, and she has seen the pay­off from the ex­panded as­sort­ment.

“There is a niche in the mar­ket where she slipped in,” said celebrity stylist and friend Chloe Hart­stein. “I’ve al­ways found her shoes strong but fem­i­nine, and they’re fun, so a lot of my clients re­act to that. You don’t see that any­where else.”

Gos­selin said her re­sort ’19 col­lec­tion will be the big­gest test for the brand, whose fa­mous fans in­clude Ni­cole Kid­man, Emma Roberts and Olivia Munn, among oth­ers. “It’s in­ter­est­ing. Some of the new styles that have a lot of tex­ture are hav­ing huge suc­cess on the red car­pet,” said Gos­selin. “It’s not just a bling or satin; they are em­brac­ing color com­bos and state­ment pieces [more than ever be­fore].”

And as Gos­selin con­tin­ues to gain more pub­lic­ity, she is us­ing her grow­ing plat­form to pro­mote causes close to her heart. For in­stance, her spring ’19 pre­sen­ta­tion in New York was in part­ner­ship with the Rise Up and Vote col­lec­tive. She said, “The older I get and the tougher the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate gets, I need to use my voice. It’s not much, but if I can con­vince 100 more young peo­ple to vote, for ex­am­ple, that’s great.”

In the end, though, what sets Gos­selin apart is her com­mit­ment to the craft. “Beau­ti­ful Ital­ian shoes aren’t go­ing any­where — they’re here to stay,” she said. “I want to be here for years to come. The lux­ury mar­ket takes time and pa­tience, and I don’t mind that at all.”

“THE LUX­URY MAR­KET TAKES TIME AND PA­TIENCE, AND I DON’T MIND THAT AT ALL.”

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