The View magazine had a chat with luxury shoe designer Jean-Michel Cazabat, who can include some of the world’s greatest celebs among his clients like, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sara Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Scarlett Johanssen, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, and Mary-Kate Olsen.
TV: Hi Jean-Michel, how are you? Tell us a bit about you.
JM: I’m a native of Gascony which is an area of southwest France, but now live in New York City. I love my job, rock and roll, and New York City.
TV: When was the first time you got in touch with creativity? How has this defined you?
JM: Growing up in France during the 70’s really sparked my creativity. There was a movement in culture and fashion that was emerging, a new creative spirit that had never been seen before. As a young man at the time I was apart of this movement and it really helped shape my career and brought me into the design word.
TV: How did you entered the fashion business?
JM: I began my career in 1980 as a buyer and store manager for legendary French shoe designer Charles Jourdan. In 1985 I made the big move to New York to work as the President of Stephane Kélian, overseeing operations and developing product for the American market. In 1995 I returned back to Charles Jourdan and served as creative director until I started by own brand in 2000.
TV: And then you thought “I want to see beautiful people wear my own design!”?
JM: After working along side Charles Jourdan and Stephane Kélian, it was a natural evolution to start my own brand. Both experiences gave me insight into the industry and seeing beautiful women wearing my shoes was always my number one priority!
TV: Can you share about your creative workflow, inspirations?
JM: I’m a visual person and are inspired by beautiful things, I love mixing bold colors and exotic prints, a true signature of my brand.
TV: How does Cazabat differentiate itself from other luxury shoe-focused brands? How can people recognize your shoes?
JV: My brand is very distinct in style but I think the most noticeable difference from other brands is the comfort in my shoes. I work closely with my atelier in Italy to not only craft and design shoes that women want to wear, but more importantly shoes they can wear all day. I love the color red, glitter, and mixing prints.
TV: Can you tell us about your clients, who wears your shoes? How did they get introduced to you?
JM: My client loves a comfortable sexy pair of shoes, she loves color, patterns, and textures. A lot of my clients say that they were introduced to my brands by their friends, there is no better PR than having a women wearing you wear shoes and telling her friends. I also have some celebrity admirers who regularly wear my pieces and of course that has started some buzz for me.
TV: Then you started a men’s line? Is that because you felt that you personally like to wear shoes that has your vision of design as well?
JM: My men’s line started out as making shoes for some of my friends and top clients, it really started organically.
TV: Do you think that men’s fashion is limited compared to women’s?
JM: Men’s options use to be limited but today you have men mixing suits with sneakers, boots with shorts, loafers, espadrilles, Chelsea boots, etc, etc, there are no rules anymore with men’s fashion. We have just as many styles and options to chose from as women.
TV: What can we expect in 2015 from you? Clothing maybe?
JM: No clothing for me, I’m strictly a shoe designer! For Spring Summer 2015 you can expect color block pumps, suede open toe sandals, sexy shoes for every occasion. For Fall Winter 2015 I have dessert colored thigh high boots, boots in exotic skins, and of course a nod to the 70s with a special collaboration with designer Sophie Theallet who’s shoes I created for her FW15 runway show.
TV: Thanks Jean-Michel!
Interview minimally edited to keep authenticity.
Jean Michel Cazabat for Sophie Theallet. Images are copyright to their respective owners.
Images are copyright to their respective owners.