Samuele Failli’s résumé reads like a Madison Avenue shopping map. For over 10 years, Failli has designed footwear for the world’s most illustrious fashion houses, including Prada, Miu Miu, Tom Ford, and Saint Laurent. Something inside him, however, always knew he had his own story to tell: one centered on timelessness as opposed to an It heel or a trend-driven clog. After speaking with his most recent boss, Azzedine Alaïa, he decided to go out on his own with an eponymous footwear collection—because when Mr. Alaïa tells you to do something, you should probably do it.
“I’ve worked for so many different brands, but my job was always to create shoes for a certain look in a fashion show. So they were seasonal,” Failli tells us. “In my own line, the idea was to do something that is beautiful but that doesn’t need a look from a show to go with it. My shoes don’t need to be paired with clothing for them to be interesting or understood. They can be beautiful on their own.”
The result is a classic footwear assortment spanning a full breadth of silhouettes. There is a silver-studded slipper available in an array of lush jewel tones, along with a teal lace-up bootie, a black wedge, and a laser-cut stiletto. Failli confides that he draws inspiration from a mix of time periods and designers, but he remains fastidious about enduring style—which is evident through his subtle choice of materials like velvet, suede, metallic embellishments, and calf and vachetta leather. “The shoes are simple, beautiful, and sexy, but never vulgar,” Failli says. “I want to make shoes that are beautiful now and beautiful 10 years from now.”
In the future, Failli could see himself expanding into handbags and jewelry, but for now, he’s focused on creating shoes perfectly appropriate for any given moment—with just the right amount of flair. Failli has inlaid each sole with a three-dimensional jewel, a bit of hidden sparkle that serves as his insignia. Perhaps taking a cue from his old stomping grounds, he realized that a little brand identity goes a long way in the footwear market. “I hope in a few years, the public will recognize that little piece and say, ‘That’s a Samuele Failli shoe,’ “he says. “And that’s different from everything else.”