With her French accent and warm laugh, Capucine Safyurtlu exudes an effortless charm—a quality she brings to Stella Luna. Despite having no traditional background as a shoe designer, the brand’s founder and CEO Stephen Chi tapped her to be creative director after she collaborated with the brand in 2016. Below, she tells us why the appointment is the perfect fit.
You don’t have a traditional background as a shoe designer, so how did it happen? I’m not traditional with anything! My career started in PR when I was really young, and then I became fashion editor for Numero, where I was in charge of the accessories department. After more than 10 years, I went to French Vogue to work closely with Emmanuelle Alt on the fashion team. It was there that I started focusing more on business, which really interested me. Eventually, I hit a point in magazines where, after all those years, I felt something was dramatically missing: creativity. I wanted to be able to take the things and images I saw for years and create something real and something of my own.
Did you already know Stella Luna founder Stephen Chi at this time?
I met Stephen a few years ago, and we had a nice relationship always talking about the industry and our visions. There was something complementary—almost familiar. As I decided to leave the editorial and magazine world, he asked me to collaborate on a season as a consultant. He wanted my editorial eye on the collection. I ended up doing a little capsule. We both thought it went well, and then he asked me to become creative director of the brand, which was so exciting and new for me!
How do you draw on your background as a fashion editor in your current role?
I saw so many accessories over the last 20 years! I have such a knowledge of the market. Being able to mix my creativity into a business strategy has been a wonderful challenge for me.
Tell us about your point of view and style philosophy in general and how you translate it to Stella Luna.
My style has always been very spontaneous. I don’t overthink it because it’s intuitive to me. I think there’s definitely a French touch to it. To me, the most exciting thing at Stella Luna is my freedom to explore and do what I want. Stephen wanted to open a new chapter for the brand, and it’s allowed me to establish a new DNA. What was missing when I started was a strong backbone of what the brand was. That was my first mission—to reestablish the codes of Stella Luna. Who is this woman? How does she look? What does she want?
So, who is she?
She’s a woman of today. There are less women designing shoes than men, and I think I bring that feminine touch and understanding of what the women of today want. I really think about what I want and can’t find in the market. For once, I am thinking about myself and my own needs as I create the collections.
What is your creative process like?
I’m very spontaneous, even in my business life. I take something I have in mind—a color, a heel shape, the way someone walks—and translate these ideas and feelings. There’s no real starting point, it’s just a constant flow of thought and action. Maybe I see a piece of art at a museum and the colors or a shape sticks with me. It’s a constant work in progress. With my stylist background, I’m already used to sourcing inspiration with images and mood boards, so that’s always ongoing.
Tell us about the collection currently on Barneys.com—what are your favorite styles?
They’re all my favorites! These styles really represent the spirit of the collection. They’re so fun. I really wanted to be bright and playful and take these new codes of the brand and move them forward. The buckles were the first code for Stella Luna, and I love how they come through in this collection. Also, the bows and pearls feel fun and sophisticated at the same time. They remind me of my childhood in Paris in the late ‘80s when I saw my mom dressing up. They also nod to disco and nightlife. Also, I really love twisting expectations, like wearing flats at night is so sexy or high heels during the day with jeans. For me, everything starts with the shoes—it establishes the mood of your outfit!