HEAD OVER HEELS – ARUNA SETH
Your father was in the shoe business, was it natural for you to take the same route?
Yes, I grew up around shoes and worked every summer since I was younger in my father’s company. This really showed me the value of hard work and motivated me to dream of owning my own shoe brand one day.
What were the inspiration and motivation behind beginning with Aruna Seth shoes?
My father is my biggest inspiration and he showed me that having a shoe brand is not just about being creative but equally about sales and the business side too.
How did this cool hashtag #Arunaverse come into being?
I think we thought about Aruna Seth world and wanted something cooler and it just has a perfect sound to it.
Let’s talk a bit about the woman who wears your shoes, Who is she?
The Aruna Seth woman is independent, feminine and loves beautiful craftsmanship.
When you start out as a designer, there is that one flagship or star product you create, the first one that stays with you forever and kind of becomes one of your greatest encouragements. Did you have a piece like that? Back in time? Can you tell us about it?
Yes, this is my iconic butterfly shoe which is my best seller in every worldwide store from Harrods to Level Shoe District in Dubai Mall.
Was there any philosophical significance or some ideology behind Farfalla?
Yes, the butterfly signifies freedom and femininity and that really is what the Aruna Seth client epitomizes.
As a shoe designer, it’s interesting that you have a separate vertical for the bride. What prompted you to do that? And can you elaborate on those collections.
I was asked to design shoes for Kate (the Duchess of Cambridge) for the Royal Wedding and also her sister Pippa. Being a luxury British brand, we were thrilled at the opportunity. On the day Pippa wore my shoes we started getting calls so we quickly made sure to address this side of the business and today we have many bridal clients and custom bridal clients also.
As a girl you were around shoes, and now it’s your career. Did you dream of or think of ‘Cinderella’ as a child or even now when you make such ‘princess’ like shoes?
I am always dreaming and when I was younger I was always drawing another princess-like shoe.
To talk about some technique in your shoe-making, you mention “creating glamorous shoes designed to elongate the legs whilst maintaining the luxury of comfort, irrespective of the heel size.” How do you get to that end result?
Comfort + Glamour + Heels.
Harrods’ London, I am sure you have lots to say about that!
Yes inside all of my shoes we have special padding that we call ‘cashmere-like comfort’ the sock is made from the softest Nappa Leather to ensure glamorous comfort throughout the day/evening. This is why we have such a loyal clientele. You can be glamorous and comfortable at the same time which few shoe brands offer.
The finishing on your shoe is immaculate, Such detail. Do you attribute that to ‘handcrafted in Italy’? Do you see Aruna Seth borrowing indigenous or ethnic talent from other parts of the world anytime in future?
Italy still makes the best shoes in the world and craftsmanship is very important. We make in the best factories where they also make Dior and Manolo Blahnik. Yes, I love the Middle East and have just collaborated with my favorite Lebanese couture designer Rani Zakhem to create a stunning capsule collection available at Level Shoe District in Dubai and 51 East in Doha.
Besides your dad, who has been the artistic mentor/idol behind who you are today. And which of your contemporaries you keep an eye on?
Who is Aruna Seth? How would you describe yourself, your persona?
Exactly like my shoes – feminine, princess-like and attention to detail.
Rani Couture, one of your latest arrivals, do you want to talk about this range?
The print we have utilized on our shoes is an exclusive in-house print designed by Rani Zakhem himself to emphasize his interest in color blocking in which combines the two elements of fun, young and free yet all within the sphere of luxury – ultimately what the Aruna Seth brand is about. Many celebrities have worn this particular collection that the print comes from such as Zendaya in which adds an overall glamorous Hollywood angle to the collaboration.
Aperto, Liana, Pointy Farfalla, and some interesting names you have there! How do you come up with them, is there a theme in your mind that you arrive at from some memory, places you visit? Is it people? Fantasy?
All Italian! And it’s all about what inspires me in the collection at that time.
This year, the biggest news in the shoe world was Rihanna’s ‘Creepers’ and she was titled Queen of Shoes. Do you foresee or aim for some huge ‘rocking-the-world’ campaign in the coming years, where does Aruna Seth go from here?
Yes would love to collaborate with big celebrity such as Jennifer Lopez, but perhaps a collaboration with a member of the British Royal Family or high society would be more appropriate as my shoes are very elegant.
Image from ArunaSeth.com