How did you get interested in shoe design?
I belong to a family of fashion designers and artists, and I wanted to do something a little different but still related to fashion. For college I knew right away that I wanted pursue footwear design. I went to FIT and majored in Accessories (Shoes/Handbags). Plus, being Filipino-American, the Imelda-ness flowing thru my veins has got a lot to do with it!
Is shoe design more difficult to master than apparel design?
Being a thorough-bred shoe designer, I wish I had known more about apparel design to provide a better perspective. Shoe design involves aspects of industrial design and engineering, that makes the entire process multi-dimensional, challenging and fascinating! Also, sensitivity to footwear ergonomics and proper fit is extremely essential—what use is fantastic design when you can't walk in them? Everyday, I'm faced with challenges that can lead to groundbreaking results. I love that!
Did you have a background in fashion before this?
No—just a life-long keen interest, maniacal obsession and a perpetual love affair with fashion.
What big shoe trends do you see for Spring?
Spring is very rich this year! Lots of streamlined silhouettes in exotic snakes/lizards mixed with edgy hardware embellishments. Military detailing with olive and khaki serving as the main neutral colors. And luxe bohemian sandals with knotted uppers in organic-looking materials.
What are some of your favorite Dolce Vita shoes?
My favorites are the ones with a ton of attitude—the Adra, the Rozene, the Baltic—I'm all about the organic texture and hardware collision!
What are some of your interests outside of work?
Even though my focus is in shoe design, I like to think of myself as a multi-tasking creative free spirit. Growing up in New York City has thrown me in the eye of the cultural storm, with several access to all sorts of artistic endeavors. I'm a musician (I sing, write and play the guitar/keyboard, and am currently working on a record right now) and also a photographer/fashion blogger—Saint and Libertine.
It's crucial for me garner enough strength to be multi-faceted, as each of my pursuits reinforces my design perspective and aesthetic.
Who do you look up to in the fashion world?
I am totally feeling the late '80s/early '90s right now, so I like to channel in powerful and ferocious icons like Grace Jones. My dream closet would consist of hand-selected items from designers like Gareth Pugh, Balmain, Preen, Rag&Bone, Marsell, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Erickson Beamon.
When you're designing for Dolce Vita, who do you think of wearing your shoes?
The girl who sits inside my head is a hip, young, creative, strong and self-assured individual who not only celebrates fashion, but truly understands it and knows how to use it to express her unique self, no matter what her aesthetic is. She's all about developing her own style, knows how to mix vintage with contemporary while maintaining both delicate subtlety and a fierce edge. I like to think that Dolce Vita shoes reinforce and celebrate this regal confidence found in every girl and in every step of the way!