Shoe's a Shoe In

Wayne State grad Nicole LaFave, a metro Detroit native and rising star in shoe design, is enjoying rave reviews of her recently unveiled luxury Omelle footwear line


Published:

It’s not often that a native Detroiter and fledgling designer takes on the names of fashion royalty like Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, and Marni. But Nicole LaFave — a Macomb native and Wayne State grad — is reaching for the top with her suddenly hot shoe designs.

LaFave and business partner Cherise Angelle recently launched their highly anticipated luxury Omelle shoe line and found themselves basking in immediate praise from Vogue, Footwear News, WWD, and The L.A. Times. The line, which ranges in price from $495 to $1,595, can be found at select U.S. boutiques and at omelle.com. National luxury retailers also are expressing interest.

Hour Detroit caught up with LaFave at her L.A. studio to talk (via phone and e-mail) about her recent footwear debut.


When did you first get interested in shoes?

I used to “accidentally” collect shoes. When I lived in Michigan I used to shop the thrift stores for shoes that no one had.

Why design shoes, as opposed to, say, dresses? Isn’t it much harder to deal with leather than fabric?

Shoes are a little more complicated because of working in Italy. We have to begin much earlier and wait much longer for samples and production.

How did you come up with the label name?

We sat down with the two of our names, scrambled the letters, [and] circled the names we liked. The company is all about a balance between the two of us.

How long has your company been in the works?

We came up with the idea in May of 2007, graduated in June [from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, in Los Angeles], and started writing a business plan. Then we started meeting with investors and raised funds. We designed the first collection at the end of 2007 and hopped on a plane to Italy in February 2008 to start interviewing factories.

Some people say black shoes are for business. Do you agree?

I think that black is a basic and that’s probably where that saying comes from. We have black to offer a foundation or something versatile for people who want a single shoe to work in many ways. We, however, do not think black is the only way to do this. We base our color palettes on “interesting neutrals” [that] go with everything. For spring/summer 2009, black wasn’t as important as a nude shoe.

Is there a celebrity you can imagine wearing your shoes?

Katie Holmes, Anne Hathaway, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss, and Kate Hudson — feminine, sophisticated people with a playful side.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Letters From Readers

Praise us or pan us, but just put it down in words. Bravos or boos, we want to hear from you.

Contributors: November 2014

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Fall Spectacular

On Nov. 6 at the The Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, two St. Joseph Mercy Oakland leaders, Jack Weiner, president and CEO, and Barb Hertzler, executive vice president and COO, were recognized as this year’s Mercy Legacy Award recipients. Jim Leyland, the former manager of the Detroit Tigers, was the celebrity speaker.

12th Annual Night of a Thousand Stars

On Nov. 8 at St. John's Banquet & Conference Center in Southfield, guests were treated to a family-style dinner and desserts with music by the Cosmic Groove band. All proceeds from the event benefitted the Michigan Parkinson Foundation.

Hour Detroit's Top Docs 2014 Event Recap

Hour Detroit celebrated the physicians named on the 2014 Top Docs list at the Top Docs Party presented by Cadillac at the Gem Theatre on October 23
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Lagers for Lunches
    The Livonia Junior Chamber is hosting the first ever Lagers for Lunches to raise money for school...
  2. Fort Street Brewery’s 6th Annual Brew-Ha!-Ha!
    Normally held in August, Fort Street Brewery has moved the event to November
  3. Hour Detroit's Top Docs 2014 Event Recap
    Hour Detroit celebrated the physicians named on the 2014 Top Docs list at the Top Docs Party...
  4. Earn Your Beard
    Join Dark Horse Brewing Co. at The Bird & The Bread to support men’s health.