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

Name-Dropping

From Aretha and George Clinton to The Roots, the stars are coming out to help Chene Park celebrate its 30th season on the riverfront

Run for the Ribbon Gala

Ford Fireworks 2015

On June 22, hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the Detroit riverfront for the annual Ford Fireworks presented by Ford Motor Company.

Catch the Fireworks with Cass

On June 22, Cass Community Social Services hosted a fireworks viewing party from atop the Renaissance Center. Guests enjoyed a strolling gourmet dinner, open bar, and silent and live auctions with proceeds benefiting CCSS.

Color Me Extraordinary 5k Fun Run

On June 20, Easter Seals Michigan hosted a family friendly 5k run through Downtown Auburn Hills to help kick-off the annual Auburn Hills Summerfest and raise money for the organization to help individuals with disabilities, and their families, live, learn, work, and play in their communities.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Hour Detroit's Best of Detroit Party 2015 Video Invitation
    Hour Detroit is bringing the Best of Detroit issue to life at the tenth-annual Best of Detroit...
  2. Brewery Profile - Greenbush Brewing Co.
    Sawyer, Michigan’s Greenbush Brews Full-bodied Beer
  3. Royal Oak's New Brew
    ROAK Brewing Co.’s taproom opens to the public today
  4. A Long Day's Coney Into Night
    What’s a typical Friday like at Detroit’s iconic Lafayette Coney Island? A tag team crew of...
  5. Where and What We Eat
  6. Promise and Protocol
    Gordie Howe’s stroke treatments and A. Alfred Taubman’s legacy to U-M are putting stem cell...
  7. Top Dentists 2015
  8. The 313: Dialing In To Metro Detroit
  9. What We Do For Fun
  10. Shelf Awareness
    Craft brewers push their way into premium space once reserved for the big boys