J.Crew Creates Artisanal Italian Shoes For Spring Line [Video]

J.Crew Creates Artisanal Italian Shoes For Spring Line [Video]

As part of their new ETTA handmade collection, J.Crew Creative Guru Jenna Lyons taps local workshop in Pisa, Italy and shows how craft is an essential part of the brand.

Laura Feinstein
  • 14 march 2013

As part of their Spring ’13 ETTA Collection, popular retailer J.Crew goes bespoke with an artisanal collection hand made in a famed small-batch workshop in Pisa, Italy. Designed in the JCrew lab in New York then sent to Italy, the collection features incredible detail and luxe fabrics, which rival other high-end foreign imports like Manolo Blahnik and even Gucci for sheer shoe beauty. Filling us in and acting as digital tour guide?  None other than Executive Creative Director Jenna Lyons, who lets viewers travel through her process and why she loves the medium of the shoe.

Jenna on her muse: “Inspiration comes from everywhere. It can be an old movie you saw, it can be something you feel like you’re missing in your closet. It’s a little bit like a river, picking up things along the way.”

Check out the video below to learn more about the making of the shoes and the concepts behind them:

J. Crew | Shoe Story | Florence

J. Crew | Shoe Story | Florence

In the small Pisa workshop (above), old world techniques still rule supreme over huge assembly lines and machines, as expert shoe makers hand cut patterns using their expert skill.

J. Crew | Shoe Story | Florence

J. Crew | Shoe Story | Florence

J. Crew | Shoe Story | Florence

Above: All the fabric used in the new collection was also milled in Italy, making the ETTA a true “heritage shoe” despite being designed and conceptualized in NYC.

J. Crew | Jenna Lyons | Shoe Collection

“When the shoe comes back to us, it’s a beautiful shiny pony. And the shiny pony for this season was the Etta,” says Lyons.

Famed for her love of shoes as well as her famous style, JCrew Creative Director Jenna Lyons has over 289 pairs of shoes, and often refers to them as her “shiny ponies,” for reasons you can see above.

J. Crew | Jenna Lyons | Shoe Collection

If the Italy/ J.Crew connection intrigues you even further, be sure to check out the video below of one of the historic mills that produces fabric for their Ludlow suit. In the short, the team travels to Italy’s Vitale Barberis Canonico mill to learn how the intersection of family, tradition, and passion creates a suiting fabric tailor-made for their Ludlow suit. Highlighting the skill and quality that goes into the making of the suit, Francesco Barberis Canonico, famed owner of the mill, narrates.


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