A&E Interviews British Designer Aruna Seth

Lara Mansour   |   08 - 05 - 2018

ARUNA SETH DESIGNS FEMININE SHOES THAT STRIKE A BALANCE BETWEEN TRANSFORMATION AND TIMELESSNESS, CREATING COLLECTIONS THAT ARE RELEVANT TO THE SEASON BUT REMAIN CLASSICS OVER THE YEARS.

 

Based on elegance and style, Aruna Seth is renowned for its stylish, elegant shoes and handbags, handcrafted solely in Venice, Italy. Founded by the British designer Aruna Seth in 2009, an ultra-feminine design aesthetic, skilled craftsmanship, luxurious leathers, and stones embrace the brand’s identity of sophistication and femininity, creating the iconic ‘Farfalla’, meaning ‘butterfly’ in Italian.

Hailing from a family firmly established in the shoe world, Aruna lived every little girl’s dream as she grew up surrounded by shoes, although while her father made practical, affordable, sports shoes, she wanted to make shoes fit for a princess. In her design approach, Aruna views fine detail as more than a matter of embellishment. The Swarovski crystals, intricate trims and exquisite materials that make her shoes instantly recognisable are ultimately the elements that give Aruna Seth shoes their beauty. However, it isn’t all about how they look as one of the key features is how the shoes feel, and thanks to a plush leather cushioned padding, the luxury of comfort is maintained irrespective of the heel size.

The shoes Aruna makes reflect sheer luxury and love for design. Here, she reveals her source of inspiration, why her shoes are as comfortable as they’re stylish, and how her works of art will complete your outfit on your wedding day.

Who is the Aruna Seth woman?

The Aruna Seth woman is recognised for her timeless elegance and femininity while always eager to be on trend, edgy, and youthful.

Can you share your brand DNA?

With the new rebirth of the butterfly Farfalla, the labyrinth butterfly, the brand’s DNA is now taking a more playful, youthful, and edgier turn. With the new shift in image, the brand is now tapping into the millennial market while staying devoted to loyal customers.

How did you first become interested in fashion, and in particular, designing shoes?

I was literally born around shoes! My father owns a shoe company, so I grew up around shoes and knowing everything related to shoes. This has definitely paved my way to enter the shoe industry, of course, let alone my strong admiration and addiction to shoes.

What was the catalyst behind creating your own label, especially in an already saturated market?

I was always buying luxury shoes that were not comfortable and that lacked this ‘wow’ factor, and this was when the idea of starting my own shoe brand hit me. I wanted a comfortable yet stylish shoe, something which was not necessarily abundant in the market. For this reason, my sock is made of soft nappa leather with a cashmere like comfort.

Can you tell us a little about what sets Aruna Seth shoes apart from other brands?

The cashmere like comfort factor for sure!

Is there another shoe designer whose designs or career path you admire?

Yes! The edginess of Giuseppe Zanotti and the craftsmanship of Sergio Rossi.

What are your favourite styles of shoes for women and why?

Of course, for each season it is a different style. For summer, the Aruna Seth sliders in either blush lace or even nude leather are a great style to put on, they’re easy and effortlessly glamorous. As for the winter, nothing beats a well-crafted, nicely fur lined bootie.

Which pair of your shoes should every woman have in her wardrobe?

A pointy toe stiletto for the formal occasions and a pair of sliders for the casual summer days. I am currently leaning towards a very comfortable pair of sneakers as well, hence the reason we have launched our bridal sneaker.

What do you think about a woman’s relationship with her shoes?

It is a very important and close relationship. Every woman considers her shoes as one of the most, if not the most, important accessory in her closet. I personally see the relationship as a form of her own identity and it highlights how much she cares about fashion.   

Can you share with us your style advice for wearing your shoes?

They’re versatile in terms of how you can style them. You can dress them up with an evening gown or down with a pair of jeans and white tee. Nothing is better than being able to wear a pair of shoes to multiple occasions and functions.

You have also glamorised the flat shoe, what are your thoughts on the growing popularity of flats?

I am happy that I was one of the very first brands to offer the glamourous flats, as being a pioneer in this area helped my brand flourish nicely. As for my thoughts, fashion is changing, and people are looking for the effortlessly glam look, so I see the Aruna Seth flat style as a perfect fit for today’s demands.

Do you prefer designing heels or flats, and which do you find hardest?

I prefer designing heels as you have more material to work with, it is also about the cut of the shoe. Designing heels is a lot more complicated than designing flats, which makes it more challenging and always fun.

Can you share with us how an Aruna Seth shoe comes to life, from concept to point of sale?

It starts with the inspiration of the collection, creating a detailed mood board, I usually like to cut and paste on to a foam board and hang it in my office to have the reference available at all times. The design process takes place from there and the production of prototypes follows right after, up until you achieve the perfect style, colour and fit, which is the final sample that you actually present to buyers and stores during market weeks in NYC and Paris.

Where do you look for your design inspiration?

My travels, the Indian heritage, and the Saris.

Do you have a particular muse in mind when you design?

It is a combination of Kate Middleton’s all-time grace with Jennifer Lopez’s edginess.

How about your signature butterfly, what is the meaning behind it?

Freedom, grace, elegance, and aesthetic.

How do you go about designing to ensure you combine both style and comfort?

This is the sole reason we design prototypes, it is all about reaching the perfect cut and comfort before moving into production.

Can you tell us more about the special padding that you use, and why you chose to incorporate it in all of you designs?

It made out of Nappa leather combined with a gold and nude trim around the padding which is strategically placed inside the sock to give the foot the extra comfort. Our production house is in Venice, Italy to ensure the highest quality and comfort for the client.

Why did you choose to have production in Italy?

To ensure we have the best quality shoes, comfort, and overall luxury for our clients

Tell us about the bespoke service that you offer?

We work on a made to order service, especially for our brides. It takes 10-12 weeks to make the shoes and the bride can choose from ivory satin and ivory lace or even a colour to match her dream dress. Clients can also work on bespoke shoes, where they can choose their butterfly colour and the fabric to match the butterfly. Should the client wish to personalise even more, we can engrave the initials. Moreover, all the shoes have a hidden butterfly in the sole and for the brides, we have a small blue pearl to go with something blue!

Why did you decide to concentrate on bridal shoes?

Bridal shoes are not the sole focus of the brand, nonetheless we are recognised for our bridal shoes due to the various options we offer the brides in terms of designing their one-off shoe for the most special day of their life. What pushed me to get into bridal is when I designed Pippa Middleton’s shoes for the royal wedding.

Tell us about your latest bridal collection?

We design a bridal collection once a year with heel heights from 50mm to 130mm. Our latest bridal collection includes a blue pearl at the sole of the shoe next to the small butterfly farfalle, and the fabrics range from ivory satin to blush lace and white satin.

Do you have a favourite pair?

The new addition to the brand, the Aruna Seth Farfalla sneakers. They are a white pair of comfortable sneakers embellished with the signature Farfalla.

Can you share your shoe advice for brides-to-be?

You should always take into consideration the venue of the wedding, the height of your groom, and what type of heel you are most comfortable wearing. If it is an indoor wedding, you can go for pointy heels and if it is an outdoor wedding, then it is definitely an open toe.

Can you tell us about your personal style?

My style is constantly evolving! I am currently going through a ‘rebirth’ which aligns with the rebirth of the Farfalla. The labyrinth butterfly that is seen in the Fall 2018 collection is edgier, playful with clean cut edges and to a certain extent more casual to suit the more casual style I am currently sporting.

How many shoes do you have in your personal collection?

So many! Around 400 now!

What has been the most significant breakthrough moment in your career and your greatest achievement?

Pippa Middleton wearing my brand was definitely one of the greatest achievements, followed by Kate Hudson.

When celebrities wear your designs, it certainly results in a lot of awareness of the brand, but how does it reflect in your sales?

Red carpet placements definitely help sales and create a larger demand for that specific pair. The reason we support celebrity placement is due to the trickle-down effect it has on the brand, as once a client buys a pair of Aruna Seth the chances are that she will go for a second, third and fourth pair.

Who would you most like to see wearing your creations?

Jennifer Lopez.

How should a pair of shoes make a woman feel?

Strong and like they’re on top of the world, together with being confident and fashionable.

What are your future plans for Aruna Seth?

Opening a standalone store in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and our first flagship store in London.

By Eliza Scarborough

 

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