Lorenzo Martone was quite the host at last night’s launch of the Melissa Shoes store in Soho, where Marc Jacobs made a cameo, and Dita von Teese and a small slew of Brazilian models elevated plastic shoes to previously unknown levels of sexiness – at least in North America.
“Every child in Brazil knows the jelly shoes,” Martone said, noting that he grew up with the brand there, and has been consulting with them for three years here. The new Soho “gallery” — currently filled with installations by Eli Sudbrack of Assume Vivid Astro Focus — is Melissa’s first store abroad, and Martone has some advice for Americans. “They shouldn’t be afraid of plastic!” he said. “It’s a great material for sustainable, good-smelling, well-designed high-tech shoes.” Good-smelling? Martone’s brown eyes widened when we requested clarification. “They smell amazing,” he said. “Like bubble gum! Try, try, try. It really brings you to your childhood.”
Indeed, a pair of Jason Wu–designed peep-toe flats smelled sort of like fruity baby-powder. “The galeria Melissa here in New York is going to be all about the five senses,” said Martone. “You’re going to explore things — not just visual like today — but things people can touch and smell.”