Conversations: Capucine Safyurtlu Wants You To Wear Any Shoe You Want
Whenever, wherever. The attitude you pair it with is more important, says the creative director of rising cult shoe label Stella Luna.| October 2, 2017
It’s interesting where life – and life in this mad industry we work in – takes you sometimes. You’re picking out products to be featured in a magazine one day, and then fast forward a couple of years, you find yourself on the other end of the table, creating the products to be featured. Such is the repertoire of Capucine Safyurtlu. Formerly of Numero and French Vogue, Safyurtlu made the switch for editorial to design just several years ago when she took on the role of creative director at Stella Luna, the rising footwear label with a growing cult following worldwide. Gigi Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford, Halsey, Emma Stone and Zoe Saldana have all worn their shoes, just to name a few, some repeatedly.
Safyurtlu’s got that quintessential French je ne sais quoi – we saw her a couple of days ago at Stella Luna’s new studio on rue Mont Thabor in Paris and she looked so chic in a tailored blazer, white tiered dress and red booties – so it is no surprise that the shoes she creates have that French sensibility as well. We’ve seen every one of her collections in the flesh since she joined forces with Stephen Chi, founder and CEO of Stella Luna, several seasons ago and they all toe the line between statement and classic with plenty of versatility to spare.
That said, she doesn’t like a shoe to be defined to a certain category or time of the day or year, even – the attitude behind it and how you wear them are more important. To kick off our Paris Fashion Week coverage, we pulled the super sweet and down-to-earth Safyurtlu out of the fashion week chaos to talk about shoes, shoes, shoes and more shoes.
How’s a day like for you?
My days start really early (sometimes way too early!) There’s always lot of rushing around, as we try to get the kids up and ready for school. Later, I can relax and have a great coffee as I start my day. Luckily, my office is just around the corner from my morning cafe. The rest of the day’s schedule depends on the what month it is. If I need to be working on the collection, I’m with my design team refining the next season’s offerings. If we’re between collections, I’m working with the rest of the Stella Luna team, preparing visuals, campaigns, shootings and articles.
Obviously, a lot of the year is spent travelling, either to Italy to work with Stella’s design and sourcing teams or off to Asia to work with the production team. I like meeting friends or associates for late-afternoon drinks, but I always make it home in time to have at least a few hours with my kids before dinner. We go through all the homework and catch up. There are never business dinners. Instead, I prefer to have friends over or just have a quiet dinner at home with my husband.
How’s the creative process at Stella Luna? Which part of it do you enjoy the most?
You know what? Maybe it’s because I am so lucky – I have so much freedom, very little pressure, work with colleagues I respect and rely on such a talented and professional team – but I have to say that there’s not a single moment of the process that I enjoy less than any other part. I really love the whole creative process – start to finish! There’s one constant, throughout: I’m a woman designing for other women, so at every step of the process, I dream about beauty and aspirations, but I always keep in mind our everyday needs and practicalities.
We begin with research, which is never-ending, then it’s time to sketch, develop heels, think about leather, fabrics, prints and fixtures with our amazing Italian design time as we travel back and forth between Stella Luna’s sourcing offices offices outside of Padua and our offices in Paris. From there, we move quickly into the prototype process. This is always an exciting moment, to see our sketches transform into a real, three-dimensional object. It’s beyond amazing to have what was once just an idea turn into something you can actually pick up and try on.
The Cigarette Collection
What are your inspirations for the Fall/Winter ’17 collection?
Each of our collections, season after season, carries the same recognisable Stella Luna spirit and shares the same brand DNA. A lot of that is due to our quickly identifiable silhouettes and, of course, the popular fixtures, especially our golden buckles and our variations on the bow. This season, we played with a lot of novel ways of presenting those signatures, creating a range of new sizes for our buckle designs, introducing new styles of bows, playing with the idea of multiples, for instance.
I always want to push the boundaries a little bit and in this collection you can definitely spot a more edgy spirit, with lots of patent leather, fantastic cuissards and a line of multiple-strap designs that really push the envelope. As a truly global brand, relying on talent and input from our teams in China, Italy and France, it’s inevitable that we take inspiration from all parts of the world. You can see that in the rich colors and sensual spirit inspired by Wong Kar Wai’s In The Mood For Love. New bandana prints reflect America’s celebrated laid-back style. And, as always, my fascination with the savoir-faire and traditions of Parisian couture can be spotted in my plays on the plissé, as well as references to the timeless style of “Le Smoking.”
Which would you say is the perfect “day-to-night” shoe from the collection and how would you style it?
I never really like the idea of saying something is right for night or for day. What is always right, no matter what the time of day or the month of the year, is an attitude! Anyway, if I were to pick my favorites from among the many in this collection that I definitely would wear into the evening I’d pick two. First, the Double-Ring 11 Boot. The look of this boot is powerful and edgy – but still very feminine. The repetition of straps encircle and caress the leg – a sort of tantalising envelope of a woman’s legs, which I think ends up adding a touch of edgy sensuality. Second, the Zipper OTK Boot, another cuissard model for fall, but it’s got a different vibe than the Double-Ring. It’s a modern, pared-back, minimal spirit and I love the glove-soft leather that we’ve sourced – it’s so comfortable!
The Stella XXL Collection
How about a “Sunday brunch” shoe?
It got chilly early this year in Paris and I’ve been loving wearing my furry Winter Sliders. These shoes will be my go-to favorites for weekends – they are so comfortable and cocooning. And, again, as with everything from Stella Luna, there’s not a time to wear or not wear a style. I just said these are a good weekend brunch shoe, but it’s Thursday morning and I’m wearing them at work!
Describe the woman who wears Stella Luna
She’s free, joyful, modern and knows what she wants.
What are your hopes for the brand?
Nothing makes me happier than walking down the street and seeing someone approaching me wearing my designs. The feeling never gets old. My hope is to have that happen a lot – and to continue feeling just as good, every time it happens!
What are the essential shoes that every woman should have?
I don’t think there is anything that fits into a “must have” category, we all need to select what’s right for us, for our lives and for our tastes, there’s no need to listen to what someone else tells us to do. I do design a range of shoes called “Les Indispensables” but we chose that name to underline that the collection is filled with classic choices, allowing us to be sure to offer to you each and every season the classics that you will select to construct your own version of what is the perfect closet of options.
The Eventail Collection
A motto you live by?
Are you champagne or coffee?
Both! How could I not want both in my life? I need all good choices to be part of my life!
What To Read Next: The White Shoe Is The New Wardrobe Classic That Doesn’t Make Sense, Flat Shoes That’ll Make Your Favourite Heels Jealous and Truth: Statement Earrings Are Instant Outfit Fixers | This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Main Image: KCD Worldwide, Shoe Images: Stella Luna