Marskinryyppy’s now iconic “transparent” PVC sandal “The Pauwau,” picked up by Barney’s from the first collection, spawned the idea of personalization that is now integral to the brand’s identity in the competitive luxury shoe market. Marskinryyppy is the third and most successful brand from Nicole Brundage, who previously designed at Armani and Zac Posen.
“Marskinryyppy’s style is a see-saw between art-school experimentalism and playful boudoir eccentricities, a mix of street-smart sensibility and retro-renegade fetish,” says the Texas-born designer. Regarding the transparent “Pauwau,” she credits its success to the allure of the glass slipper from Cinderella, the fairytale that launched a million dreams of dancing all night in magical crystal shoes, lifting the wearer above the quotidian.
Brundage started making her shoes in her New York flat, molding the heel counter to the shoe with her hairdryer. The luggage repair shop nearby sewed the uppers and a cobbler attached the soles and heels. After identifying a family-owned factory in Italy for production, she launched her namesake brand a year later for AW2006. A second line, Acrobats of God followed for SS2010. Investors helped her realize Marskinryyppy for AW2015, merging the two existing brands under one umbrella.
“Synthetics have become a forte of mine, as I’ve dabbled quite a bit with elastics and PVC. However, lately I’ve been dipping my toes in the world of embroidery, and am discovering a universe of possibilities for shoe design. Colors (and materials) are powerful, and can make or break a shoe. Besides being swayed by trends, neutrals like nude, black, off-white are a given. And then there is RED – in all its nuances that always provokes a sense of magical or erotic femininity and never fails as a shoe color”
Now available at Barney’s and Harvey Nichols and worn by Beyoncé and Olivia Palermo, Brundage is enjoying the fruits of years of non-stop work. “I’ve relished creating a team and business that people talk about. What drives me most is creating the kind of satisfaction and excitement for our customers and collaborators that makes them want to come back for more. And nothing beats working with the talented, dedicated, and passionate people on my team and witnessing that communal feeling of joy as the brand advances,” she says.
Her team is truly global – press in New York, a factory in Vigevano, a graphic team in Milan, and Brundage in between them all. “I’m accustomed to working in transit,” she laughs.
As for the future, Brundage says she’ll be bring an “exciting, unique and pleasant experience personalized products like the Pauwau sandal and upcoming Lola/Aja pumps on our e-shop. We sell a sense of individuality – that feeling of pride that comes with having something special and one-of-a-kind. The customization is really a creative and intellectual experience, in that the customer must reflect on what she wants to say about herself through her shoes.”