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FASHION

Malone Souliers unveils debut men's shoe collection

Words by Rob Chilton

Having previously designed only women’s shoes, Mary Alice Malone has now released her first range for men

After a string of successful women’s shoe collections that began in 2014, launching a first men’s range was always going to take some adjustment for Mary Alice Malone. “It felt like I was using a different part of my brain,” she says. “It was a little scary for a moment, but it was fun to get into a different mindset.”

The main difference between designing men’s and women’s shoes, she discovered, was in the proportions. “No woman wants her foot to look larger, they want it to look petite and beautiful. But with men, you can’t make the foot look smaller. Proportions have to convey something different. With women, the proportions have to be delicate and feminine whereas with men, you want to convey power and masculinity.”

Miles loafer in plum, AED 2,320

The debut Malone Souliers men’s collection is available exclusively at Level Shoes in The Dubai Mall. Made from calf leather, suede and woven denim, the shoes are highly sophisticated and luxurious. More adventurous styles see the use of velvet, crystals and patent leather. But they all have one thing in common. “Comfort is key,” explains Malone. “Men are not forgiving – if their shoes hurt, they’re gone.”

While designing, Malone’s moodboard was filled with images of men in power suits from the 1940s and 50s. “You know, Cary Grant, that kind of thing,” she explains. “The tailoring back then was so beautiful. It was a time when a suit was the most prized possession a man had.”

Shoe designer Mary Alice Malone

A second men’s collection for FW20 is already designed and, like the current range, doesn’t include sneakers. “Men’s sneakers are great but I love my leather soles,” she says. “There are so many people out there who make leather sneakers really well, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m good at.”

Malone works from her London studio with a team of around 20. She admits she wants the company to grow, but only in an authentic way. “I like our company mentality of a younger, emerging brand. I enjoy being a responsive, agile company, I don’t want it to be a slow turning ship – we can design a shoe and it’ll be in store six weeks later. My team is close-knit and I’m hands-on, we have a beautiful familial feel.”

Cary Grant was a source of inspiration for Malone

Some members of her team are Italian who are aghast when new shoes are put on the table, flouting an old superstition that is said to bring bad luck. “We put shoes on tables all the time in the studio, but we have to,” she laughs. “It’s an occupational hazard.”

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