Following successful stints at Tory Burch and Donna Karan, Mercedes Castillo breaks out on her own.
After decades of designing behind the scenes for other big names (Donna Karan, Tory Burch), Mercedes Castillo has emerged to launch her eponymous brand, starting with a shoe line — a mod-inspired collection full of geometric shapes in bold colors and playfully maneuvered leather.
The Madrid native also recently unveiled a handbag collection as well as jewelry, available exclusively on her website. PaperCity caught up with the designer during a personal appearance at Nordstrom NorthPark Center to uncover more about her debut footwear.
What was the biggest push for you to create your own line?
I partnered with the Camuto Group on this — I’ve known [them] for ten years, and they were very keen on starting a collection with me. Also, as we started the process of designing, understanding, and seeing the reaction of everyone to the product, that made us believe we were doing something unique. I think that as we started the process, we were encouraged by that, so we definitely decided to go for it.
Where did you draw inspiration for the shoe collection?
The whole brand we are designing is very much inspired by art and architecture. The idea was to design a very current collection, very modern, that connects with who we think the customer is today — an engaged, intelligent person. Our tagline is “be your own muse,” so that is what we aim to do, and was reason we came out with the brand.
How did you decide on the materials?
The collection is driven by design and architecture, so shapes are important. We have a lot of ruffles and a lot of smocking and cutouts, so we needed to have materials that gave us volume, and then obviously color. Yellow is our brand color, so we wanted to make sure that was represented.
What was the hardest part of the design process?
It’s always execution. But it’s also the most fun to communicate a vision, because it’s not about only one person; you work with a team, and everybody needs to share the vision. Execution at the level we want is very important — it is the most challenging because we want to offer the best.
What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
Anything that ended up in the collection is because we love it, but I will tell you what I think the most iconic element is. We do a lot of leather manipulation. All of our heels are very special because they have architectural elements. And we don’t have prints — almost everything is just totally bathed in color.
Mercedes Castillo footwear, available at Nordstrom NorthPark Center, 214.231.3900.