Nodaleto: Feet First Into Fashion

Consider the shoe, and everything seems straightforward: A thick, square heel; a penchant for burnt orange lightening to tangerine; and a modern, made-for-walking look about them.

But like the innocent ankle boot with a gemmed spur on the heel, or square-toe, backless shoes trimmed with low-level sparkles, there is more to this footwear than meets the eye.

Take the name – ‘Nodaleto’ – shake it all about, and it reads ‘Toledano’ – the name of Julia’s father, French fashion’s famous Sidney Toledano, former Chairman and CEO of Christian Dior Couture and now Chairman and CEO of LVMH Fashion Group.

Julia Toledano has her own ideas, which she calls “a patchwork of contradictory influences” that she has developed as “American-Mediterranean minimalism”.

“The whole thing is about transmission,” Julia says. “With the culture from my grandfather in Spain and Morocco, Casablanca in the Fifties, and also my obsession with the Seventies vibe, the Nineties in Paris, and my dream to live in California.’’

She spends a few months of the year in LA gathering inspiration- but what about more formal training?

“I went to law school in Paris and after that I wanted to go back to my first passion – fashion,” she said. “So I decided to do a Masters in Journalism and at the same time I worked for Elle magazine and afterwards for the Carine Roitfeld Fashion Book website.

“Right after this experience I realised I wanted to focus on shoes. I had sketched since I was a child, so I went to the London College of Fashion and followed that with a tour of the best factories in Italy to learn more about manufacturing.”

“What I can insist on, is that with Nodaleto I believe in Luxury retail.”

As with the backstory, so with the shoes: They are being sold at Barney’s in New York and in Paris at Le Bon Marché, where there will be a pop-up store in mid-June.

Julia works as designer and CEO, while her business partner Olivier Leone focuses on the imagery and marketing of Nodaleto and leads the young team. The shoes are made in Italy at a family-owned factory in Venice.

Defining the inclusive process, Leone explains, “Julia’s legacy and the transmission mean that we are trying to go from the Seventies to now.”

Calling the designs “super-architectural”, Julia says that while studying in London she was thinking about a “family” shoe that, like each family member, has a similar structure but a different identity – and story line.

”I imagined a woman who was always thinking about baby shoes when she was a child – and now she wants the same,” the designer said, explaining that her love of jewellery and obsession with gems was part of the Californian semi-precious stones influence.

“The Nodaleto shoe is the same for day or night,” adds Leone, while both the designers underscored the variety of influences in each piece of footwear, from the kinetic art of Yaacov Agam, the Israeli artist, to the quality and luxury of made-in-Italy.

What are the duo’s favourite pieces? “The lace-up footwear,” Julia says, along with an Art Deco influence and “something that is more rock’n’roll than girly”.

And those orange tones? “The colour was inspired by the light of the city in Morocco at the moment the sun goes down to tangerine,” Julia says. “It’s the best moment of the day – between red and orange.”