Betzábe González’s latest footwear project aims to combine feminine elegance and sporty versatility.
The Los Angeles-based footwear designer is debuting at the Ritz in Paris this week at a time when many footwear players are ready for newness in the luxury market — which has been challenging for many brands and retailers in the past year.
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For González, a Latina and mother of two, the mission is deeply personal.
“With this brand, I want to tell the story of how my life is all about the balancing act,” said González during a preview with customized Ladurée macarons matching the color palette of the collection on offer.
“I’m a mom and a woman designer. I’m always in [Los Angeles Dodgers] bomber jackets at the games with my daughters coaching them. They’re 12 and 10, and both of them love sports. They play basketball, football, volleyball, and golf. I always said I wasn’t going to be that mom who screams on the sideline in heels, but I ended up being that [person],” said González, who put her former shoe venture, Mia Becar, on hold. (The designer is married to former professional baseball player Adrián González.)
In terms of design, González said the first collection is all about who she is and what she likes.
“There are lots of colors, a little bit of glam and sportiness. For example, elastic straps [on some of the hells] are inspired by the sports bra.
Materials include suede,nappa, PVC and mirror leather — and some of soles are outlined in rhinestones. The collection offers up a variety of heel heights. González said the 100mm heel is her personal favorite, but she also offers styles with 85mm, 65mm, and 10mm for different occasions.
“I understand that even though I’m always in high heels, there are times that you want the 65mm or the flat ones,” she said.
The collection is being produced in Veneto, Italy — with prices ranging between $595 and $1,295. Top-tier department stores and specialty retailers are previewing the line in Paris this week. Back at home, stylists also are seeing the brand for the first time, just in time for awards season.
Sally Ross, footwear and fashion veteran and founder of her eponymous consulting firm, is the designer’s partner in crime” — and has played a key role in developing the production, wholesale, sales and marketing strategy.
For her part, González has spent the last six years immersing herself in he shoe business. She attended the Arsutoria School in Milan in 2017, and studied footwear theory, shoemaking, and collection design via a five-month intensive course.
“Back then I did a lot of factory visits. We got to do Tuscany. We went all over Italy to see the difference in each of the factories. Everyone has their own specialty, and the one we picked in the end is an expert in crafting very feminine shoes,” added González.
Asked about how Betzábe plans to stand out amid a soft retail climate for the dress shoe category, González said it’s all about how her fresh take on shoemaking reflects what modern women like her want – “being in the boardroom, as well as being able to be there at sporting events for her children.”
On a personal level, the launch of Betzábe symbolized a new chapter in González’s life, where she is open to fully embracing the journey, she has been on.
She said, “For me, it was important to have my name as the brand. I came from Mexico and I was really shy about my name because it’s hard to pronounce and I was always like, ‘Don’t call me Betzábe, just call me Betsy.’ Now as I got older, I am super proud of that name. My name is Betzábe and I am going to put my name out there.”
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