Today's interview is special for a couple of reasons, firstly because Pip happens to be a good friend of mine, and secondly because I've known and loved her family's retail business Scarpa Shoes for many years. Like me, Pip is a busy Mum to two young boys and we see each other regularly at the gym where we have snatched conversations about the kids and work, before rushing off to juggle those two areas of our lives! Despite the madness, Pip is always smiling and full of energy. Super-organised, I love her attitude to life, and her ability to fit so much in to her day. She also has amazing style, and as expected, an enviable collection of shoes and bags! Being that I have a slight obsession with both, I take comfort in the fact that I have a friend who is involved with bringing in some of the finest of these products from around the world!
I often ask Pip about new arrivals and what's hot for the coming season, and thought it was high time I let you in on some of this valuable information. Luckily for us Pip agreed, and I'm very excited to be able to share her interview with you today.
Can you tell us a bit about the background of Scarpa - when was the company established?
Scarpa was established 21 years ago this year, when my parents opened it at Westfield St Lukes. They already had a successful shoe store in Whangarei and were wanting to branch out.
You stock a huge range of brands from here and all around the world. Are you involved with the buying and choosing of product ranges? Is there a lot of travel involved?
I used to be involved in the buying but not so much these days. We travel mostly to Milan, where there is the best shoe offering.
How do you keep ahead of the game in terms of trends? Are there any publications, websites or international retailers that you follow to stay in the loop?
We keep up to date both online and through following reading international fashion magazines and leading footwear designers from Italy, Spain and France – such as our own Stuart Weitzman.
Tell us about what's trending for Winter - styles, colours, hot new brands etc.
Ankle boots are key for this winter, in particular flat beatle-esque Chelsea boots and biker boots. Smoking slippers are a great alternative to ballet flats. Autumn and jewel tones are back: tan, brown, rust and burgundy as well as midnight blue. Materials wise, python embossed leathers and “pony” hair is hot, as is studding and metallic accents.
Hot new brands for us include Beau Coops (made in Italy and designed by Kiwi Carrie Cooper) and Aquatalia – an Italian luxury brand that is weatherproof and worn by Kate and Pippa Middleton.
What's your favourite boot and bag for this season?
I am loving the Beau Coops BEAU5 and JERRY, also the Aquatalia ORLA studded biker boots which are great for watching winter sports or off-duty style as they are completely weatherproof. The PIA by Pura Lopez is a sexy stiletto boot for wearing out at night. Handbags wise, love the Ripani from Italy, absolutely stunning detailing and quality, yet a fraction of the price of a “designer” handbag.
BEAU5 by Beau Coops (left) JERRY by Beau Coops (right)
BOLOGNA, FRAN and PONTE by Ripani
Scarpa has a sister store Runway. When did it launch and how does it compare to Scarpa in terms of products and target market?
We opened Runway on August 17th, 2006 on Nuffield St, Newmarket to compliment Scarpa. The Runway customer more designer focused than Scarpa but still appreciates quality. Our collections include Chie Mihara, Stella McCartney, Repetto, Pretty Ballerinas, Diane von Furstenberg and Marc Jacobs. We now also have Fiorentini + Baker which are such amazing casual boots and hot New York designer Rebeca Minkoff whose handbags are divine – it's very exciting!
When it comes to shoes and bags, what do you believe are the wardrobe essentials?
Every woman needs a great pair of flat knee boots, ankle boots, flats (ballet, slipper or loafer), a casual and of course fabulous heels! Metallic or tan sandals and wedges or Spanish espadrilles for summer. Handbag wise, it depends on your lifestyle – a gorgeous satchel or tote as a mum but a corporate woman could wear something like the red Ripani above. And glamorous clutch for going out to make your outfit pop.
Being that fashion is always one step ahead, are you now buying for Spring/Summer 2013? What can we expect to see?
We are now buying for next winter! Runway already has several collections in which are Spring/Summer 2013 like their Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg. Scarpa has their summer Arche in now for travellers in brights, pythons and metallics. Fashion is now so trans seasonal, so we don’t so much divide into seasons as into “drops” and always having something new and fresh.
Trends to keep/buy include bright candy colours, white, prints (animal, camo, floral) and metallics – check out Runway’s Lookbook. Scarpa are getting Robert Clergerie for summer which is super exciting. And Stuart Weitzman’s spring collection is stunning – his muse is Kate Moss!
Are there plans to open up more stores in NZ or expand into Australia?
None as yet but we’d like to grow our online store www.scarpa.co.nz which ships to NZ and Australia.
How do you find juggling work with being a busy Mum of two young boys, and what advice would you give to others Mums trying to achieve a work-life balance?
I make it work! As you know boys are full on, so I often end up working at night or weekends so that I can have that quality time with them. I have very supportive family and friends and know a lot of other Mums who do the same. Oh, and having an iPhone helps - you can work from anywhere!
All images courtesy of Scarpa.