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Three unique women’s brands are making inroads in the bridal market with spring ’10 launches.
Jen + Kim
Manufactured: Los Angeles
Retail price points: $375 to $600
Background: Lured by its manufacturing options, New Yorkers Jennifer Bonopartis (below, right) and Kimberly Dingham (left) moved to Los Angeles to establish their shoe line. Design Director Dingham attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and worked in a shoe factory, while Bonopartis, the company’s director of sales and operations, got a job as a buyer. Two years ago, the duo made footwear for the VOOM by Joy Han fashion show. Soon after, they developed a custom-design business where ladies can choose from different shoe styles and materials, often at home parties hosted by customers. Orders are crafted at a local factory and delivered in four to six weeks.
Branching out: Eventually, betrothed party guests requested shoes to match gowns or styles that bucked tradition. “The bride needed the same customization that we provided to our regular customers,” said Bonopartis.
Brides-to-be: Women in their 20s and 30s. “There’s the diva bride, romantic princess and the casual-chic girl,” Bonopartis said. “We take personal style and translate it into wedding shoes.”
Design philosophy: “Sexy high heels and beautiful leathers and skins equal perfect shoes,” said Dingham.
Inspiration: The fairy-tale glass slipper.
Designer pick: Dingham likes the Coco with draping silk and a metal heel. Bonopartis chooses the Pegah (at right) for the coverage it offers.
Competition: Independent designers such as Pedro Garcia, whose shoes can sometimes be interpreted for wedding wear.
Wedding day no-no: Flip-flops.
Distribution: The 10-style bridal line is sold mainly at hosted parties, but Bonopartis and Dingham are developing a package that would allow bridal boutiques to offer custom-made shoes in-store.