Designer Digest: Husband-and-Wife Teams

For these three couples in Elda, Spain, business and marriage go hand in hand.

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Pepe and Reyes Amat

Line: Magrit

Launch: 1929

Background: Pepe Amat’s family has been making shoes in Elda, Spain, for 80 years. It makes product under its own label, Magrit, as well as for renowned fashion brands, including Carolina Herrera and Jil Sander. About 15 years ago, the Amat family shortened the original company name from Margarita to Magrit, removing any associations with the tequila cocktail or the flower. Amat’s wife, Reyes Amat, is a ceramist-turned-shoe-designer who now works alongside her husband in the family business.

Philosophy behind the line: The designers create with a “total freedom of thought,” said Pepe Amat, noting that influences such as the environment and their way of life also figure into the mix, resulting in luxurious shoes that make women feel like “objects of desire.”

What are the challenges of working together? “My responsibility is mainly managing the design team, as it is not only Reyes and me,” Amat said. “Another couple takes a big part of the collection on their shoulders.” And in addition, one of the couple’s sons, a graduate of PoliModa in Florence, joined the designers two years ago.

What are the perks? “In Spain, we say that four eyes can see more than two. The mutual support, the contrast between our ideas, it is really enriching.”

Are the designs influenced by the partnership? Reyes’ artistic background and “proactive character” have made her integral to the Magrit team, according to Amat. He added that while each has particular tasks, the two are united in their mission of creating statement-making looks.

Inspiration for fall ’09: “We feel mostly drawn to volume in shape,” Amat said. High platforms are key, and conversely, styles that give women a “rest from walking in sky-high heels all day.” Boots, including flat, motorbike and fur-covered variations “will have decisive importance.” Volume and color — a signature — also enliven the evening collection.

Retail range: About $450

Distribution: Neiman Marcus in the U.S.; Pedder Group in Southeast Asia; Coppelia in Greater China; Daimaru in Tokyo;

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