Mary Alice Malone is delighted to introduce Coco Fong and Valerio Bava as the newly appointed Co-Creative Directors of Malone Souliers.
The dynamic duo, who have long been integral members of her Design team, will be working together to build upon our existing distinctive aesthetic; whilst also expressing a joint vision that aims to propel the brand forward into exciting new territory.
Mary Alice Malone, formerly Creative Director, will assume the new title of Founder & Chief Brand Director. Her focus will be on strategic planning, creative business growth and new markets expansion.
Commenting on Coco and Valerio’s appointment, Mary Alice says: “It is a joy to work with Coco and Valerio. Over the past few years of mentoring them, I have seen their incredible talents strengthen and grow. They have long been my sounding boards, sharing the same appreciation for beautifully crafted, exceptionally designed shoes and I am delighted to see them move into this newly created joint role – a promotion they have both truly earned.”
Get to Know This Dynamic Design Duo
How did your love of footwear start?
Coco: It probably all started with tiny Barbie shoes. I remember always collecting and loving the shoes that came with my Barbies. And I always loved my mom’s collection of kitten heels. I moved to London wanting to study womenswear, not realising footwear design was even an option. I then had the opportunity to design shoes during my brief course in 3D design and immediately fell in love with it.
Valerio: I agree on the Barbie shoes, always loved them, and found them inspiring. Also, I was walking around in my mom’s shoes a lot as a kid – and always just admired them as objects. When I started doing fashion illustrations, I realised there was always a big focus on the shoes, so when I was later studying fashion and it came to choosing my pathway, footwear was an obvious direction for me to dive in.
Could you describe your vision for Malone Souliers?
V: We want to keep evolving the Brand, cater for a larger audience, and keep it current. Our focus will always be on creating interesting, feminine, and beautifully made shoes that stand the test of time.
C: Having both been with the Brand for such a long time, this feels like such an amazing opportunity. On top of creating beautiful shoes for everyone, we also want to cultivate and build an impressive community of shoe lovers.
What excites you most about this new role?
C: I am excited about getting to have creative input into aspects of the brand beyond the shoes themselves. And to execute a unique vision and language for the brand.
V: Yes, I absolutely agree, it feels like a blessing to be able to expand on our creative language, and to collaborate with many different people on all aspects of it, from building imagery to store design.
Tell us about the process of creative directing a new collection…
V: We usually start with a conversation about a specific topic that feels relevant to the moment – it could be a show, a movie, or an exhibition, for example. We then develop the idea and discuss how to translate it into a product. From there, we share our thoughts with our team and start a lengthy research process that manifests via colour, material, and silhouette choices.
C: Exactly. It always starts with a conversation, and it needs to resonate with both of us and our team. It’s important that everyone feels passionate about the subject we’re diving into. We conduct thorough individual research, but we also take group trips abroad, visit exhibitions, libraries, markets, and shops to gather inspiration in every shape and form. Sometimes the best inspiration comes from the most unexpected places.
How would you describe the Malone Souliers woman in three words?
C: Well-rounded, modern, unapologetic.
V: Sophisticated, strong, free.
Which is your favourite pair of Malone Souliers shoes?
C: The Yuri. Being a petite girl, I love wearing platforms both for the height and the comfort.
V: It’s always the latest one so, in this moment, the Vilma. The new decorative component we developed for AW23 is absolutely showstopping and I can’t wait to see it hit the stores.
…And where would you most like to wear them?
V: Honestly everywhere, anytime.
C: Parties! Events! Anytime I feel like I need a little boost.
What is the first pair of shoes you remember buying for yourself?
C: Some Celine black satin heels that I bought for prom.
V: Some really cool Raf Simons sneakers I saved up six months for.
Who would you most like to see wearing Malone Souliers?
V: Dead or alive, I would say Cleopatra. Otherwise, any strong, female leader who stands for a great cause.
C: I agree. I would also love to see Michelle Yeoh, Faye Wong, or any iconic celebrities that I grew up watching.
What is your career highlight so far?
C: Building a lovely, talented group of people I feel lucky working with every day.
V: Beyonce wearing our shoes on her latest Renaissance tour. Such a moment.
The first collection fully created under Coco and Valerio’s direction will be the upcoming Autumn / Winter ’23 collection, launching at the end of July.