BY JULIA NEEL
Established in London in 2014 by Mary Alice Malone, Malone Souliers has quickly become known for its playful, unapologetically feminine aesthetic and immediately recognisable silhouettes in exuberant colour palettes.
Meticulously crafted shoes, made from exquisite materials with unparalleled skill and fastidious attention to detail have earned the brand a loyal following, worn by inspiring women including Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé and Meghan Markle.
Meghan Markle, Gwyneth Paltrow, Beyoncé & Olivia Colman wear Malone Souliers
Born and bred in the Pennsylvanian countryside, Mary Alice grew up in the bucolic surrounds of her family’s horse-breeding farm, where she became a distinguished dressage rider and was selected for the U.S. Junior Olympic Equestrian Team. Visits from her fashionably eccentric grandmother sparked in her a nascent curiosity in the transformative power of fashion.
A long-held passion for psychology led to a degree in political science at Trinity college in Connecticut and then at Elon University in North Carolina, before she realised her vocation as a ‘maker’ and enrolled in art school in Colorado, taking classes in sculpture, welding and furniture-making.
Behind the scenes on our SS20 photoshoot in New York City, 2019
Her affinity for craftsmanship and structural forms led to shoemaking and a place on the lauded Cordwainer's course at the London College of Fashion, where she dedicated herself to mastering every aspect of the métier, from shaping her own lasts and heels to leather-marking and pattern-cutting.
Since its inception, Malone Souliers has had proportion, the integrity of line, and a flawless fit at the core of its DNA, using traditional Cordwaining techniques to enhance the contours of the female foot and perfect its arch. The distinctive strap detailing and wave-like curves that follow the arch of the foot are the trademark motifs that run through every collection.
Camila Carril x Malone Souliers dinner, London 2019
These codes are manifested in the signature Maureen mule, which was launched as part of the spring/summer 2015 collection with a 110mm heel. It has become a modern shoe icon and evolved into several style variations alongside other Malone Souliers classics, including the Robyn, the Maisie and the Imogen.
Believing that beauty and functionality should carry equal weight, she draws on the uncompromising pursuit of perfection instilled in her by her dressage training. When working with her team of Italian Cordwainers, she ensures that her exacting specifications are met - down to the last millimetre. The position of each heel is centralised for optimal balance. Inner soles are cushioned with downy-soft lining for luxurious comfort. The result: luxurious footwear that is unquestionably beautiful.
MatchesFashion.com Trunkshow, New York City 2018
The debut Malone Souliers collection for autumn/winter 2014 was picked up by the buyers at luxury department stores Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue, followed by MatchesFashion.com and Net-a-Porter, and the brand is now available in over 200 doors internationally.
The brand’s unique aesthetic and Mary Alice’s hands-on approach to design have led to partnerships with a number of global Ready-to-Wear designers including Roksanda Illincic, Adam Lippes, Richard Malone, Emanuel Ungaro and most recently, Deveaux New York.
Malone Souliers x Deveaux, NYFW SS20
For SS20, Mary Alice launched her debut men’s collection, putting her unique spin on traditional men’s styles including loafers, slip-ons, boots and sandals.
Through the filter of her background in furniture design, the principles and archetypes of psychology remain a perpetual source of inspiration to her, as she seeks to explore the rationale behind people’s choices and actions through her designs for both women and men.
The men's launch event at Isabel in Mayfair, London 2019