In the era of social media, a brand – even a new brand in its infant stages – can catch like wildfire if it’s worn by the right person. That’s what happened for Alevì Milano, a sexy footwear brand that is the brainchild of Valentina Micchetti and Perla Alessandri, when supermodel Joan Smalls was snapped wearing their ‘Irina’ sandal. Soon after, a supermodel squad and influencer brigade also started wearing their shoes, and the rest, as they say, is history.
But it’s more than just star power that made Alevì Milano an overnight sensation. In fact, the ingredients for success are baked into the brand because of Micchetti’s and Alessandri’s unique combination of talents. With Micchetti’s background as Roberto Cavalli’s celebrity PR, she knew all the right people and right ways to get their attention. Furthermore, Alessandri grew up in an Italian footwear manufacturing family, so shoe design is practically coded into her DNA.
Working from strength to strength, these stylish friends managed to strike upon a certain look that resonated with fashion-conscious women in search of designs that combined creativity, comfort, and overt sexiness – a rare combination and one you’re apt to be faithful to once you find it. With a collection now available at Level Shoes in The Dubai Mall, Alevì Milano, with the help of its crew of fabulous “It” girls, is poised to be the region’s new favorite footwear brand.
Read on for an exclusive interview with the designers behind Alevì Milano, and access their new campaign for Level Shos starring influencers like Natalie Ratabesi and Emily Mace in the gallery below.
Where did the name Alevì come from?
It’s born from the anagram of our nicknames: Ale for Alessandri (Perla’s last name) and Vì for Valentina.
What are your design and/or business backgrounds?
Perla: I grew up in the family business, shoe manufacturers from the 70s. For over 20 years, we have been producing high-end footwear for luxury labels. I graduated in Economics and Management, I started my professional career in commercial and production, up to the current CEO status in my own company.
Valentina: I’ve worked in fashion PR for the past 15 years. I started very young at Roberto Cavalli’s Milan office, then moved to London and became his celebrity PR. When I left the company after many years I had enough contacts to start getting my own clients, and I started helping new cool fashion designers, so I moved to Los Angeles and opened my own PR company.
How do the two of you split the tasks required to run your own footwear brand? Do you share a brain, or do you divide and conquer according to each of your strengths?
We do share a brain [laughs]… we love to work on the creation part together and pick each other’s brains constantly, we love to analyze new trends and make them ours. We complement each other perfectly; we are bearers of ideas. From a logistical point of view, we are perfectly aligned in our strategy. Perla manages the manufacturing company, she brings the perfectionism of creating the best shoe, and the technicalities are all in her hands. Valentina takes care of branding Alevì. She has an extended network of opinion makers. She is the one who shows our ‘babies’ to the world.
Where is your line produced?
Our shoes are produced in my shoe factory at San Mauro Pascoli, one of the most famous districts in the world for women’s footwear.
Who is the Alevì Milano woman?
Strong working women who are not afraid to show their femininity, their sexiness, and who want to be chic all the time. Women who recognize quality and are willing to branch out in trying a new upcoming brand like Alevì.
What was it like when supermodels and celebrities started wearing your brand?
It was extremely exciting. The first celebrity ever to wear our shoes was Joan Smalls. We spotted her during an event wearing our ‘Irina’ model and we were thrilled. Then all the biggest top models, from Irina Shayk and Alessandra Ambrosio to Bianca Balti, wore our creations. We felt blessed.
How is the Middle Eastern customer different than other customers?
The Middle Eastern customer is attentive to new brands and follows a lot of fashion trends. The collection must have style and personality. She is looking for high quality and particular shapes.
Women from the Middle East have such a great and innovative sense of fashion.
Why is the Middle East an important focus for your brand?
We have positioned our first collection in the best stores in the world. We couldn’t be better represented by Level Shoes. Women from the Middle East have such a great and innovative sense of fashion, especially related to the accessories, so for us this is such a crucial market.
What’s on the horizon for Alevì Milano ?
A great desire to do well and give women a shoe made by women. We are the first to criticize or appreciate our shoes, we wear them and test them to always improve the style. We are only at the beginning, although we had the best start we could have asked for. The sky’s the limit, and we are aiming high.
Meet the designers and their It” girl friends:
(L to R) Perla Alessandri wearing ‘Alessandra’ sandals, Natalie Ratabesi in ‘Sara’ pumps, Valentina Micchetti in ‘Stella’ sandals, Cherine Magrabi in ‘Alessandra’ sandals, Emily Mace in ‘Stella’ sandals.
SF: What was the mood like during the shoot?
Bianca Brandolini: It was super chilled, as it usually is when you all know each other. We had great fun, the photographer was amazing. We shot in LA, where Valentina lives and where I was on vacation. So all in all, it was an amazing experience.
SF: Summarize the collection in 3 words.
Natalie Ratabesi: Chic, sexy, and stylish.
SF: What about this brand made you excited to shoot with them?
Bianca Brandolini: It’s their first collection and I’ve been following Alevì Milano from the very first steps. I was one of the first people to get a pair of their shoes as a gift and to support them. It feels nice to be chosen as an ambassador for a friend’s new project.
SF: If you had to pick, which shoe is your favorite?
Eugenia Niarchos: My favorite shoe of the Alevì collection is the red ‘Lorena’ in plexi and velvet.
SF: Who is the girl that these shoes are designed for?
Cherine Magrabi: Alevi is for the confident and daring , and for those who don’t want to compromise on comfort at the same time.