Influencer is a term that's gotten fuzzier over time. Technically anyone can claim to have influence over others online, but there are still a select few ladies who are known as the fashion industry's top trendsetters. Do the names Géraldine Boublil, TyLynn Nguyen, Mirjam Flatau, Ilenia Toma, Bettina Looney, Grece Ghanem, and Sophia Roe ring a bell? Even if you don't know them all by name, you've likely seen them pictured side-by-side outside fashion shows in Paris or Milan. Now, they've come together to design a footwear capsule for Ilio Smeraldo that is sold exclusively at Moda Operandi.
First launched in 1979, Ilio Smeraldo's pieces are handmade in Italy and locally sourced. Now with its new line, there's a silhouette in the collection that fits each influencer's sensibility. And though they're located across the globe (see: Montreal, Los Angeles, Paris) and each style is totally unique, the brand tied the collection together with a simple color palette and five out of the seven creations featuring a luxe gold anklet chain. "I wanted to add a ‘chic bling’ effect inspired by the '90s supermodels era, Versace campaigns, and have them quite low for a double anklet effect," influencer Géraldine Boublil tells TZR about the embellishment on her shoe.
For Montreal-based influencer Grece Ghanem, this project was her first foray into design, but when it came time to choose the silhouette, she already had a combat boot at top of mind. "The next steps were about piecing the different features together like the chunkiness of the sole [and] the height for the boot," she tells TZR. To see the collection in full, see all seven styles below. Warning: This isn't a trunk show you want to sleep on.
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Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: Grece Ghanem
"I always like to say that my personal style is in harmony with my mood that day," Ghanem says. "It is my way of expressing myself in my truest form." The Canadian notes that she's always had a penchant for luxe basics, power prints, and bold colors.
She describes her combat boot as stylish, comfortable, edgy, and timeless. "I wanted to design something that was practical and can be worn regularly, but in so many different ways." On days where the weather is mild in Montreal, she'll be styling the shoe with a silk dress for an edgy, yet feminine ensemble. "I also love to tuck in a pair of trousers and wear them all winter long!"
Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: TyLynn Nguyen
Los Angeles-based influencer TyLynn Nguyen is known for her elevated, minimalist aesthetic. For her shoe, she opted for a look that resonates with that pared back taste. "I decided to design this sleek square-toe boot because I loved the idea of having a boot I could wear every day, something comfortable and elegant at the same time," she tells TZR. "I love the square-toe because it feels fresh and classic. This boot is my forever go-to now!"
Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: Sophia Roe
"I never know for sure what my schedule looks like, so for me, it is crucial to [put on] something that I easily can wear both day and night," Sophia Roe tells TZR. "When designing the heel, I thought about creating something chic without compromising the level of comfort."
The influencer describes her fashion sense as "Scandinavian chic, with a love for simplicity." She's eager to pair the shoe with everything in her closet, but particularly jeans, skirts, and suit jackets. "It was very important for me to create a classic boot to last," she notes.
Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: Géraldine Boublil
"I wanted to create my dream boot inspired by my favorite fashion decade, the '90s, in a rich suede with a square-toe," Boublil says. Her vision was to make the calf wide which would result in a loose and leg-lengthening effect. "[The design process was] super smooth, I add a very precise idea of it, the trickiest part was to find the right heel."
Before it gets too cold, Boublil is itching to couple her knee-high creation with long shirts belted or knit dresses. Once the temperatures dip, she'll wear the lavish suede shoe with high-waisted jeans tucked in with a men's shirt or denim top, finished off with either a trench coat or long statement jacket.
Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: Bettina Looney
Influencer and stylist Bettina Looney went a different direction and opted for a heel instead of a boot. Nodding to the '90s, this flared pump is embellished with a chunky gold chain. Copy Looney's quirky aesthetic and pair the shoe with loose denim and a colorful blouse.
Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: Ilenia Toma
If you're searching for an update to the classic Western boot, you'll want to check out influencer Ilenia Toma's shoe. Featuring an updated cowboy silhouette and flashy gold chain, this mid-calf stacked heel can be dressed down with denim or up with a silk slip dress. Opt for the white iteration if your black footwear collection is overflowing.
Ilio Smeraldo Shoe Collaboration: Mirjam Flatau
Mirjam Flatau, a Paris-based influencer and art director, also decided on a cool heel for her shoe. The spiral sandal wraps up your leg, so you can wear it over skinny jeans for a fun styling trick. Come spring, couple it with leather Bermuda shorts to show it off a bit more.