It’s bigger than Capitale! If you have not yet heard of Té Casan, and if you like shoes, you soon will: It’s a 5,500-square-foot, chandelier-hung, glass-staircased Soho store filled with nothing but women’s shoes.
But what is this brand?
The shoes are by seven young designers you’ve never heard of—they were plucked from the obscurity of big-name design studios like Alexander McQueen, Versace, Dries van Noten, and Vivienne Westwood by an Israeli mogul named Yaron Kopel, who made his fortune running the Israeli version of Teleflora, as well as Microsoft Israel. It’s a multinational, hyper-ambitious, and somewhat bewildering project. Kopel installed his shoemaker dream team in Barcelona, for no other reason than that the creative director, Asil Attar, likes the city’s aesthetics. Each designer is supposed to come up with one new style every week—putting Té Casan on roughly the same production schedule as H&M. To further strain the production chain, Kopel claims there will be 50 more Té Casans worldwide in the next five years.
Speaking of H&M, how much are these shoes?
Higher than Nine West, but much lower than Manolo. The prices hover in the $200s. (For comparison’s sake, basic black Christian Louboutin pumps are about $500.)
So what’s the draw?
Original design, for one. Plus, all the shoes are limited editions; no more than 74 of each style will be made, which means once they’re sold, there’s no such thing as a reorder.
How is the design?
It runs the gamut from trendy trainers to bridesmaid-able. But first look says they lack the sophistication of, say, Manolo or Louboutin and the on-trend fashion savvy of Prada or Chloé. And while they may be cheaper, they’re still not cheap: $300 is a lot to pay for shoes by someone you’ve never heard of.
Could this possibly work?
The brand’s kooky “Free to Be You and Me” thing is undeniably appealing. And the marketing plan includes making stars of the designers, in a Project Runway-esque move. “If one of the designers is a schizo or suicidal, we’re going to let you know,” says Ron Pompei, the stores’ designer (and the man who gave Anthropologie its scruffy-cool vibe). But at the end of the day, they’re going to have to move a whole lot of stack-heeled boots to make that Soho rent.