Last Friday, Nina and I went to the launch of a new line of shoes at Bonne Bouche in Greenbelt, a chic little boutique with dresses from Michi Calica-Sotto, jewelry from Elena Bautista and bags by Nicole Sheker. She told me that Bonne Bouche was launching a new line of shoes by Stella Quimbo called Lupe Saenz (the line was named after her youngest daughter), made of yummy imported leather yes, but Filipino-designed and proudly made in Marikina.
From L to R: Michi Calica-Sotto, Elena D. Bautista, Stella Quimbo & Nicole Sheker of Bonne Bouche
And the first thing I spotted when we got there were these cap-toe flats that came also in nude, black and apple green! OMG! They looked just like my Lanvins and when I slipped them on, it was heaven! But unlike Lanvins, these were priced at just Php2600. Not stratospheric at all. I ended up ordering a pair in red, but with a red snakeskin cap-toe. So pretty! Elena also said I could specify the color I want and she had an all nude pair made. Since I've been wanting nude flats in my flats repertoire, I ordered an all nude version too. I cannot wait!
Of course, apart from flats, Lupe Saenz makes rope heels, wedges, evening heels, platforms and platform pumps:
Pretty impressive and they all looked very comfortable! What's more impressive is that the lady behind Lupe Saenz, Stella Quimbo, is a UP Business Economics summa cum laude graduate & University Valedictorian, now a UP Microeconomics professor and academic with no shoe design background whatsoever. What fueled her to dip her toes into to shoe design is her desire to play a role in reviving and revitalizing the Marikina shoe industry, and of course, her love for shoes.
Here's a short Q&A with Stella:
Tell us what made you decide to create this line. Is it part of your advocacy? Love for shoes?
I can think of four reasons. First, Marikina has a long tradition of shoemaking but has (in the last two decades) been threatened by much cheaper shoes made in China. The dominant response of the local shoemakers has been to shift to the production of synthetic leather shoes. However, my gut feel is that some demand for locally manufactured leather shoes continues to exist. I hope I am correct about this and that I can effectively address this with designs that are classic but with some pleasant surprises.
Second, I have always dreamed of having my own business, primarily to give me a chance to practice what I preach. I am a full-time professor of Economics at UP Diliman, teaching Microeconomics, which covers firm behavior.
The third reason is basic: love for shoes.
The fourth reason is even more basic: the opportunity arose.
What is the unique selling point of Lupe Saenz?
Lupe shoes are made of genuine leather and handmade by the traditional shoemakers of Marikina.
I also intend to offer the option of customizing any existing style to accommodate color preferences or broken sizes.
What are the price points of Lupe Saenz?
For the summer collection, the prices range from Php 2,650 (for flats) to under Php 4,000 (for lace-ups).
Who do you imagine wearing your shoe line? What is the LS woman like?
The Lupe woman is a modern, multi-tasking woman, who needs flats to run errands, run after kids, travel, or shop; stilettos to party; wedges for a busy day at work; as well as killer pumps to impress someone at work.
Hooked yet ladies? For the complete collection, watch this!
Bonne Bouche is at the Filipino Designers Zone, Level Two, Greenbelt 5, Makati.