High-end shoe fanatic Chrissy Lombardi is walking the walk by designing her own footwear collection, now available at her eponymous retail store in Short Hills.
A resident of Mountain Lakes, Lombardi and her young family live in the same town where she grew up. After studying art history, Lombardi enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), where her shoe obsession led to a footwear-design and pattern-making course in Italy. “In Milan, I came to understand the costs that go into making fine women’s shoes. I thought, I can do this and provide the same quality as the top designers at a fraction of the cost. So today, our hand-crafted shoes are made at the same factories that have been used for decades by luxury brands,” she says.
Celebrating three fast-paced years in business, 31-year-old Lombardi connects with global customers via christina-lombardi.com, where she offers luxury footwear and handbags with free shipping and returns. After making a name for herself online and through a pop-up store, she recently opened a retail space at the Mall at Short Hills and is considering making it her permanent address.
“I am often in the store, and clients love the fact that we are New Jersey based. They have a sense of being part of the brand, and they are happy to give us honest feedback,” she says. “In fact, when one client loved our Nicole style but wished it came in a shorter heel, we lowered the heel, added a slingback to keep the silhouette chic, and named it Ravello.”
The designer says shoppers appreciate original details they haven’t found elsewhere, so most of the materials and hardware are custom created by Lombardi and her team. In fact, Short Hills customers were among the first to see the exclusive new fall styles, because the collection traveled directly from the Milan factory to the store.
What’s hot right now? “Our newest collection includes Western styles with embossed leather. There’s also strong demand for lower heels, because women are doing it all and they want to be comfortable,” Lombardi says.
Her new handbag collection launches in December, and more unusual styles are in the works for next spring. One head-turning look will incorporate PVC material with a surprise hidden inside, the designer hints.
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