GLASS SLIPPERS: Shoes in Pasquale Fabrizio's limited-edition Couture…
Glass footwear has long been synonymous with a romance between a fairy-godmother-assisted girl and a handsome prince but far too fragile and fantastical to ever exist in real life.
Pasquale Fabrizio, owner of Pasquale Shoe Repair in Los Angeles, has doctored the shoes of celebrities, costume designers and fashion industry insiders for the last 17 years. Combining his expertise in reconstructing designer footwear and his passion for Murano glass pieces, Fabrizio has created a line of glass-adorned shoes ornate enough for a princess and with a royal price tag to match. With a launch in the middle of awards season and the Oscars just weeks away, Fabrizio has his sights set on finding a few perfect Cinderellas to wear his glass slippers to the ball.
Q by Pasquale is set to hit stores this spring. The high-end part of the line (called the Couture Collection) is a limited run of 500 pairs, all with acrylic soles and no shortage of blown glass embellishment.
"Travels through Italy led me to Venice and an obsession started to attach glass to a shoe," Fabrizio says.
Each shoe in the Couture Collection is distinguished by colorful glass that has been twisted around 4-inch metal heels. Several styles have glass beads that are strung on leather straps that wind around the ankle. Gold chains with small 24-karat-gold-leaf beads dangle atop the vamp of the foot.
The Couture Collection also includes a large, clear acrylic box and plush pillow to display the shoes, which will retail for $7,500 a pair.
"My inspiration is about the glass and all that can be done with it," says the Naples-born Fabrizio. "It almost looks like it's alive because some pieces have glass within glass. This is not about being high-tech. These are handcrafted."
At $7,500, the Couture Collection shoes are in the same price bracket as many of the diamonds and other fine jewelry celebrities wear on the red carpet, but Fabrizio says he is sensitive about the cost, most of which he attributes to the custom-made metal heels and one-of-a-kind handblown Murano glass.
He's also created the Africa collection, a lower-priced line of glass-adorned shoes starting at $250. The price isn't the only thing more casual about this line -- the look is relatively more laid-back with a wedged sole, sloped so high and narrow that from the back it looks like a thin high heel. Two circles are carved out in each heel to house a "leopard print" piece of Murano glass, which is strung and suspended inside. More striped and spotted glass beads are strung on stamped leather straps that wind up the foot and tie behind the ankle.
"Celebrities are always in the spotlight and want to be unique," says Fabrizio, who was scheduled to introduce the line to stylists at a party on Friday. "This is as close as we'll get to a real Cinderella walking around."
Who is the ideal client? "Angelina" Jolie, he says. "We've worked with her in the past and I've always found her to be such a sweet person. Plus, she has long, elegant legs, which always helps."