So, a little (or kind of a lot) about me and why I think I can call myself The Shoe Girl.
My name is Celine and I grew up in Huntington Beach, California. I like to joke that I was born in high heels, and although that’s obviously not true, I was born with the love of shoes in my blood.
My father, a former professional soccer player, came to the US from Morocco in the 70’s. He started off as a shoe salesmen and had a natural talent for it. He worked his way up in the shoe biz and eventually co-founded a company called French Follies where they made cute little espadrilles and ballet inspired shoes. From there he went on to Guess and Charles David footwear, where he eventually became President of the company and brought it to its height of popularity in the late 80’s.
I was so lucky to grow up around shoes. I was the only girl in the 8th grade wearing the kick ass ankle boots Guess was famous for… and remember those Guess jellies?? Yep. I had those too. I made a lot of new friends when I came to school in those! That’s the first time I felt the power of an “it” shoe.
In the 90’s, my dad left Charles David/Guess Footwear to pursue a new venture… Bebe Footwear! It was his first shoe license, and it was super successful. Soon after that he started his own line with his namesake, Joey O. Since then his company has held the exclusive footwear licenses for L.A.M.B., Harajuku Lovers, Charles Jourdan, Laundry by Shelly Segal, Antik Denim, Rock & Republic, Playboy footwear, Zinc, Hale Bob, Badgley Mischka, Mark and James, Betsey Johnson, Betseyville, Jill Stuart, JLO, True Religion, Vivienne Westwood, Joes, Cynthia Vincent, and probably a few that I’m forgetting! Awesome, right!? :)
So… like I said, shoes are in my blood! I realized this at an early age when I would go into my mom’s closet and pull out her shoes and clear off my book shelves, fill them with shoes, and put a sign up that said “Shoe Show”. I didn’t really know what it meant, other than that was where my dad was always flying off to. Shoe shows. I wanted to be a part of it! It was my destiny.
I went to The Academy of Art to study art and fashion and then to design school in Milan, Italy when I was just 20 years old. My professors at Ars Sutoria taught me all about making shoes including sketching, pattern making, leather tanning, and lots of technical shoe stuff. It was intense.
After graduating from my shoe program I went back home and started working as the assistant to the Senior Designer of my dad’s company, Titan Industries. At the time, we were only making bebe and Joey O Footwear, and were about to go after our second license, JLO Footwear. I was a part of that project and I loved it! It was so exciting putting what I had learned to use.
I was off to China and working my butt off. I was an assistant for a little over a year when I got offered the job of taking over as the lead designer for Playboy. It wasn’t anything I had ever thought I would do, but it was a chance to be my own designer… No more assisting! I took it! Then, a few months after accepting the position as designer for Playboy, I was offered another line; Zinc footwear! I took it!!! I loved working with Zinc. The clothing was cute and the shoes were much more “my style”. Later still, I was given the job as designer of JLO footwear.
I launched the debut collection (and every collection thereafter) for Harajuku Lovers in August 2008, and in May of 2009 I took over as designer of Betsey Johnson footwear until Steve Madden bought out the company in October of 2010. Womp womp! That job was one of the best and most creative times in my life and I’ll never forget it.
After losing Betsey’s license, I returned to designing for Bebe footwear- This time as the Senior Designer. In 2011 I launched my own line, Cece L’amour, which lasted about a year before we had to put the project “on hold”. I’m still waiting for my line to come back to life- I have faith! ;)
I love my job! I get to work with shoes every day. It’s my job to look at shoes in magazines, online, in stores, and on the streets. It’s a dream job honestly, and I feel lucky every day. My obsession is my job… So cool!
So anyway, here I am. Here’s my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it so far. It’s been fun for me and I hope that shows. :)