Bruno Magli's new look for fall.
Though Max Kibardin designs stilettos adorned with hot-pink spikes and sandals that sprout goat hair, he considers himself a classicist at heart. “I’ve always been inspired by very elegant, sophisticated shoes,” says the Siberian-born, Milan-based cobbler. His flair for giving traditional styles a little oomph has long attracted such fashion-savvy customers as Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Dello Russo. More recently, it inspired the 76-year-old Italian brand Bruno Magli to tap him as its creative director. Charged with revitalizing a label that hadn’t seen the spotlight since the O.J. Simpson trial—Simpson was (allegedly) wearing Maglis at the crime scene—Kibardin spent his early months on the job rooting through the company archive, in which he discovered a wealth of raw material ripe for a revamp. Styles like the classic pump, popularized by Bruno Magli in the sixties, have been reimagined by the designer in a range of vibrantly hued silk grosgrain; box calf, meanwhile—a tough hide long used for men’s dress shoes—has been reworked into self-assured ankle-strap stilettos in a rich forest green. Kibardin also created clothing for the debut fall collection—napa leather smock dresses, a swingy mink coat—that further emphasizes the label’s sexy and spirited new look. “It’s a very nice combination,” Kibardin says, “of Bruno Magli’s aesthetic and my own.”