Jon Buscemi, the founder of the much fetishized men’s sneaker line Buscemi, neverintended to make kicks for women, but when Rihanna and the model Jourdan Dunn started seeking them out in the smallest sizes, he quite understandably reconsidered. “It’s been great to see women flocking to the brand,” Buscemi says.“We thought, Maybe we should take this more seriously.” The first women’s collectionrolls out this spring at shops like Colette in Paris and Maxfield in Los Angeles, and features leather high-tops, starting around $800, some embellished with 18-karatgold-plate padlocks and a key fob reminiscent of a Birkin bag. “It’s a little tongue-in-cheek,” Buscemi admits. “That’s just my obnoxious design style.”Growing up onNewYork’s Long Island, Buscemi, who is the cousin of the actor Steve Buscemi, wasa sneakerhead—he reckons he owns close to 1,000 pairs. His taste was largelyinformed by the blingy sportswear culture of the older West Indian and Italian guys who ruled his neighborhood. After a lucrative stint as a stockbroker—“some people bought drugs or Hamptons houses; I bought sneakers”—Buscemi started producing small runs of his designs, which paid homage to his youth while also poking fun at it. The brand’s sense of humor and offhanded luxury attracted Justin Bieber and Diddyas well as Dunn, who appreciates the shoes for their exclusivity. “You won’t see everyperson rocking them,” says the model, who is a men’s size 7. But now it may be the guys’ turn to cross-dress: Buscemi has already received a call from a buyer atBarneys New York, inquiring if the store could order the new coral-color women’sshoe—for men.
Styled by Jack Borkett; hair by Naoki Komiya at Julian Watson agency; makeup by Hila Karmand for Charlotte Tilbury; photography assistants: Ivan Ruberto, Tommy Davies.