With all the overly wrought “science experiments,” as she puts it, being created by shoe designers today, Sarah Flint felt the need for discreet, sophisticated footwear. “I’m more interested in the integrity of a shoe—how it fits and frames the foot—than in sticking a big buckle on top,” says the Fashion Institute of Technology grad, who spent seven months interning with Proenza Schouler. Her line, launched in 2013 and available at Barneys New York, includes suede and stingray kitten heels, and strappy sandals with folded leather details—designs, says Flint, “that women have been missing.”
Carrano’s career began at age 12 in her father’s shoe factory in Italy. “ ‘Apprenticing’ is too chic a word—I went to boot camp,” Carrano recalls of her education, which led her to value craftsmanship above all else. Her new line, inspired by “confident, informed, opinionated European courtesans,” debuts this spring at Bergdorf Goodman and features suede foot beds and barrel-dyed soles—refined artisanal details not often employed these days. “Real luxury has substance,” she notes.