“You can never have enough of shoes,” Stephanie von Watzdorf declares. “They are emotional, but they also have function. This is an instance where more is more.” The New York-based designer applies this same attitude to unearthing inspiration for her label Figue. Traversing the world, she mixes unique prints with layered textures, embroideries and hand-beading, collaborating with talented artisans from around the globe to craft seasonless shoes, with a bohemian spirit.
Why did you choose the name Figue?
Figue means “fig” in French. The name pays homage to my childhood — I grew up in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and spent every summer with my family in Italy, going between L’Isola dei Galli near Positano and Porto Ercole. Figs remind me of the Mediterranean and all of its summer splendor — the fragrant smell, the lush green trees, the beauty of nature…utopia. I want our collection to transport women in a similar way.
A song that reminds you of where you grew up:
September by Earth, Wind and Fire.
Five images that embody the Figue world:
- Mario Testino photograph for Vogue UK, styled by Lucinda Chambers
- From the first Figue collection, featuring an iconic Figue military jacket.
- My father by Slim Aarons
- Leon Bakst illustrations for the Ballets Russes
Describe your design philosophy.
There are no rules! I would break any if I had them.
A quote that inspires your work.
Wake up. Kick ass. Be kind. Repeat.
A movie you have watched for inspiration: A video of my grandfather, choreographer Leonide Massine, dancing. His work partly inspired our latest collection called “Latin Remix.”
A site you go to when procrastinating:
What you would be if not a designer?
An image on the wall in your studio: A postcard from Picasso to my grandfather: Leonide Massine
An artist who inspires you: Henri Matisse
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned since opening Figue?
Be adaptable and open-minded. Be prepared for surprises at every turn.
A song that embodies New York City: Empire State Of Mind by Alicia Keys
Ps. She’s wearing a Figue military jacket.
Where you go for inspiration: Haiti
Image Credits: Interior with Phonograph (1924) by Henri Matisse via Pinterest, Figs still life via Stephanie von Watzdorf, Figue fashion shoot via Stephanie von Watzdorf, Count Stephan von Watzdorf by Slim Aarons via Stephanie von Watzdorf, Ballet Russes by Léon Bakst via Pinterest, Postcards via Stephanie von Watzdorf, Haiti via Stephanie von Watzdorf, Daria Werbowy by Mario Testino for Vogue UK via Pinterest