Donald J Pliner celebrates two decades of sole splendor - Donald J Pliner Featured on Examiner.comSaturday, March 20, 2010
By Jewel Figueras
Notable, luxury footwear and accessories designer, Donald J Pliner, celebrated 20 years of fashion with a four-in-one soiree, highlighting the success of his empire. Last Saturday the visionary, along with his wife and creative director, Lisa Pliner, hosted a designer meet and greet, Spring 2010 collection presentation of Lisa by Donald J Pliner, shopping event and cocktail reception at Aventura Mall, where the day's proceeds were to benefit Jewish Adoption and Foster Care Options, Inc. (JAFCO).
Marking his second successful decade, Donald J Pliner's 20 year retrospective explored the breadth of his career with visual displays showcasing an exhibition of shoe sketches and prototypes, dating back to 1989. Additionally, he unveiled his most recent collaboration with food artist extraordinaire, Rhonda Voo. Guests feasted their eyes on what they wish was an edible shoe-a white slingback heel, featuring an illusory scoop of ice cream with a cherry on top. Additional attractions included Pliner's latest collection of shoes and handbags adorned with hand sewn glass beads replicating the architectural design on the store's African rugs.
This Examiner got to spend a bit of time with Donald J Pliner:
What is the first shoe that you ever designed?
It was for Francesca Hilton, daughter of Zsa Zsa Gabor, in 1967. It was a tortoise shell platform, red and navy, with a white backstrap.
How did you get into the shoe business?
Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths--I was born with a "slipper spoon" in mine, since my father was in the business. He opened a shoe store in Chicago at the height of the Depression. In 1967, I opened Pappagallo Beverly Hills, my first retail store, where sales hit almost $1 million in the opening year.
How long does it take to get a collection out--from sketches to in-store?
It's about a 9 month process. For instance, I'm about three weeks into my Spring 2011 collection and I'm nearly done with the sketches. It will be in the factories in April with the first showing in June, second showing in Aug and in stores Jan/Feb.
What's next for Donald J Pliner?
Well, one of the most exciting things on tap is a partnership with Bullets4Peace. We have a collection called Walking4Peace coming out for Fall 2010.