You only have to meet Jerome C. Rousseau for a moment to fall in love with him and his equally charming shoe line! The Quebec-born designer launched his own line a scant four years ago, after working in London and Paris for designers including Matthew Williamson, Isabella Fiore, John Richmond and John Rocha. With celebrity fans ranging from Cameron Diaz to Katie Holmes, his feminine designs balance cool and fun with aplomb — see his signature glitter pump! Read our interview with the L.A.-based designer and then shop his designs on Gilt.com on June 8, starting at noon ET.
Q: What inspired you to become a shoe designer?
I first started drawing shoes as a teenager after watching the “Groove is in the Heart” videoclip by Deee-Lite. Its unique styling influenced me, but it was the overstated retro footwear that first caught my attention. I naively thought they invented Disco and platform shoes. I didn’t have a particular passion for fashion at the time; it was shoes the sparked my interest in design.
Q: What do you consider your greatest success so far and what is the next milestone in your career you are looking forward to?
It’s a great achievement to have successfully established the label as a key emerging talent on the scene and to be represented in over 40 stores worldwide. I look forward to eventually expanding into additional product categories.
Q: Do you have a woman in mind to wear your shoes?
The muse for the label is young French actress, Roxane Mesquida. Her effortless elegance represents the essence of my label.
Q: Who has been the most exciting women to wear a pair of your shoes?
I have a big crush on January Jones, and I’m always excited to see her in the label.
Some other favorites are Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and Miranda Kerr – all for different reasons.
Q: What is the thing that has surprised you the most in having your own line?
When you design a collection and review your sketches, you have a feeling for which shoes will be best received. Every season it’s a huge surprise once the samples materialize; my favorite design is often not the one I expected.
Q: Between the first idea for a design and the finished pair hitting a customer’s feet, how long is the process and what does it involve?
It takes roughly 7 months; the initial ideas often come before I start sketching the collection. Once the collection is designed and materials are sourced, we create the first samples, which are used to present the collection to our buyers and press contacts. Production takes 3-4 months to be completed and perhaps an additional few weeks for the shoes hit the shelves.