Ancient Greek Sandals may just be the perfect summer sandals, and they’re on Gilt tomorrow at noon ET. They’re classic with modern details, handmade in Greece, have a serious celebrity following (see below), and are designed by Greece-native Christina Martini, who cut her teeth at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton. “I was toying with the idea of creating a line based on the traditional tourist sandals that one can find on the Greek islands,” she says. “I imagined developing the original designs, creating iconic styles using traditional methods, improving quality, and adding a softer more feminine aesthetic to the design.” That idea is now a three-year-old brand that has major buzz.
StyleFile: How do your years at Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton influence your designs today?
Christina Martini: I learned so many things from these two amazing fashion houses. I learned how to think, to design and to form a complete shoe collection. In addition, every week I was at the shoe factories in Italy where I got to witness how the most luxurious shoes are made by specialized craftsmen. This knowledge has helped me a lot and I use it to design and create sandals of high quality.
SF: Where do you look for design inspiration?
CM: My inspiration comes mostly from Ancient Greek art, jewelry, mythology. And although I don’t live in the center of fashion anymore, I am still very interested in what my favorite designers such as Prada, Celine, Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Marc Jacobs are presenting. I always watch the runaway shows to get informed of what is going on.
SF: You have quite the celeb following… who was the first to wear your sandals?
CM: The summer of 2012 Michelle Williams was the first to buy and wear our Iphigenia sandal in black. She was spotted many times wearing them and we were all so excited about it!
Photo c/o Popsugar.com
SF: And who would you say is your biggest celebrity fan?
CM: We have quite a lot of celebrity fans who are loyal to the brand. Our biggest, I would say, is Naomi Watts who owns many different pairs and Sarah Jessica Parker who was recently spotted wearing the same pair of Clio wedges as last year.
Photo c/o People.com
SF: How would you describe your personal style?
CM: Quite bohemian. I wear a lot of prints but I also have my more black periods when I mostly wear skinny jeans and black tops.
SF: What’s your favorite way to wear them?
CM: With everything from jeans to shorts to a long dress.
SF: How many pairs of sandals do you own?
CM: I can’t count them. I am very lucky to be a size 37, so apart from the pairs I order I also get to keep many of the samples!
SF: What shoes can we find you in when you’re not wearing Ancient Greek Sandals?
CM: In the summer I only wear Ancient Greek Sandals and Crocs (not outside the house). Last winter I wore mostly my Margiela ‘70s boots, Converse, Stan Smiths, Rachel Comey and Valentino low boots.