One of Marilyn Monroe’s most famous quotes was: ‘Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.’ And boy, how true is that. Shoes are empowering with an ability to make you feel confident, push boundaries and strive for brilliance. “I bought my first pair of stilettos when I was 21 for my first job interview. They made me feel unstoppable and allowed me to walk into any boardroom and never look back,” said Elisa Bruno who leads the team at Level Shoes as General Manager.
Level Shoes is a globally recognised retail concept and destination dedicated to the world of designer shoes, which opened its door in 2012 in Dubai Mall. With over 200+ global brands including adidas, Amina Muaddi, Axel Arigato, Burberry, Jacquemus, Malone Souliers, Nike and many more, the store features a wide range of bespoke services that include personal shopping, The Personalisation Hub, men’s grooming services, Margaret Dabbs London Foot Spa and The Cobbler. The homegrown concept from the Chalhoub Group lives as a 96,000 sqft department store, divided into 23 designer boutiques, inclusive of Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Gucci and PresentedBy, to name a few, as well as six multibrand areas.
Elisa Bruno, with more than 20 years of retail experience in the luxury sector across Europe and the Middle East, talks about her innate love for shoes and how is Level shoes crafting a world of luxury shoes all in one place?
1. Can you please describe your journey so far in Level Shoes as a General Manager?
I feel very honored to be leading the most innovative brand in the region. It’s been a fantastic year for me in this role and my team and I have achieved so much together. I’ve spent over a decade here in the region, driving retail and marketing for top luxury brands, but this is by far the most exciting project.
I’m passionate about the fact that we are a homegrown, Middle Eastern brand with strong roots. We are proud to nurture and support local talents and constantly grow our portfolio of curated international brands. During my time within the region, I’ve seen the tremendous ambition, drive and innovation that has allowed Level Shoes to become the global footwear destination that it is today within the luxury shoe market.
3. How do you provide one of Dubai’s most innovative and luxurious shopping experiences?
Level Shoes continues providing to our clients unparalleled choice, inspiration and advice in a very authentic way. Our teams are trends scouts, expert advisors and relationship builders. We have a concierge team and in-store services such as The Personalisation Hub – where artists can hand paint anything you like on leather and canvas – , shoe repairs, shoe care, and pampering/ grooming for men and women. All of this together, boosted by very active social media presence and partnership with regional creatives, makes Level Shoes the most innovative retailer omni channel
4. Could you tell us more about the top trends that you’re seeing in shoes – Pumps, stilettos, sneakers, flats?
We have more than 250 brands at Level Shoes and every season we are adding even more brands from all over the world, as a result offering our community the best curated styles from adults to kids.
For spring summer 2022 women’s, the key trends are the return of the platforms (key brands: Versace, Amina Muaddi, Nodaleto, Paris Texas and Haus of Honey), bright colors (key brands: The Attico, Aquazzura, Paciotti and Malone Souliers) and more glitters (key brands: Mach & Mach and Rene Caovilla). We have also identified mini trends to a more niched group such as the return of the cowboy boots (Key Brands: Sonora, Khaite and Isabel Marant) and denim (Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander Wang and Senso)
Jumping to the men’s universe the key trends are the backless loafer (Key Brands: JW Anderson, Magnanni and Buanne). The “avant-garde” shoes, literally “advanced guard” – what means to place it ahead of the rest (key brands: Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Lemaire and Visvim), and the updated of the classic shoes (key brands: Magnanni, Edhen, Bougeotte)
7. How is Level Shoes weaving the e-commerce experience together with its physical stores for customers to have a unified experience?
This is a great question and is something that is so crucial in this day and age! With more and more consumer shopping online, it is critical that we mirror the omnichannel experience at every touch point with a memorable one! We unify by creating content that truly reflects who we are as a brand and use game changing initiatives and collaborations, giving that online element of diversity and style that is encapsulated in our store! Our website and Apps offer stimulating content that is enough to make anyone want to know more! We also offer click and collect in-store, which allows customers to purchase online exclusives but still get the in-store experience of collecting their shoes in-store. And we have just launched Live Selling sessions with our experts, so watch this space.
8. How is Level shoes crafting a world of luxury shoes all in one place?
We of course have our Dubai Mall store, but we have also opened a space in Riyadh park, Saudi Arabia – we have a very loyal clientele in KSA and we couldn’t ignore the demand for another level in the region! We have the full support of our e-commerce platform that delivers to the region and soon the rest of the world.
One of our main pillars is to keep the local relevance with a unique tone of voice and continue to be one of the main curated platforms for creativity and discovery. We execute this by featuring key regional and global designers, anticipating the trends and supporting the new talent in the region, in result becoming an incubator for local creatives and stylists.
9.What are your future plans and what does the future of luxury shoe retail look like?
The future of luxury shoe retail looks bigger and bright than ever! We are engaging with new audiences by innovating and curating new ways to wow our consumers! You will see us connecting with our clients with a more authentic voice via our socials and website. We will offer more personalization, content, early access, customization, private clientelling and virtual try on!
We will continue to incorporate sustainable behaviors into our way of working. We are also working on a collab that will enable Level Shoes to launch a pre owned / second life initiative on our ecomm. We plan on introducing even more lifestyle destinations within the store and keep growing our content factory with community focused strategy and metaverse mindset.
We will continue to grow our already multinational team and open a Level Shoes Retail Footwear academy which will be available to anyone and everyone globally to educate keen leaners on everything you need to know about the world of footwear.—
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