Q&A | Julia Toledano of Nodaleto
Julia Toledano is the designer and co-founder (with creative director, Olivier Leone) of Nodaleto. Fashion journalism and Law were Julia’s subjects of study, before dropping out to pursue her childhood dream. As a shoe addict herself, it’s no wonder that her passion for creating a brand evolved into shoemaking.
Nodaleto, an anagram for her family name, Toledano, is becoming as much of her inspiration comes from worldly familial experiences. In honor of her family’s globetrotting tendencies, traces of her heritage camouflage with an authentically distinct aesthetic: ’90s luxury minimalism meets a ‘70s archetype.
Designed in Paris, and crafted in Venice, Julia’s playful, yet sophisticated spin on classic shoe silhouettes are turning heads, and toes. Toledano is creating a shoe legacy in the making. With respect for shoe gods like Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo, Julia is focused on crafting a new empire— a renaissance of statement shoes.
How did the launch of Nodaleto come to be?
I've wanted to start a shoe brand for a long time. Actually, it was my childhood dream! During my childhood, I was designing for myself only and didn't go to a fashion school.
I went to law school in Paris and received a master's in fashion journalism. But really quickly I became more and more obsessed with the idea of starting my brand, and of course, shoes were not an option for me, it was THE thing. So I start doing some research of what I wanted... the name, the aesthetic, the line, etc... and then decided to go to London College of Fashion to take classes on technical shoe aspects. I went to Italy to visit factories, then came back to Paris and started one year ago-- the beginning of everything.
How has your family's heritage inspired your designs?
It's more inspired by my life in general. Nodaleto is the result of what I am, the aesthetic I like, what I was dreaming of wearing as a shoe addict.
My family heritage inspired the brand itself in a global aspect. Andalusia inspired the color of the brand, Tangerine, which I used in patent leather in my collection... between red and orange, love and happiness. For the minimalism aspect of the shoes, I like quality fabrics and architectural lines.
Any specific memories which sparked your career change from law and journalism to luxury shoemaking?
Of course, so much!
I remember, and you can ask my friends at school, I was designing during classes at the end of my notebooks. And I would tell everyone at school what I really dreamed about. I don't regret my first career because as a CEO and designer of the brand, I have to know all the aspect to manage.
What's your favorite era of shoe trends? And how does nostalgia impact your design structures?
It's kind of obvious in my design, of course, I want to do it more contemporary, but I'm so inspired by 70's shoes: platforms, and block heels. But also the '90s; I'm from the '90s generation and I was really into this fashion era.
When I design, I try not to do just vintage shoes, but of course, I have my inspiration. So I do a lot of research on what I like in art, movies, photos, design, and then just design what I have in my head at the end. I like to close my eyes and imagine a girl with a new pair of shoes, how is she going to wear it, and where. Something that I can’t find anywhere, something that I dream of having, but more for the architecture, design, furniture, and of course, fashion. It's really an obsession. I can go through archives for hours, days even.
Where do you envision Nodaleto years from now?
I know what I want and how I want to grow for the brand, but I like to live day by day, not planning everything; I like hazards... goods ones. I want to be known as a statement shoe brand between cool and luxury. It's important for me always to keep the product as the top of my list, and work hard on it. But I also want to grow to give customers a whole universe, to keep them dreaming of shoes because this is how I feel. I'm dreaming about shoes, and I want and need to share this feeling with customers.
What can we anticipate for collection two?
You'll always find the Nodaleto aesthetics but with a different way to interpret. We have a lot to share in the future, a lot of ideas…