Designer Chat: Shipley & Halmos

Jeff Halmos, one-half of the CFDA award-winning creative firm Shipley & Halmos, says there’s an unwritten rule that if he or design partner Sam Shipley wouldn’t wear it, they won’t make it. It’s a guideline that’s helped actualize a focused (just three styles) and well-received debut collection of men’s footwear for fall and is providing the framework for the duo’s Spring ’12 collection.

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Jeff Halmos, one-half of the CFDA award-winning creative firm Shipley & Halmos, says there’s an unwritten rule that if he or design partner Sam Shipley wouldn’t wear it, they won’t make it. It’s a guideline that’s helped actualize a focused (just three styles) and well-received debut collection of men’s footwear for fall and is providing the framework for the duo’s Spring ’12 collection.

Having already coined a signature look in men’s and women’s apparel—modern, clean-cut, minimalist yet laidback—and earning prime retail space in Barneys, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom nationwide, Halmos says footwear felt like the next step for the company. “We take inspiration from classic designs, but with a new twist,” Halmos says, adding a new last shape, a new way of construction or new colors can give timeless silhouettes a contemporary feel. The all-leather line for spring includes a cap-toe oxford, which Halmos notes can be worn with a suit or jeans; two lace-up boots; and an unstructured, thin-soled desert boot. Even in untraditional colors like mauve pink, light gray and yellow, the designer predicts the suede boot will be a best-seller. “The line is still in its early inception, but accounts are picking up,” he says, noting that, in general, retailers are more positive.

The footwear collection is designed to create a complete and balanced look with Shipley & Halmos apparel (which recently expanded to men’s formal wear), but Halmos believes the styles can be adopted into any wardrobe. “Men, in particular, need more options of styles that are easy to wear and can be paired with dress clothes or with shorts,” he explains. —Angela Velasquez

Which shoe designer label do you admire most? I like Prada for its incredible quality; Dries Van Noten for details; and Maison Martin Margiela for new ideas.

What inspires you? We tend to take inspiration outside of fashion. We like music, film and traveling. And Sam keeps up with blogs.

What is on your design wish list? We’ve been talking about partnering with a watch company on a collaboration. We have some interesting concepts.

What would you be doing if you weren’t designing? I have no idea, but Sam is always going on about how he wants to be in a band, so I’d say Sam would be a musician of some sort.

What do you enjoy most about your job? What I like about Shipley & Halmos is how we take a creative approach to problem solving. It’s like a puzzle and a decision always has to be made.

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