By Victoria Herrera (Published January 22, 2013 on statusmagonline.com)
IVY KIRZHNER greets me with a warm, friendly hug as I enter her suite at the Empire Hotel. We are in New York, where this Filipina shoe designer beams with eager excitement for her big moment—she is launching her very first shoe line.
“I have always been cognizant of my eclectic worldview which never really had yet a chance to come out to full fruition aesthetically in my work until now.”
Set up all around the suite is her collection, consisting of Art Deco-inspired heels, flats, and sandals for Spring/Summer 2013. Definitely something for the “Girly girls,” the collection is extremely wearable and a work of art on its own. It is evident that Kirzhner has global influences. “Being a Philippine-born and New York City-bred American designer who constantly travels throughout Europe and Asia, I have always been cognizant of my eclectic worldview which never really had yet a chance to come out to full fruition aesthetically in my work until now,” she says.
This talented and humble artist has designed shoes in the global shoe industry for over ten years. “I am currently the Creative Director of Footwear for all BCBG brands, as well as the designer of Herve Leger footwear at the Camuto Group.” She has launched over 25 international and contemporary shoe brands like Dolce Vita and BCBG Max Azria. Yet despite her long experience, she is embarking on a whole new adventure. She says, “Earlier this year, I finally launched my own design and lifestyle branding house called Saint & Libertine New York LLC with my own eponymous contemporary-luxury line.”
“…a great designer needs to be able to take on any brand, find a way to relate to its perspective, create amazing designs, and progress with the times while staying true to the brand’s DNA.”
The decision for her to bravely create her own line seemed organic, “I won’t deny that I’ve always wanted to have one just to test and push my growth further as a designer and an entrepreneur. I’ve always been cognizant of the direction of my creative and career growth.” And speaking of growth, that is one of Kirzhner’s challenges when it comes to design. “Though I have always managed to be versatile as a designer, where I am in life has its way of manifesting through my work. I need to be able to relate to my designs and my product,” she says. “However, a great designer needs to be able to take on any brand, find a way to relate to its perspective, create amazing designs, and progress with the times while staying true to the brand’s DNA. This is incredibly hard to do for any growing designer.” With mentors from Steve Madden, Dolce Vita, and Vince Camuto grooming her, Kirzhner is very grateful for the people who taught her a lot about the industry and craft. “They are all very different from each other, each representing a certain facet of the business… The one thing that ties them together is each of their own passion for shoes and for the business… I could only hope to make all of them proud with what I do.”