Women’s shoe shopping is always rife with the potential for a Cinderella moment. What if that life-changing lacy pump, suede ankle strap or black fringe bootie, even in your proper size, doesn’t fit? Enter Mary Alice Malone. A native Pennsylvanian who studied traditional English shoemaking at the London College of Fashion, Malone has already made a name for herself in the past year with Malone Souliers, her ready-to-wear collection of elegant single-sole pumps, lace-up oxford booties and sleek d’Orsays, available at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue.
But it’s her made-to-measure program that truly sets her apart from the rest. Out of her studio in Mayfair, London, Malone works one-on-one with clients to craft shoes that she makes entirely by hand. The process begins with a consultation that includes a fitting and discussion of details desired, such as heel height, color, material, ankle fit and strap placement. A mock-up is created and additional fittings are done as needed until the final product is approved. While she does use existing casts from her collections, the remainder of the shoe is entirely bespoke, a practice akin to that of John Lobb’s own made-to-measure program. The full process takes about two months and includes multiple fittings.
Though other women’s shoe brands have offered made-to-measure options, none have had a woman at the helm. “The tradition has been that women adjust to whatever size is offered and if it doesn’t fit, you go up a size. But in men’s fashion, you go in and a suit or a shoe is fitted to you,” says Malone. “I’m quite intrigued with providing that service to women. It’s an equalizer.”
Malone Souliers made-to-measure shoes, from $2,500; malonesouliers.com.