Tuesday 20 March 2018

Divito’s designs get off on the right foot

Footwear designer Nina Divito with some of her range of ladies shoes. Inset: Hollywood star Danny DeVito is a distant relative of her family. MARTIN NOLAN
Footwear designer Nina Divito with some of her range of ladies shoes. Inset: Hollywood star Danny DeVito is a distant relative of her family. MARTIN NOLAN
Nina Divito with some of the boots she has designed. Photo: Martin Nolan
Shoe designer Nina Divito poses with one of her new boot designs. Photo: Martin Nolan
Designer Nina Divito with her range of designer ladies footwear which will be exclusivley available at Brown Thomas from mid August. Photo: Martin Nolan
rish Artist and Shoe Designer Nina Divito (left) and Award winning NUI Maynooth Lecturer Damini Kumar (right) chat with Cathriona Hallahan Managing Director of Microsoft's EMEA Operations Centre who was named 2009 O2 Businesswoman of the year who spoke to Microsoft employees at a Womens networking Event. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Bairbre Power

Bairbre Power

SHOE designer Nina Divito celebrated the launch of her second collection yesterday with a mixture of pride and sadness.

Her collection of 16 new shoes and boots received rave reviews for their luxurious feel and ingenious inclusion of couture lace.

The vertiginous footwear, featuring python, rolled velvet, ponyskin and buttersoft Nappa leather, was the centre of attention in the large, baroque-style flat over Number eight, O'Connell Street.

The flat, with its panoramic views out over the capital's main street, was home to her grandparents Ercole and Maria Divito. Sadly, Ercole (82) was buried on Tuesday, but he would have been proud of the achievements of his grand-daughter who launched her luxury shoe label earlier this year .

It was a bold step in an industry dominated by male designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin.

However, Nina pursued her dream of turning her paintings of shoes into a reality and she scored considerable commercial success with her debut collection, which sold out in Brown Thomas.

The Foxrock woman only supplies to Brown Thomas in Ireland and sells privately in England. Her shoes retail from €395 for patent ballerina flats called Jackie to €1,100 for mid-calf python boots called Lara.

Yesterday, there was a lot of excitement about Nina's decision to work with lace, which she sourced in France. Lace is one of the big fashion trends this autumn-winter season and Nina's lace has been reinforced with elastic so it translates into a workable shoe fabric in the Giorgi sandal (€540).

Her attention to detail is immense, and even the platform is covered with sexy lace, while the Jeni shoe (€595) features an embroidered lace ruffle lined with suede.

The real showstopper is the Becca D, a mixture of a Nappa court shoe with a flight of fancy and a ruffle of embroidered couture lace and suede.

While Nina's ancestors, the Divitos and Cafollas, came to Ireland to sell handmade ice-cream, she travels to Strada near Padua in northern Italy to factories where her designs are translated into leather and luxurious fabrics by old-school Venetian shoe experts employing age-old techniques. This season, she has introduced slightly lower heels for those who love the glamorous look, but don't want six-inch skyscrapers.

Nina's decision to launch her collection in the old family home over the former Broadway Cafe is an indication of her sense of family, something which grabbed a famous distant relative – Hollywood actor Danny DeVito – when he was here to promote his film ‘Matilda’ in the mid-1990s.

He arrived in a limousine outside Number eight, O'Connell Street one afternoon, after saying he wanted to track down his Irish roots on ‘The Late Late Show’. The pint-sized star and his bodyguard arrived at the flat. Nina's grandmother, Maria, brought him into her kitchen for a cup of coffee.

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