There are major brands of shoes whose names alone denote their popularity such as Walter Steiger, Christian Louboutin, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo … But some small labels here in Saigon manage to attract a huge audience and a reputation for design and originality all by working discreetly and diligently under the radar. ‘Les Saigonnaises‘ is one of those brands that offers an elegant and feminine aesthetic, rooted in classic shapes and designs, but with subtly unique details. Think: adjustable hook or delicate ankle straps, no more heavy shoes and stiff soles, but electric colored flat or hight shoes all made in Saigon. Chit-chat with one of the founder: Anne Busschaert.
Bliss Saigon: How did it all come about? How did you make the courageous jump to being an entrepreneur and start your own business in Ho Chi Minh City?
Anne Busschaert: This amazing adventure started thanks to a friendship! Newly-arrived in Saigon, I met Vanessa Rabillon. Just like that, a spark between us made it clear that we will work together. As we both loved fashion, design, and art we looked into a project that could combine our passions with our new lifestyle in Saigon. Very quickly, we fell in love with the city: the burning sun, the languorous warmth, the sweetness of life… and the refreshing monsoon! We needed to reinvent our wardrobe from head to toes! We concentrated on the shoes (as we did not find any here that we liked) to be able to walk, trot and even dance all night with glamour and style but as well in a relaxed and casual way. We needed it for the hot hours of the days and during the rainy season, and so the brands ‘Les Saigonnaises’ was born.
BS: What about the name ‘Les Saigonnaises’?
Anne Busschaert: After coming up with the idea of a Shoe Project, it became obvious that we will name them ‘Les Saigonnaises’. First, this project is born in Saigon and was a wink to our friendship. But more important, this name reflects the spirit and the poetry of this amazing country and city that are Vietnam and Saigon: our shoes are an invitation for traveling, strolling and musing into this energetic city and its fascinating countryside. The name ‘Les Saigonnaises’ is an ode to this beauty and cultural richness.
BS: What is your signature?
Anne Busschaert: We wanted to develop shoes combining our passions for design and fashion with our new casual lifestyle. All our collections of shoes reflect an extreme femininity, simplicity, audacity (with a vibrant color range), lightness, comfort, and is easy to wear (easy clip).
BS: What are your criteria for well-constructed and well-designed shoes?
Anne Busschaert: We always enrich our collections with models that we would like to wear ourselves. We must first like it. We try all our models until we feel perfectly comfortable and feminine. Our shoes are here to embellish every single women silhouette and legs.
BS: Is comfort important to you when designing? What makes the perfect pair of shoes?
Anne Busschaert: Absolutely! How can a woman feel great and confident if her feet are hurting her after 5 min walk? We believe that we can develop both extremely feminine fashionable and comfortable shoes. If you can walk all day or dance all night without thinking about your feet while feeling feminine and sophisticated, then we have reached our goal!
BS: What is for you the perfect shoes?
Anne Busschaert: The perfect pair of shoes is those that fit your mood! You feel sexy: we have high heels for you; You feel to be fashionable: we have designer Boots; You feel casual, we have cozy Flats! Perfect shoes are the ones that make you feel more confident to go through the day. “Give a girl the right shoes and she will conquer the world,” said Marylin Monroe! This quote always makes us smile and has driven our creations throughout time.
BS: What style of shoes do you like?
Anne Busschaert: All shoes that meet my style and mood of the day! I can wear super comfy winter boots with a skinny short during the day and the same skinny short with a super sexy pair of heels at night. All that I am looking for is to feel in harmony with myself in my shoes.
BS: What style of shoes do you dislike?
Anne Busschaert: I am not a fan of shoes which ask you to choose between comfort and femininity. I believe that we do not have to choose, we can have it all!
BS: For what sort of woman do you design for?
Anne Busschaert: Our shoes are designed for all woman who is seeking for femininity and confidence. We develop different designs corresponding to all women style and body features with a large range of colors, details, and sizes. No way that women cannot find their bliss!
BS: If someone is interested in ordering shoes from ‘Les Saigonnaises’, what advice can you give them about selecting style and color?
Anne Busschaert: Our shoes are easy to wear. Don’t be afraid to mix and match! It’s only important that you feel comfortable with your style. With one single pair of shoes, you can have different looks depending on the accessories you will add to your outfit. So, every woman can feel absolutely confident in our shoes, there is no possible mistake. I personally have the same model in different colors that I match with different outfits or occasions.
BS: What’s next for the collection?
Anne Busschaert: 2018 will add a new milestone to the brand! First, I am very happy that Anne-Cecile agreed to join the team as Vanessa left for new personal adventures. Vanessa has been and will be always here with us and I thank her from the deepest of my heart for this great adventure. Anne-Cecile Pistenon has the same passions for Fashion and Shoes. We met in Saigon (this city is definitively magical!) and together we decided to add a new milestone for the brand: we have new exciting development projects for ‘Les Saigonnaises‘ in terms of new collections and distribution outlets and more… You will hear soon from us!