It’s a well-known fact that a woman cannot have too many pairs of shoes. While I spend much of my time in Birkenstocks and trainers, I still need pairs of pretty shoes for when my beloved whisks me away – you all know it’s me that does the whisking, don’t you? – for a night on the town or a romantic trip. I’m a sucker for this uber fabulous, relatively new Parisian – what else? – brand.
Reader Alert: you’re about to fall in love with footwear brand, Ghazal Paris – and its founder, Houda Gianasso. Established in 2019, the line epitomises understated glamour – a pair of Houda Gianasso’s shoes are a must-have wardrobe feature for discerning dressers, which I like to think includes me.
Drawing inspiration from her French and Moroccan heritage, Houda melds timeless silhouettes with modern touches, creating refined statement pieces that are oh-so wearable.
Her current collection features killer heels and platforms, ankle boots and pretty pumps. Best to clear some extra space in your wardrobes – Houda has planned a number of launches over the coming year, and, trust me, you’ll want to nab a pair or two!
The shoes are crafted in Italy with love, and when it comes to silhouettes there’s a whole range to cater to all penchants. From killer heels and platforms to ankle boots, timeless pumps, blocked heel beauties and intricate flats that are oh-so Audrey Hepburn.
Ghazal’s Italian production team in Florence is a small family business who worked with Yves Saint Laurent and Manolo Blahnik in the nineties. Italian craftsmanship is key.
As for the materials, there’s leather (in metallic and patent forms too), as well as sumptuous satin and crystal adornments that serves up glamour aplenty. Gorgeous.
How did it begin?
Houda did not grow up in a family of fashion players. Her family lives in Morocco, where her mother is a doctor and her father an engineer turned entrepreneur in the maritime industry. But creativity was constantly present. From her early childhood, her mother encouraged her to use her hands to create something…..…her imagination had no limit.
She studied Management at HEC Paris and has a master’s degree in law. She wanted to become an actress, then a lawyer; she worked as a Data Analyst, and today, she’s an entrepreneur. Born in 1989, she belongs to this multifaceted generation of millennials who constantly question the tension between myth and reality.
I have always had a noticeably clear vision of what I wanted to create, and I still do. I needed to reinvent a paragon of woman that was lost. I wanted something iconic. It is key to understand that Ghazal is a posture, an attitude. The Ghazal woman is discerning, genuine, self-confident, strong, smart, kind, and beautiful at the same time, whatever these concepts mean to her. I want her to reveal the inner power she has. My shoes are here to embellish her, they are a detail. They must be a detail.
She resigned from her previous job in January 2019, got married and began working on her project in April 2019, got pregnant in May 2019, and launched Ghazal in November 2019.
I guess my energy came from the fact that I never take things for granted. Learn to dare and dare to learn again, with faith, humility, and courage. Pride will follow.
The process from sketch to production…
It begins with a moodboard of inspirations that Houda draws from various sources: photography, art, books, archives, but also from her nalysis of the market and its needs. At the same time, she sources materials at leather fairs like Lineapelle in Milan that take place twice a year.
The designs are then sent to her production office in Florence who makes the first prototype shoe in her chosen material. She then meets with the team in Florence for the first prototype meeting where they try the shoes, spending time adjusting them for more comfort and beauty. At the end of this first meeting, the second prototype batch of shoes is launched. The work cycle is repeated and only when Houda is convinced the shoes meet all her expectations, she launches the batch of samples for the campaign photo shoot in the chosen colour palette.
She’ll then work on a moodboard for the campaign shoot, look for a photographer and a stylist. Voila, the magic becomes reality.
Flexibility, Italian savoir-faire, and Houda’s fresh eye on the fashion industry.
Shop (or just lust over) the brand on its website.
All images courtesy of Ghazal Paris