Nicole Saldaña’s eccentric, highly-coveted shoes send a jolt of excitement through one’s body. Her distinctive silhouettes—with their curved metal heels, palladium soles, squared toes, and brazen buckles—have captured the hearts (and feet!) of editors and celebrities alike. Wrought with rubberized leather, printed satin, suede, velvet, and marabou feathers in hues ranging from neon chartreuse to jet black, Saldaña’s footwear is a reflection of her friend circle in New York. And this month, the California-native brings pieces from her Spring 2019 collection to mobile marketplace Depop’s Mott Street outpost in Manhattan. Alongside her patent leather sandals and gingham Mary Jane sneakers is a handpicked selection of vintage ready-to-wear and accessories.
“I’ve always imagined this world from a 360 degree perspective,” Saldaña says of her namesake label, noting the importance of understanding how her audience dresses year round. “My friends and I mix lots of vintage with new pieces, so this collaboration with Depop feels like a personal way to bring that to life.”
The former design director of Opening Ceremony, who worked with Humberto Leon and Carol Lim to relaunch Kenzo in 2011, has shopped on the platform, but never sold through it. Saldaña’s first-ever “Depop Shop” features pieces she’s collected over the years, from a vintage Miu Miu backpack she fell in love with in the early aughts to an early-1990s Alaïa dress she purchased in the West Village from a woman clearing her wardrobe in a stoop sale. “I thought one day I might have a vintage shop,” she reminisces. “So I collected these pieces in anticipation of that.”
A Jean Paul Gaultier floral mesh tank, a faux-leopard printed sheath dress by Todd Oldham, and a striped Krizia wrap skirt all point to Saldaña’s love for the ’90s and ’00s. “The way that stars like Janet Jackson, J. Lo, and Mariah Carey dressed really stuck in my library of references,” she explains, citing their body-skimming Ungaro, D&G, and Prada ensembles. “It’s definitely a reflection of my upbringing.” But it’s also a reflection of her namesake label.
While watered-down iterations of Phoebe Philo-esque minimalism continue to dominate the contemporary footwear category, Saldaña bucks the mold by imbuing her shoes with old-school exuberance. It’s a technique that could easily feel tired if it weren’t grounded by her experiences of the ’90s and early aughts. And among the throwback styles at Depop, it somehow feels even more fresh.
Nicole Saldaña’s collaboration with Depop is available at the retailer’s Mott Street location through Thursday, February 28th.