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Interview with Ilse Pallua, the creative mind behind Benvado

We talked to the designer who puts her experience at the service of the entire product design cycle.

Ben: Benvado shoes are not only comfortable. They also look very smart.
Where does the creative process start?

Ilse: Our research starts with an analysis of global, social and fashion trends that we learn about through different channels: the Internet, conferences, trade fairs and also the market itself. Then we design different styles with the “Benvado woman” in mind, a woman who wears our shoes every day with joy and passion.

B: How to you decide which trends are right for the Benvado brand?
I: We want to maintain a balance between comfort and fashion, with a a woman like me in mind. Someone who needs various types of shoes for various occasions during her day.

B: How did the attention for comfort come about?
I: We live in an increasingly hectic time that, on one hand, has us on the run all the time, and on the other, has caused us to develop philosophies of life that are more attentive to relaxation and wellness. What’s more, in this day and age, women are no longer expected to suffer while wearing beautiful shoes. From a certain point of view, the old saying “looking beautiful is hard work” is no longer true. Here at Benvado, we start with he general concept that “feeling well equals wellness”, which involves the whole person, not only the shoes. Then, for our shoes, we start with the shape of the foot. We want our shoes to “embrace” our feet and not constrict them into unnatural positions.

B: Which characteristics do you look for in the materials?
I: We pay a great deal of attention to our leathers, and have them tested and certified at external laboratories. Our objective is to offer softness, beauty and durability.

B: How do you choose the name of a shoe, and therefore of an entire line?

I: We give each model a woman’s name, and each line is named after a city. Our shoes are just like most of our customers, who live in cities. We introduce new models with each new season, and before they officially enter the collection, the prototypes undergo a long testing process. We prepare a list of possible names, but only when we see the prototype for the first time we do know what name to give it! It’s a bit like when parents see their new baby for the first time in the delivery room: one look and they know which name is right!

B: Tell us two adjectives that describe Benvado shoes.
I: Naturalness and beauty.

B: As of right now, what is the greatest satisfaction that Benvado has brought you?
Hearing so many customers say: “... they’re so comfortable - I don't want to ever take them off!!”

B: Which particular characteristics do Benvado sandals and shoes have? 
I: These shoes are made to accompany women through many hours, they are not purchases for individual occasions, but become “friends” for everyday wear.

B: Which is your favourite shoe?
I: It’s hard to choose. From a certain standpoint, I am partial to all of our models, because I follow the design process and I see them take shape. However, if I have to consider my own personal style, which is clearly urban – casual, the Nellie model comes to mind. It’s one of our first ankle boot models, and I love wearing it.

B: What advice would you like to give women about shoes?
I: Well, choosing the right shoe for your foot is vital. Try them on in the store and walk around to see how they feel on your feet. Also, learn to be aware of your own feet. Beauty is important, and for this reason at Benvado we pay attention to style and aesthetics, but the most important thing is to choose the right shoe to ensure that your feet stay in good health.

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