An object can change your life. For Lorine Driot, it was a pair of shoes. Venezuelan, no less. A delicate and vaguely insignificant gift from her mother-in-law. The beginnings of a butterfly effect. With a system of interchangeable ties, the accessory has become a game for Lorine. She ended up replacing the original plastic threads by Liberty fabric; she realised her creation had potential. Nupié was born. After years of hesitation, Lorine finally took the plunge. A brand of sandals you can endlessly personalise, what a great idea! The detachable ties come from the entire world. Made by Thai and Guatemalan craftspeople, they go with a golden-brown leather sole made by a renowned Italian maker. Real folk jewels for your feet. ERES loved them and they chose to collaborate with Nupié to make a collection of summer shoes. Their designs suit every swimsuit the lingerie brand sells. Lorine would love to see her brand become a must have in the wardrobes of elegant women from the entire world. This dream may soon come true, but for now, The Socialite Family went to meet her in her house in Switzerland. The businesswoman told us about her experiences, in a space full of colourful ribbons. Her house has quickly become her lab. A place for experimenting but also for playing. A light haven of peace, for stylistic associations we will all wear within a few months only.
Lorine, can you tell us the story of your brand?
Some years ago, my mother-in-law bought me a pair of sandals from Venezuela. The sole had a system which enabled to adapt multi-colour plastic threads to tie the sandal to the ankle. I used to change every day the colours of the threads. I thought it was very practical, especially for me, since I travelled a lot at that time… After several months, the plastic threads broke. I lived in London and I kept buying Liberty fabric, thinking I was going to do something with it. This is how I got the idea of replacing the worn threads by fabric ribbons!
What’s exactly the concept?
Nupié is a brand of sandals you can endlessly personalise. The sole, made by an Italian renowned maker, is a base of black/golden natural leather on which we adapt fabric ribbons. The idea is to decorate this one with ribbons which suit the clothes you wear and your current mood. We work with craftspeople from the whole world so we create handmade ethnic ribbons, using ancestral weaving and embroidery techniques. It’s possible to use different techniques to tie them! It enables our customers to choose what makes them have a unique sandal which is different every day.
What made you want to start this entrepreneurial adventure?
It took me too long to get into Nupié. I talked about it a lot, it was my dream but I wasn’t able to make the first move. Then, when my daughter was born, I stopped working and I felt it was the moment to start this adventure. My husband had to encourage me: he told me I had talked about it and worked on the concept too much not to do it… It opened my eyes and I took the plunge! He went with me to Italy to see a lot of sandals manufacturers. It took me very long to finalise the production aspects but the most difficult part was done!
Who are the women who inspire you the most?
I’m usually fascinated by free women. I like people who succeed in defining their most intimate and sincere desires without being influenced by the dictates of our society. It’s a form of eccentricity I like but I’m not like this. More specifically, the businesswomen who succeed in juggling their professional and family lives without being stressed amaze me.
How did your first meeting with ERES go?
What a surprise when they called me to meet me! I went to the meeting without wondering about anything and I came out very surprised and happy! Was that possible to work with the brand of my dreams? The team is very professional and I’m glad to work with them.
What would your favourite design in the collection be?
Every ERES design by Nupié is elegant and suits the 2017 ERES swimsuits. As for the Nupié ribbons, I prefer those which are handmade by craftspeople all around the world. I admit I prefer the very coloured Karen design the Karen tribe wove in the North of Siam.
How would you like to develop your brand?
My craziest dream would be that Nupié becomes a must have in the dressing room of elegant and cool women. It requires time and persistence!
Photography : Constance Gennari – Text : Caroline Balvay @thesocialitefamily