Quite often, people will talk about a passion for a craft being in the genes. In Aruna Seth’s case, it stands to reason that it is actually true. The internationally renowned shoe designer takes her inspiration from father Geoff, whose multi-million pound footwear empire was partly responsible for inspiring Aruna to start her own brand. “The connections we needed to get for the Aruna Seth business have been totally different to his business,” she stresses, “ but he has been great to get advice from and moral support. I can ask my dad anything from the finances of the business to the designs of the shoes. He is my biggest inspiration and role model.”
Aruna admits that whilst shoes are in her blood, her dad isn’t the only reason she started up her brand. “I could never find the perfect shoes for day to evening occasions,” she says. “I wanted to create shoes for the red carpet with that extra ‘wow’ factor, to create shoes leaving an impression and create designs girls quickly build up a strong emotional attachment to.” As with any girl with a passion for shoes, Aruna is also aware of problem numero uno – a shoe that embodies stunning design quite often eschews comfort in favour of a painful heel. So, how to get around that? “We like to differentiate ourselves from other designers, as our USP is the special padding in our shoes,” she reveals. “It is plush leather padding which supports the foot for all-day wear. Our shoes are glamourous yet comfortable – like comfort for the feet!” she laughs. Don’t just take Aruna’s word for it, though, as even Hollywood legend Goldie Hawn has been waxing lyrical about her love for the shoes: “The minute I put them on, I did not want to take them off. They were so comfortable….and for evening shoes, that’s saying a lot!”
As it happens, Aruna is equally complimentary of Goldie, when I ask her who she thinks has worn her shoes well. “We’ve had loads of great celebrities wearing our shoes,” she tells me, “from Kate Hudson and Olivia Munn to Goldie Hawn. It is so satisfying to see celebrities wearing our designs. It is what I started the brand for; the shoes were born to be seen on the red carpet and it’s great when it happens.”
One other celebrity who has worn Aruna’s shoes to great acclaim is none other than Pippa Middleton, who “dresses quite classically and is quintessentially smart,” Aruna says when I ask her about Pippa’s fashion style. “If you look closely at what she wears compared to her sister, you’ll see she is a lot more adventurous with the brands she chooses to wear. She’ll experiment with unheard of brands, whereas Kate sticks to well-known ones. But seeing Pippa wear our shoes with her Temperley green dress on the day of the Royal Wedding was amazing!”
I’m interested to know which shoe Aruna would say is her favourite. “Our butterfly shoe has been our best-seller,” she says. “Brides in particular love this design as showing a little bit of sparkle from beneath a bridal dress is lovely! A butterfly signifies independence and freedom, so I think this is why so many ladies are attracted to this shoe. My first fashion memory is playing with my mother’s shoes. She had a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes with butterflies on. Seeing these pretty shoes inspired me to come up with my infamous butterfly design, which has become a best-selling shoe – it just really took off and consumers loved it!”
Aside from her own brand, Aruna is also a big fan of Manolo Blahnik. “I love his inspiring designs,” she confesses. “His shoes are colourful, great shapes and I love his iconic design which featured on Sex And The City. I love the magic he has created behind the brand.” Clothing-wise, Aruna dresses “classically,” with investment purchases from Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Roland Mouret. “They may be more expensive than the average dress, but these dresses last, stand the test of time, are well fitted and created from great materials,” she tells me. On the subject of Victoria Beckham, Aruna speaks very highly of the singer-turned-designer. “I love Victoria Beckham dresses and her designs,” she says. “I wear her dresses a great deal for press days and events. Her designs are well-made, great materials and a good cut. I admire Victoria Beckham because even she had to fight her corner in the fashion world. Even though she was extremely famous, she had to win the fashion crowd around with her designs and work hard to gain recognition in the fashion industry.”
Finally, I’m keen to know who Aruna would most like to see wearing her shoes. “Kate Middleton, as she is a style icon,” she reveals. “She is doing a tremendous job of looking superbly classic and hasn’t put a fashion foot wrong. She has a highly pressurized position of looking utterly fabulous at all times. I’d love to offer her some of our Aruna Seth flat ballerinas to run around after the Royal baby when it arrives in July!” Kate, if you’re reading this….