Dallas Designer Offers Handmade Footwear

Up-and-coming shoe designer Rocio Ildemaro lives right here in Big D

Ladies, if your Manolo Blahniks just aren't doing it for you this year, it's time to check out Rocio Ildemaro, the newest shoe designer on the block who is quickly being recognized as one of the hot designers in women's shoes.

After flying away from a job with Southwest Airlines and deciding she also didn't care that much about the money as an investment banker, Ildemaro decided to follow her love and went to Italy to learn how to make and design shoes.

We're talking old school here: No computers or conveyor belts where robots make the shoes. In Italy, they still teach shoe making entirely by hand with exacting precision. Measurements are in half-millimeter sizes.

Ildemaro has been making shoes since 2004 and has been driven to launch her own line all along.

Initially, she began making one-off custom shoes for individual clients. Being in touch directly with the client is the best teacher,  Ildemaro said. From that, Ildemaro learned how to design a shoe around an outfit.

Along the way, she commissioned a factory in the Veneto district of Italy to have her own designs made. There, they make the shoes entirely by hand and are every bit as demanding as she is.

That is what sets her shoes apart from others. Each skin is meticulously chosen and handled to ensure comfort and quality. 

Ildemaro is passionate about the art of making the shoe, and said it's a beautiful process.

"I designed my fall collection thinking about what I wanted to wear. I play with texture and use gold hardware-like buttons and studs," she says.

Ildemaro stays away from the really trendy looks, such as the Greco-Roman look that came out a short while ago. Her shoes are very textural and gorgeous-looking. One of her latest designs is a silver and gold high heel, and it gets attention wherever she goes.

Constantly traveling between Italy, New York and her home in Dallas, she can't even take the time to smell the roses.

While she's excited to see her shoes hit stores such as Gregory's in Dallas' Galleria and Pome, a new boutique soon to open in Preston Centre, she can't really stop to think about that because she's already busy at work for the next season's designs.   

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