Making The Ballet Mule2021-03-25
While the introduction of a new silhouette is punctuated with a fizzy feel of excitement, there's no denying that a lot of work went into the creation process.
In this new series, Sarah opens up her diary for a peek behind the scenes, looking back at key moments in the design, development, and production of our newest styles to give you a first look at how we do what we do when taking a silhouette from sketch to reality. Up first, The Ballet Mule.
This Ballet Mule started as all new products do, with a spark of inspiration, which through David’s skilled hands became a sketch. We then sent the sketch on to the factory, where it passed through the hands of countless suppliers and technicians, each working on the individual components that contributed to the greater whole: Lasts, patterns, soles, insoles, stitching, cutting, and so on down the line until voila! The first prototype. And this is where remote product development becomes complicated—and interesting.
The most critical step for Margaux in any product development process is the rigorous fit-testing that occurs throughout the lifetime of a product’s development. Every sample (and there are often many), is tried and tested by a professional fit model, who gives us direction (a millimeter here, a millimeter there) as we look to nail the perfect fit. While we used to gather in the conference room at Margaux’s Chelsea headquarters for in-person fit trials, the new realities of our virtual world meant these fit trials happened remotely. So, we gathered on Zoom for virtual fittings, intuitively trusting our longtime fit model as we moved through round after round. After months of back and forth—a sometimes comical merry-go-round of shuffling samples between our factory in Spain, me in Florida (where I was home with family), our fit model in New Jersey, and Nadine and David in New York—we finally nailed the look and the fit of this new mule.
Fast-forward to today, and The Ballet Mule is just a few weeks live on the site, with pairs shipping to customers around the country. It has certainly struck a chord, just as we hoped it would and believed it might. Back home in Chelsea, I have come to relish the everyday ritual of slipping into a trusty pair of jeans, a soft sweater, and my now well-loved pair of saddle Ballet Mule samples, which I’ve kept on daily rotation for several months. Grey winter days have given way to cloudless blue skies and budding trees that hint of spring. While I sit at my dining table (turned makeshift workstation) preparing orders and color cards for future collections, I am reminded that there is so much to be grateful for—and so much we have learned along the way.
And as I fire up my laptop for what promises to be another whirlwind day, it’s both comforting and inspiring to remember that despite one year of sudden and constant change, our mission and message is not just unchanged, but more relevant than ever: That every woman deserves to feel as beautiful as she does comfortable, wherever she is going and whatever she is doing (even if that means never leaving home). And for me, the Ballet Mule does just that.