x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Mother-daughter design team Lina and Tala Samman in step with trends

Dubai's much-photographed, stylish socialites Lina and Tala Samman have just gone designed shoes for the e-tailer my-wardrobe.com and the high-end shoe label Bionda Castana.

The Tala: pillar-box red, soft suede pump with ankle strap; classic shoe with scalloped detailing. Sarah Dea / The National
The Tala: pillar-box red, soft suede pump with ankle strap; classic shoe with scalloped detailing. Sarah Dea / The National

Lina on "The Lina"

You and Tala teamed up with Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman, the creative forces behind Bionda Castana, to develop these shoes. Did you know the style you wanted from the start or change your mind many times?

I had a design in mind from the start. I knew exactly what I wanted. It needed to be very elegant, chic and attractive. It also had to be a little different and eye-catching.

What occasion would you wear this boot to, and what kind of outfit do you team it with?

They are very versatile boots, easy to mix and match. I could wear them to formal occasions or dress them down casually with skinny jeans and a shirt. They also go well with dresses, preferably short or mid-length ones to show them off.

How did you come up with the colour combo?

I thought red and off-white would be nice because I'm so used to finding and buying monochrome shoes.

Both you and your daughter chose red. Do you share the same design tastes in general?

In general, yes but of course due to her being my daughter and there being an age difference, in some ways we have very different tastes. But we're quite similar when it comes to shoes.

Do you ever share shoes?

Well, we do try sometimes but there is a half-size difference. I'm a size 38 and she's 38.5. In general I don't borrow from Tala but she does borrow, especially handbags, from me.

Approximately how many pairs of shoes do you own?

Oh, wow, I've never thought about it. I have many closets of shoes and I divide them by colour, style and occasion. But, for sure, we're not talking thousands. Some seasons I just keep what I really love and give the rest to charities in my native Syria or in Dubai.

I've never seen you photographed in a pair of flats. Are you a fan?

Yes I am and have so many pairs, especially for during the day; you'll see me shopping in ballerinas, flat boots and sandals. But, of course, at night, I love my heels and I usually go for platforms because they are more comfortable.

Tala on "The Tala"

How did you come up with your design?

I fell in love with one of the Spring/Summer 2013 shoes Natalia Barbieri had created in the perfect green and we settled on a colour she hadn't done it in: red. I've long been looking for the perfect red shoe. Either the style, colour or comfort factor wasn't quite right. So I thought I might as well create my dream pair and I love them. I would describe them as classic, easy-to-wear shoes that look very feminine. I can never stay in heels very long but I've been wearing these all day.

What age range is your shoe aimed at and who do you imagine wearing it?

When people see the shoes, they presume I've designed Mum's and she's made mine because hers are a lot edgier. I couldn't say how many seasons Mum's shoes would last, whereas mine I would say could be worn by an 18-year-old or a grandmother.

What have you paired them with so far?

I've been wearing them with dresses but I would love to team them with jeans and a T-shirt, too.

How often do you treat yourself to a new pair of shoes?

It's hard to say. A few years ago when I was 18 or 19, I would buy tons just because they looked good, be it high street or designer. But now I'm a lot pickier and if they're not comfortable, I don't even bother. Comfy, attractive shoes are far harder to find than nice bags.

Quick fire with Natalia Barbieri, director and designer, Bionda Castana

Will the ladies' signatures feature somewhere on their shoes?

The inner sole will point to the collaboration and say "Bionda Castana - Lina Samman", for example.

Why were Lina and Tala a good fit for the brand?

Although the two of them are quite different, they present the perfect balance. They are great fashionistas and really know how to put looks together.

Sum up The Lina

An eye-catching, head-turning style that's on trend for spring.

The Tala in brief

Feminine, sophisticated and fun.

The Lina and Tala shoes are available at www.my-wardrobe.com

Bionda Castana

Founded: 2007 by two half-Italian Brits, Jennifer Portman and Natalia Barbieri

Style: Melange of London cool and Italian craftsmanship

Signature stamps: Studding, woven silk, velvet, buckles and lace

Best buys: Biker boots, brogues and luxury flats

Celeb fans: Elizabeth Olsen and Keira Knightley



Launched: April 2006 by Sarah Curran

Claim: The UK's premiere online destination for "everyday luxury" clothing

Offers: More than 180 designers of apparel, shoes and accessories

Delivery: Worldwide, often the very next day after the order is placed