Libby Fitzgerald worked at Hermès as a PR executive for many years before leaving to become a full-time mother of three boys. A spontaneous adventurer, she is a lover of travel, the ocean, and sunny, deserted beaches. Michael Leva had his own designer fashion collection in the Eighties and Nineties and more recently was the Creative Director for several other luxury/fashion brands. Stylishly eclectic, he is savvy, quirky and polished all at once. Michael and Libby met over 10 years ago in Litchfield County, Connecticut, where they both had homes. They have been great friends ever since.
How did you come up with this genius idea of classic espadrilles made of neoprene?
Libby was looking for a shoe that she could wear into the water that would protect her feet from coral, rocks and broken shells and was also chic enough to wear to lunch, around town, for boating. She found that no shoe existed that could serve all these purposes at once. Turning to her friend Michael Leva to help her, they founded Sea Star Beachwear to create the ultimate resort and summer water sport shoe and lifestyle brand for men, women and children. They have re-imagined the classic, timeless espadrille design with a comfortable snug-fitting, fast drying neoprene upper that stays on in the water and a rubber sole that is not only sturdy and protective, but has a non-skid, non-marking boat-shoe bottom.
This is truly beach to bar shoes…what was the inspiration behind it?
Please see above!
I had a foot surgery couple of years ago and always on the lookout for comfortable but chic shoes and this is crazy comfortably chic! How did you manage this?
The fit, comfort and protective nature of the shoe were all paramount when designing the Beachcomber. If we didn’t get those correct, the shoe wouldn’t fulfill its purpose and it would just be another espadrille. We make our own neoprene to ensure that the shoes stretch but don’t loose their shape, and that the fabric breathes and is quick drying. Our customers want a smart and useful product that is also simple and chic.
What other products are available from the brand?
We now have a curated line of beach and boat-worthy pouches and a weekend tote.
What is next for the brand?
We have recently launched a second style for Women (Seafarer Sling-back) and Men (Mariner Slip-on) and expanded our Kids line to include Toddler sizes. We are focused on being the preeminent fashionable water-friendly shoe company, and would like to expand our national and international presence. We will eventually add more shoe styles and accessories to the line.
Fave Summer Getaway
Capri and the Amalfi Coast
Fave Summer indulgence?
Nap on the beach
Basket of farmstand peaches