L.A.-based LD Tuttle has been outfitting the feet of cool girls since 2006, when former pro-ballerina-turned-footwear designer Tiffany Tuttle founded the line with her husband, Richard Lidinsky. Well, this is the part where we break the bad news: After 14 years, Tuttle has decided to shutter her cult-favorite label.
As far Tuttle herself, the L.A.-born-and-raised talent holds a degree in European history from Princeton University, then attended F.I.T. for design and worked for Givenchy in Paris and Rebecca Taylor in NYC. After discovering a passion for shoe-making, she decamped for Milan in 2004 to attend Ars Sutoria, the renowned footwear and bag design school.
Inspirations such as her hometown of L.A., her love for medieval history, and her experience as a dancer were all fused into her designs for LD Tuttle, which became known for its edgy-cool leather footwear
Over the years, the brand collaborated with a range of designers for their runway shoes, including Creatures of Comfort (which closed last year), Doo.ri, Helmut Lang, Peter Pilotto, and Victoria Bartlett for VPL, among others. Its stockists included cool international retailers such as Dover Street Market and Selfridge's in London, I.T in Hong Kong, and Le Form in Moscow, and Stateside boutiques and online shops including Shopbop, The Dreslyn, Steven Alan, and more.
To help clear our house, LD Tuttle is rolling out 50 to 70% off at its online shop. Come January, the label will also host a final archive sale (stay tuned for more on that).
We recently caught up with Tuttle to learn more about her favorite moments while designing her label, her insights into today's retail climate, why she decided to close, and what she's doing next. Read on below, then stock up some stylish mementos of the label before it officially shutters and shop online here.
We're so sad to hear the news. First off, what are some of your favorite highlights while designing LD Tuttle over the past 14 years?
Thank you so much! There are definitely certain shoes that were breakthroughs for me as a designer and us as a company. One was our over-the-knee Shaper boot. It is a cool, casual flat over the knee boot with stretch panels down the back. It makes a statement and is wearable at the same time. After designing the Shaper, I started inserting stretch leather panels into many of our boots leading to our most popular boot, the Lost.
I also loved doing runway collaborations over the years. I loved working with clothing designers and getting to create more extreme versions of what we did for the runway. VPL was my favorite of those collaborations.
What were some of the factors that influenced you to close the brand?
Over the past year-and-a-half, we began to turn our focus much more to the direct-to-consumer model. We had a very good year from 2018 into 2019 with a large increase in our DTC business. At that point however, I realized that there were so many more changes that needed to be made to truly make it a DTC business. I found that for me personally, the changes required for the shift to a real DTC business were not what I wanted to do with LD Tuttle. It did not feel like an organic shift for me or for what LD Tuttle had been for so many years.
Given that you weathered the recession of 2008/2009, how is the retail climate different now?
The recession actually came at an interesting time for us. We had worked out the kinks that come with a new business and I had really focused the aesthetic of the brand. I actually think that in a way we benefited from that recession. People were looking for something new and different that they could use to excite their customers and that they didn't have to make a big commitment to as a retail store.
What is happening now is so different because it is a real change in how people shop as opposed to a recession. People are buying online and there is a huge shift away from boutiques and other traditional retail to direct-to-consumer focused brands.
What do you plan on doing next?
I am designing the shoes for Eileen Fisher currently which I love doing. It is an incredible brand and I have learned a great deal working with them about doing something on a much larger scale.