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Inside a Celebrity Design Session: Julianne Hough for Sole Society

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Julianne Hough is a dancer (Dancing with the Stars), an actress (her movie Safe Haven comes out today), and a country singer, which means she definitely has enough jobs for any one celebrity. This week, though, she added a fourth title to her resume: creator, with Vince Camuto, of a line of affordable flats and heels for online shoe shop Sole Society.

On Tuesday, we sat in on a design session with Hough at Vince Camuto's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. At this point, everyone knows that you don't need a degree from Central St. Martins to be a celebrity designer. So what kind of influence does a famous face have on her namesake collection? The short answer: If Hough isn't actually staying up late sketching the looks, she's definitely the target customer.

Vince Camuto is a partner in Sole Society, a Nine West co-founder, and the name behind an increasingly ubiquitous line of trendy, easy-on-the-wallet footwear. He and Hough hadn't met before their design session, but she'd been working with his team. "We have the legs, or the experience, for many years, and she has the taste level," he said of the collaboration. "She knows what's now, and to her credit, it's great."

It helps that Hough is known for her footwork. But she's also an ideal spokesperson because she's young, enthusiastic, and relatable. Asked why she decided to get involved in this particular collab, she's perfectly on-message: "I want a shoe that I can go have fun and dance in and be comfortable but also still feel really fashion-forward but knowing that I'm not going to break the bank with it. I mean, I am the demographic."

If Hough's the ideal customer, then she's also got the customer's ideal job. During the design session, she went through a showroom full of potential fall looks—everything from sensible flats to Valentino-esque studded heels. A diminutive shoe model with perfect legs tried on some of the favorites, helping her narrow down the selection. In the end, she skipped everything studded and went for saturated fall colors, picking three pairs of flats, two mid-heels, two high pumps, and two high booties in shades like oxblood and gold.

It's nice work if you can get it, but part of Hough's appeal is that she doesn't seem to be taking it for granted. "I feel so privileged and lucky to be in this partnership because I'm a huge fan," she told us. And later: "I feel super fortunate that I've been able to step out of my comfort zone with all the colors, and try really fun things that maybe I was a little nervous or hesitant about before." In fact, she says, the collection helped her find "another sense of style."

Hough and Camuto agree that super high heels are on their way out. "If you look at all the shoes even on the red carpet, all the public appearances that we do around the country, women are walking—without mentioning names—they're leaning forward," Camuto said. "It's horrible. You're paying $1000 for the product, and they ignore the comfort features. We do an arch, and a heel seat that you sit right on. Women want that."

Still, Hough was dancing in four-inch-heels as a ten-year-old, so she can't neglect heels entirely. The collection, which you can see in the slideshow above, comes in a range of heel heights and colors, and starts at $49.95. It's available on Sole Society and Nordstrom's website, as well as select Nordstrom stores around the country.
· Over Drinks, Julianne Hough Introduces Her Line for Sole Society [Racked LA]
· Vince Camuto [Official Site]
· Sole Society [Official Site]