A small shoe store opened quietly a few months ago in the heart of Armadale. Wedged between big names such as Acne Studios, Scanlan Theodore and COS on High Street, the sophisticated, leather-filled boutique is a notable addition on a strip filled with well-known labels. Before we stumbled across it, we’d never heard of L’Eclisse.
That’s the way creative director John Rizzo likes it. A reluctant candidate for this article, Rizzo avoids marketing and media, preferring to let the product speak for itself.
“It’s old fashioned because this type of product is not about hype and sensation, you know? This type of product needs some attention and you need to see it. It’s people walking by, people talking,” he says.
Step into L’Eclisse and you’ll see why word of mouth may be enough. The gallery-like space is a collaboration between Rizzo and his good friend, acclaimed architect Chris Connell. The pair has played with colour and metallic fixtures to showcase Rizzo’s refined shoewear. In the front window, monochrome chunk-heeled pairs sit on John Chamberlain-like plinths.
A circle has been cut out in the wall so, wherever you stand, “it’s like looking at an eclipse”.
The store has “a simplicity,” Rizzo says. “It’s got a beauty, it’s got a complexity at the same time. And in the shoes we try to express that.”
Rizzo and his team craft elegant shoes with innovative details – the designs have already earned him fans in Japan and New York.
Alongside the house brand, Rizzo has curated a small selection of modernist Italian designers including Del Carlo, Silvano Sassetti and Premiata, with Measponte on the way.
“These factories are artisanal. Which is a clichéd term, but here it means very considered, small footprint. That’s their business model, it’s philosophical. They don’t want to rule the world, they just do things properly,” Rizzo says.
While the store is a first for Rizzo, he’s worked in fashion and footwear ¬¬– in product development and wholesale – since the ’70s.
“I had a showroom and women I knew would come up and say, ‘Wow, these shoes are fantastic, where can I buy them?’” he says. “I figured it was time to present something directly, in the way I want to do it.”
1059 High Street, Armadale
Mon to Sat 10am–5pm