Sam & Libby Edelman On Launching The Brand’s First-ever Fragrance, Signature By Sam Edelman

by Freya Drohan

The Sam Edelman brand has long since had you covered from tip to toe—and now visionary couple Libby and Sam Edelman are ensuring you leave a memorable trace wherever you go with the launch of their first eau de parfum, Signature by Sam Edelman. The evocative scent is inspired by things near and dear to the pair—including green florals and woody notes inspired by equestrian influences—resulting in a fragrance that’s both empowering and sensual. Just like putting on your favorite heels before you leave home! Here’s how it came to be.

You both have so many passions! Have you discovered any new hobbies or interests?
Libby Edelman: Photography has always been a hobby and something I did for fun, but I was able to refine the skill and put it to good use over the past 18 months. During the pandemic, we had to rethink our creative processes. We weren’t able to get big teams together to shoot a campaign as we have done in the past. So we hired a model and I shot safely, and from afar, outside. I’ve been shooting all the campaigns since!

Another string to your bow!
Libby: It has been incredible to watch it all come full circle. I think you’ll find the Fall ’21 collection and marketing feel very cohesive and true to who Sam and I are because we were able to have full control of the story from start to finish.

What are some other positives you’re taking away from the past 18 months?
Libby: We’ve worked nonstop. During those first few months, it almost felt as if we had just started the brand again. It was intense, but it gave us the chance to stop and think about how we wanted to be seen by our customers. We wanted to take what we’re already known for— attainable luxury product—and bring it to the next level.

How did you do that?
Libby: We introduced new logos and changed the socks of the shoes; we focused on updating our materials; bringing in luxe Italian leathers, suedes, and more. We developed gorgeous new linen boxes and introduced catalogs to tell the full brand story in our customers’ homes. We’ve already seen such success from the changes we implemented.

Why did the time feel right to create the brand’s first fragrance, Signature?
Sam Edelman: Self-expression is so important. What better way to tell the world who you are than with a signature scent? Our goal was to create a scent that’s uplifting and aspirational. We searched for notes that are undeniably unique and shared the same irreverence and whimsicality of the brand, while still capturing the important earmarks of our heritage.

 

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The bottle is très chic!
Libby: It’s a representation of the same craftsmanship and design ethos found in our footwear. The final product is an interpretation of a physical shoe, taking the shape of a heel. We wanted a bottle that felt fresh and modern while intrinsically representing Sam Edelman at its core. And of course, located on the front face of the bottle, our logo, which is derived from my own signature!

What’s the reason for the name Signature?
Sam: My signature is what makes me unique. It’s the mark I leave on this world and has been shaped by a lifetime of memories and experiences—it’s the brand’s logo. I wanted to create a scent for those who aspire; those who crave expression and encourage them to find their own signature.

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What are some of your earliest or most nostalgic memories of scent or fragrance?
Libby: I remember looking at all the bottles on my mother’s vanity; she kept them beautifully lined up on a mirrored tray. When she would go out to dinner, I would go into her room and admire them. That memory has always stayed with me and helped inspire our bottle design—knowing we wanted it to stand out on a tray and be a true piece of art.
Sam: My mom wore one fragrance my entire life, Caleche. I remember it as such a demure scent, and I think of her if ever I get a trace of the smell. My father had gifted it to her early on, and she never strayed from it; it became her signature.

Do you remember what fragrance Libby wore when you first started dating?
Sam: Libby will tell you she didn’t wear any fragrance, but I vividly remember her wearing an iconic Christian Dior perfume. It was such a sophisticated scent!
You met when Libby was still in the publishing world. What drew you to each other?
Libby: I was an editor at Seventeen magazine around the time Sam and I started dating. I remember collecting Esprit catalogs and thinking it was a dream company to work for. Shortly after we got married, Sam was offered a job at Esprit and we started working together there. It was as if the stars had aligned and we were fated to work together! We learned how well we complemented each other in a creative environment and we’ve been working together ever since.
Sam: I always knew we would work together, Libby’s such a powerful woman and has always brought out the best in me. Now I have the pleasure of working with two powerful women in the industry, Libby and our CEO, Diane Sullivan. We each bring different skills to the table, and I think we balance each other out beautifully. They inspire me and my work every day.

What’s been on the moodboard for Fall ‘21?
Sam: Our customer is ready to go out again and dress up, so we’ve introduced new dress options and fun heel shapes. The collection is a study of contrasts—a perfect balance of relaxed, comfortable shapes mixed with luxe mixed materials for a sophisticated, tailored look.
Libby: We’re excited for vintage menswear-inspired silhouettes and platforms, our chunky loafers, and waterproof styles to help you brave the elements while staying fashionable. Tonal dressing is another one of our key trends for the season.

 

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You’re both heavily involved in philanthropy. How does this influence your day-to-day lives and decisions as leaders?
Libby: Life is more than just working; it’s about giving back however you can. We both are teachers at heart and love mentoring young talent. Our philanthropy over the past 20 years has gone to many organizations within the industry. We have scholarships within the Two Ten Footwear Organization and consistently support breast cancer research through the work of the Fashion Footwear Association of New York.

What’s the next big dream project to work on?
Sam: We recently welcomed our sixth granddaughter into the world and are overjoyed! All I can think about is taking them shopping and sharing the many places and people that have inspired me as a designer.
Libby: We hope to find a real balance between nature and soul, between the world and fashion, the customer and our lives, her needs and how we relate to her, how we talk to her, and how we design for her. It’s what we do every day, it’s how we live our life. For example, last night we spent half our dinner talking to two young women sitting at the next table about what they love in dresses and shoes! We also want to explode our vision into denim and sportswear in that wonderful Sam Edelman style.

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