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Are You Bluffing? Shoelery Is Among Us

by Antonio Miniño on December 7, 2009

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Foot protection was one of the first things created by our ancestors, even before the fur wrap skirt (not to be confused with Carolina Herrera‘s wrap blouse or Diane Von Furstenberg‘s signature wrap dress).  Shoes have been a part of our lives since the making of the wheel and since then have been adorned to be more than just protective gear.  Shoes have become the modern woman’s ID card.

This season the runway was not exempt from highly opulent shoes: studs (the houses of Prada, Zanotti, Givenchy), elastic and leather bands (Narciso Rodriguez, Derek Lam, Jason Wu, Dior) and bejeweled wonders (McQueen, Christopher Kane, Nina Ricci, Blumarine). All fit for a queen, all ranging from $1,000 and up.  So if you aren’t a trust fund baby, Ivanka Trump, or embezzling money for shoes, how can you afford all these styles?

Sure we all love Louboutins enough to write a song dedicated to them,  like J.Lo did, but that won’t get Christian to custom-design a pair for us.  But the ladies from BLUFF NY might … and will.

BLUFF is a newly launched  accessory line that has created inter-changeable pieces to spice up any shoe. Utterly affordable, and in tune with today’s trends. They describe their first line as an organic compilation of playfully dark yet feminine looks, and I asked creators Jess, Cara and Anna to elaborate a little bit more about how BLUFF came about.

Jess, Cara and Anna are BLUFFing Manhattan

Jess, Cara and Anna are BLUFFing Manhattan

AM: How did Bluff get started?

Cara: Anna called me to say we should start a business with myself as designer and Anna on the business end. I didn’t really see it happening until she called me and said, “I’ve got a great idea… shoe accessories.”  I said, “come over, we can start selling this weekend.”  Of course, it took a little longer than that to get things up and running, and as I realized this was going to be a huge undertaking I called Jess, whom I had gone to Parsons with, and asked her to help.

Anna: The idea really came to me from my closet full of boring shoes (from working on Wall Street) and the desire to jazz them up, without breaking the bank. I went to the garment district and began playing with materials, but realized I’d get nowhere without Cara.

AM: Are those your favorite materials to work with right now - studs and feathers?Cara: Right now we’re using a lot of chain, leather and elastic with studs, spikes and zipper embellishments.Jess: I am a fan of the spikes, Cara enjoys elastic and Anna likes the feathers. Who doesn't love chains! AM: Tell us the truth. Was someone's closet space overflowing with shoe boxes, flats and stilettos. Who is the compulsive buyer of the three of you?Cara: Anna, I guess. Jess and I don’t buy anything, but we’d like to!AM: Do you follow the rest of the trends or do you let your own inspirations take charge when designing these accessories?Cara: It’s really a mix. We want our customer to be able to wear all of the season’s top trends without spending too much. So there are certainly some predetermined directions for us to head in but we still get creative in and outside of that.Anna: Absolutely agree. Some of the designs are based on what's trendy, but some of them are truly products of our shoe fantasies. If it was up to me, every shoe would have a 4 inch heel and would probably have studs or feathers. AM: How affordable is Bluff? Who is the "Bluff Woman" ... the NYU student, the Ford Model or the Wall Street chic?Bluff: prices range from $58 - $110. We have a few lower priced pieces in the works and we also do custom, high-end pieces. We really have something for everyone and our clientele is extremely varied. The Bluff woman is stylish and creative. She is, simply, a woman who loves getting dressed.

AM: Any celebrity customers that you know of? Has Bluff graced the tabloids yet?

Cara: Not that we know of.  We did give a pair to Allessandra Ambrosio and a bunch of top stylists have them.

AM: As a young company, what has been your biggest achievement?

Cara: Walking down the street and seeing someone we don’t know wearing one of our pieces.

Anna: Several magazines and some major television shows have asked for Bluff. We hope to make an appearance on a National show in January so we will keep you posted!

AM: Where do you see Bluff ten years from now?

Cara: I see Bluff expanding into a full accessory company.  We will probably have some clothing too.

Anna: I’d love to do a line of shoes and boots.

AM:Any intention in creating “shoelery ” for men? will I be able to bluff up my boots soon?

Cara: There have been some inquiries and we are making custom pieces for a few guys in Brooklyn-based bands right now so we are definitely heading in that direction. The simpler the better when it comes to men. Do you want something?

Jess: We are more then happy to make it for you!

To learn more about BLUFF NY visit

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