Elyse Walker’s earliest memories are of sitting on the floor of Capretto Shoes, her mother’s shop in Scarsdale, and watching her select styles and go through color swatches. Walker, who was raised in Scarsdale, went on to start her own Capretto Shoes in Manhattan in 1987, though sadly her mother died at 42 from ovarian cancer soon after. After moving to Los Angeles in 1996, Walker returned to retail, launching her eponymous designer boutique three years later. While originally only 800 square feet, the store, a favorite of red carpet regulars like Kate Hudson, Marcia Cross, and Kate Capshaw, now spans nearly an entire block. Ten years ago, Walker held a cocktail reception in honor of her mother there to raise funds for cancer research; that event evolved into the annual “Pink Party.” It’s been hosted by Michelle Pfeiffer, Jessica Biel, and Anne Hathaway—and has raised more than $10 million.
Walker, who lives in Venice Beach, California, and Manhattan, continues to be inspired by her mother’s memory and this year launched a line of footwear called elyse walker los angeles. “I just wanted to make ‘happy’ shoes,” she says. Informed by her years on the sales floor listening to customers, her very on-trend fall/winter collection ($395 to $675) features a suede fringe wedge bootie, tie-dye pumps, and espadrilles in leopard and python. Manufactured in Spain, the collection is at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and available at Walker’s boutique and through her website. Walker also recently collaborated on a line of leather and suede jackets, The Perfext ($895 to $2,295). Next up? Handbags, cashmere, and possibly, jewelry. For more info: www.elysewalker.com