As consumers, we see just one side of the design process: the finished product. Even in the democratized world of the Internet, the creativity and hard work that go into making fashion inspiration come alive are still relatively shrouded in secrecy. Where do ideas come from? How do designers decide if a trend is right for their work? Which pieces does a designer look back on most fondly? What types of things do designers enjoy designing? It can be easy to forget that there’s human ingenuity behind every bag and pair of shoes.

To shed a little bit of light on all of those questions, our friends at Bloomingdale’s hooked us up with shoe designer Jerome C. Rousseau, who was kind enough to tell us about his design process, how he feels about trends and a shoe’s unique power of seduction. Check out our Q&A after the jump, and make sure to shop Jerome C. Rousseau shoes via

When you start working on a season’s collection, how much do you take trends into account?
I tend not to think of trends too much. I like my work to reflect my personal inspirations and that’s the key message I try to present in my designs. I feel like unique direction becomes a trend of its own and that is what the Jerome C. Rousseau customer is looking for.

What was your big focus this year?
For AW12 I wanted to play with strong feminine silhouettes; the idea of unexpected volume appealed to me very much whether through a large bow or a cutout bootie. Color and texture is also important with key styles featuring colorblocking, printed haircalf, and iridescent fabric.

How does designing shoes and handbags differ from designing ready-to-wear?
Customers today are putting the emphasis on their accessories. It’s a great time to be a shoe designer since women have become incredibly daring with their footwear choices. As an accessories designer we can focus on the finishing touches that complete the look and often times it’s the accessories that make the statement in an outfit.

What is your favorite season to design for?
Fall because you have a large variety of styles to present whereas summer collections focus on sandals and open toe styles.

What should women look for when they’re trying to find a well-designed, durable bag or shoe?
They should look for shoes that are made with top quality components; a higher price point often means richer materials and better craftsmanship,

If a woman’s looking to add one high-end accessory to her wardrobe for Fall 2012, what should it be?
A woman should add a pair of statement shoes to her fall wardrobe that can take her from skinny jeans in the afternoon to a fun dress for a night out dancing.

What’s your favorite piece from your Fall 2012 collection?
Style Kier is my favorite shoe in my design career so far. The exaggerated bows are fun and feminine and look exceptional on the foot.

Any additional comments?
Shoes are real objects of seduction. A woman’s posture and attitude changes when they wear a specific pair of shoes and that power of seduction that a shoe brings to a woman is almost a weapon and it’s fantastic!

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