Jay-Z’s Stylist Debuts Shoe Line

Stylist June Ambrose has designed a line of wearable heels that debuts Friday on HSN. She talks to Allison Samuels.

June Ambrose is known in certain circles for slightly her eccentric tastes. It isn’t rare for the stylist, a New York–based mother of two, to don a fabulous pair of oversize black sunglasses, a colorful linen turban, and six-inch stilettos for a quick trip to the local corner bodega for a loaf of rye bread.

“That’s definitely my style,” says Ambrose, who counts famed costume designer Edith Head as her major fashion inspiration.

After years styling the likes of Jay-Z, Mariah Carey, and Alicia Keys, Ambrose is stepping up her fashion game by offering her shoe designs to viewers on HSN beginning this Friday. The June Ambrose Collection for Theme Footwear is the first shoe collection for the stylist-designer, who’s also developed a line of high-end sunglasses and turbans in the past.

Though Ambrose admits she’s rather fond of shoe designers with such names as Louboutin and Choo, she’s managed to create an eye-catching collection of footwear with a price point that should please loyal HSN customers. Though a majority of the pumps and sandals in her collection cost anywhere from $59 to $119, it conveys Ambrose’s love for the eccentric as well as her fondness for bringing “disco to the daytime.”

“All my shoes have some lace, suede animal prints, neon or Lucite or metallic,” says Ambrose. “People love that I have metallic on my shoes for the daytime. It’s wonderful and over the top.”

Still, Ambrose’s love of Grace Jones, Cher, and all things Studio 54 doesn’t mean she lacks an understanding of today’s average woman.

“I definitely understand my buyer on HSN, and I wanted to give them something they could wear that made sense in their daily lives,” said Ambrose. “The girl just out of college going into a career, the working woman, and the woman who wants to add a little edge to her outfit. I thought of all of these women when I put these designs together. I think there is something for all of them in there.”

At 5 feet 3, Ambrose says she’s had to wear 6- and 7-inch heels to survive in the world of fashion and hip hop for most of her career. But she changed her way of thinking when it came to designing heels for women working working a 9 to 5.

“I’m vertically challenged, so I do love a heel,” says Ambrose with a laugh. “But for this line, I designed what I called training wheels for women who may be just starting with wearing heels. I have wedges in the collection and 3-inch heels to give women height and balance, but nothing overwhelming. Training wheels to the next step is the best way.”

Ambrose will have three hours live Friday night to debut her shoe line and says she looks forward discussing with women the ways in which they can incorporate her shoes with the wardrobes already in their closets.

“I can’t wait for that part of this on Friday,” says Ambrose. “That person-to-person communication is the best part. Working with women on how to make their look for them is going to be wonderful for me. It’s going to be the best part of this, really, and I’m so happy to do it with HSN. They allow you to have that contact and feedback with the consumer.”

While Ambrose says she will continue her day job—which regularly requires her to track down the just-perfect dinner jacket for Jay-Z (a client of 20 years) or to locate the ideal evening dress for Alicia Keys—she hopes to expand her fashion empire with more fashion accessories down the road.

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But for now she’s happy to focus on shoes. “I sent off different pairs to Alicia Keys, to Solange [Knowles], and Deborah Cox, who’s now on Broadway,” says Ambrose. “I sent the sandals to Beyoncé. I hope she’ll wear them when she heads off on vacation. They are perfect for that.”