Via Spiga Debuts First Collection from New Creative Director Paola Venturi

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Via Spiga's fall footwear offering, with its lush suedes, croco embossed leathers and burnished metallics, is noteworthy not only for its reflection of the brand's heritage Italian style, but for the Italian who crafted it. Brown Shoe Company, Inc. (NYSE: BWS, http://www.brownshoe.com) recently added Italian designer Paola Venturi as Via Spiga's Creative Director, and this month her premiere collection debuts to consumers.

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Via Spiga's fall footwear offering, with its lush suedes, croco embossed leathers and burnished metallics, is noteworthy not only for its reflection of the brand's heritage Italian style, but for the Italian who crafted it. Brown Shoe Company, Inc. (NYSE: BWS, http://www.brownshoe.com) recently added Italian designer Paola Venturi as Via Spiga's Creative Director, and this month her premiere collection debuts to consumers.

Venturi brings to her role nearly two decades of experience in contemporary fashion footwear design and innovative brand direction. Her responsibilities include six yearly footwear lines, retail collections for Via Spiga's flagship Soho store and ViaSpiga.com, and coordinating with Via Spiga licensees to ensure consistency of the brand's essence for consumers across its additional accessory categories, including handbags, eyewear, outerwear, hosiery and men's footwear.

Venturi coordinates Via Spiga's worldwide design and development team from her base in Brown Shoe's Florence, Italy design center.

"Paola embodies the Via Spiga woman, which gives her an intimate understanding of our customers and ensures she creates footwear to meet their needs. Her creative oversight of the other accessory lines helps ensure consumers see a consistent look from Via Spiga, whether they're shopping for a handbag, shoes or a coat," said Brown Shoe Senior Vice President-Image Brands Jay Schmidt.

Venturi met some of the consumers for whom she is designing at a personal appearance in Chicago in early October, as people gathered at Nordstrom's Michigan Avenue store to talk with the designer and view her debut collection. Following her U.S. trip, she returned to Italy where she is putting the finishing touches on Via Spiga's spring 2010 footwear line.    

Venturi's background includes serving as Creative Director for footwear brand Te Casan, leading creative design for women's footwear under the Kate Spade label and designing and developing women's and men's shoe collections for Calvin Klein. Venturi began her career with Sergio Rossi, where she discovered her passion for the shoe world. She graduated from the School of Arts in Rimini and studied footwear design at the world-renowned Ars Sutoria Institute in Milan.

Via Spiga takes its name from the exclusive and sophisticated Via della Spiga in Milan, a boutique-filled avenue that attracts those who desire to stroll and shop, see and be seen. Via Spiga captures that spirit with collections steeped in a heritage of pure Italian designs, leathers and materials.

About Brown Shoe:
Brown Shoe is a $2.2 billion footwear company with global operations. Brown Shoe's Retail division operates Famous Footwear, the more than 1,100-store chain that sells brand name shoes for the family, approximately 300 specialty retail stores in the U.S., Canada, and China primarily under the Naturalizer brand name, and footwear e-tailer shoes.com. Through its Wholesale divisions, Brown Shoe markets leading footwear brands including Naturalizer, Dr. Scholl's, Franco Sarto, LifeStride, Etienne Aigner, Via Spiga, and Sam Edelman. Brown Shoe press releases are available on the Company's website at http://www.brownshoe.com.

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