A La Moda & Style: Donald and Lisa Pliner Share Their Marriage and Fashion Secrets

The couple talked about their new collection, tips on marriage and trends for the fall season

Power couple, Donald J. Pliner and Lisa Pliner, share more than their love for each other. After 17 years of marriage, they have come together to create Donald and Lisa Signature; a unique collection of shoes for the Donald J. Pliner brand that showcase an edgier twist on their original green soles. Latin Beat had the opportunity to chat with them and ask them questions about their work, love and fashion during their presentation at their Aventura Mall boutique. They openly gave us their take on spouses successfully working together, the inspiration behind their Fall 2013 collection, and the future plans for the brand.
What is the key to the success behind Donald J. Pliner?
Donald Pliner: People always talks about how comfortable my shoes are. The key to fashion to me is: if you can’t wear it, then what’s the use of it? That’s the beauty of everything I do for men and women. Have fashion that you can keep on your feet. The fact that I’m constantly traveling, I’m aware of what it is to be on a plane, and having to get on and off. I always remembered how you get into a plane and you see someone taking off their shoes, and you wish they didn’t, and that’s why I got into comfort shoes.
How is the dynamic of working with your spouse?
Lisa Pliner: We have made it work for 17 years already.  You have to say this is business time and this is personal, and at the end of the day you go back to being husband and wife. It could get hard because you do have different ideas and opinions and you have to try to make it work. It’s important not to try to change each other. If you try to, then it’s not going to work. I think we have lasted so long because we are both independent, but we rely on each other. He will design something and ask me what do I think, or I will be thinking of an idea and I run it by him. It’s not easy but we make it work.
Donald Pliner: Working with Lisa, it’s great. Now, it’s the imagination of a man and woman. It’s interesting because a woman can see a garment and know exactly how it would look on a hanger, but a man cant. The fact, that a woman can see something so different from a guy, makes them complement each other. No matter how creative a guy or a woman can be, there are always two different perspectives. Been in the business for so long has taught me a lot. We always hear each other’s point of view, and when you have someone to communicate with, you have two different reflections that combined create our unique fashion.
What was the inspiration behind the Fall 2013 collection?
Lisa Pliner: Donald and I combined our talents and we created the Donald and Lisa Signature collection. Still the green sole, because of my eyes, and it’s just us a couple putting our bling together.  We were inspired by the movie “Snow White and The Huntsman” because of the rich colors. We loved the oxblood, the jewel tones, and the tailored look of the hunting boots; but, we added our skulls, mixed the colors, and kept the innocent image. We looked at each other, and we thought that it was a great source of inspiration, and that’s what we are sharing now.
What are some of your favorite materials and styles?
Donald Pliner: I’ve always done western, used stretch fabrics and created sexy shoes. We are known for combining those elements together using different colors and textures. My favorite material is various types of hair calf. We’ve worked with different ones and we do printing on them. They put the print on them, which in this collection its cheetah, then they shave it with a razor blade and add the metallic from underneath so the color bleeds through. You never know how each piece it’s going to look at the end which makes it very unique. Another one its velvet stretch because it’s sexy, regardless if its high or low heel, it’s about making a woman feel good. When you have a wife like my own, 21 years younger, you gotta make sure the sensual component it’s always there.
What are the trends for this fall/ winter season?
Lisa Pliner: You’re going to see lots of plaid. It’s still a big trend. But you will also see tons of black. It’s a very punk era right now. The one thing I found out about fashion this years, it’s that its dark. I think it has to do with all the things our world it’s going through so that reflects on fashion. Right now, it’s black on black, black on lace, black and leather; very dark. I’m sure spring will be back to the sensitivity, the beauty, and the soft things. Nowadays, people in fashion just go with what they really love and that’s a great thing. It’s also interesting to see, when you travel to different places, the different styles. The New York girl, I think it’s a bit more tailored. In L.A we are more relaxed. We love leggings and boots, which we can wear all year round, so we are very western rock and roll. Then, you come to Miami, and you see all the glam. It’s less clothes, because it’s so hot, but very flowy and sexy.
It’s there anything you would like the Donald J. Pliner brand to branch into?
Donald Pliner: Yes! Furniture and interiors. In all my store designs I have always felt like an architect, in one sense, and if you ever see our homes you could tell we are going towards home furnishing. When I started, when I first opened my business, I really wanted to be somewhere between Armani and Ralph Lauren. To me, it’s not just about clothing and shoes, was really about the home too. Because, it’s your home that you start with and that’s where the fashion begins.
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