Brown Shoe Company Inc this month debuts the first collection from Italian designer Paola Venturi, the new creative director of its upmarket Via Spiga brand.

Venturi coordinates Via Spiga's worldwide design and development team from her base in Brown Shoe's Florence, Italy design centre - and reflecting this Italian heritage, lush suedes, croco embossed leathers and burnished metallics all feature in the autumn line.

As well as six yearly footwear lines, retail collections for Via Spiga's flagship Soho store and ViaSpiga.com, she also coordinates with Via Spiga licensees to ensure the brand's consistency across its additional accessory categories, including handbags, eyewear, outerwear, hosiery and men's footwear.

Venturi brings to her role nearly two decades of experience in contemporary fashion footwear design.

Past roles have included 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.