The name comes from a story that the designer’s mum would read to her when she was a little girl

Architect, set designer, successful blogger with more than 20,000 followers on Instagram, Sarah Balivo is also the younger sister of Italian TV presenter Caterina Balivo, who was one of the very first ambassadors of the footwear brand launched by Sarah less than a year ago.

The brand is called Madame Cosette. It made its debut in November 2016, producing shoes made by Italian craftsmen and carving out a niche for itself in the wardrobes (or rather, shoe racks) of women who take pride in being smart and chic but who want to add a touch of sparkle to their footwear.

“Once upon a time there was a lady called Madame Cosette. She had a house full of shoes. Its walls were made of shoes and its furniture was made of shoes. Every Sunday at teatime, she would invite all the less fortunate little girls to her house to give them shoes. In exchange, they had to promise they would be tidy for as long as they lived.”

This little fairytale appears in Italian on the brand’s website. And a fairytale is also the origin of the brand’s name. When Sarah was a little girl, her mum would tell her that if she didn’t keep her shoes tidy, Cosette — the famous character from Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables — would come to take them away and give them to the poor little girls.