Creatives In Conversation: Lily Atherton And Katya Shyfrin Of Footwear Brand Le Monde Beryl

London-based footwear label, Le Monde Beryl was established in 2016 by Lily Atherton Hanbury and Katya Shyfrin, and it’s all about the contemporary, rich elegance that lies in the romantic Venetian slipper.

As expected, the range of slippers is crafted in Italy using traditional and time-approved techniques with sumptuous velvet and leather aplenty. At the heart of the brand may be a slipper, but as the label evolved so did the offering, and now there’s a whole host of styles in their range from silk-satin Mary Jane flats, heeled velvet mules and suede sandals, to holiday essentials in the form of backless loafers and rope sliders. The founders talk all things luxury, process, and the long-term goals for the company.

Felicity Carter: What was your first memory of fashion?

Lily Atherton: My older sister Hope Atherton, as she has always been so stylish and creative with her personal style.

Katya Shyfrin: My father has impeccable taste and he has passed on his appreciation of beautiful things. He is the one who dresses the women in our family, and my mother’s vintage suits from the ‘90s became the staples of my wardrobe.

FC: What is luxury to you?

LA: To me luxury is defined by how something is made from the artisans to the materials, and also how it retains its beauty and quality over time.

KS: For me, it’s the timelessness, everlasting quality and the visible hand of the master in the product. Something that I will be able to pass on to my daughter when the time comes.

FC: How would you sum up the aesthetic of Le Monde Beryl?

LA: Understated yet luxurious essentials for the woman who loves to travel.

KS: I would say that Le Monde Beryl sits at the intersection of comfort, beauty and versatile shapes. We make shoes that we love to wear.

FC: Who is your customer?

LA: She is a curious traveler and creative; a curator of ideas and beauty.

KS: A multitasking woman, always at her chicest from day to night.

FC: Which was the first-ever piece that you designed and how did it come about?

LA & KS: The idea came to us in Venice, where we were inspired by the shape and ingenuity of the original gondolier slippers, which are made from scraps of recycled tires and felt or velvet. We loved the idea that style can be simultaneously practical, sustainable and sumptuous. We are also inspired by architecture: the study of form, materials and a sculptural simplicity that supports human routine and achievement — the exquisite beauty of something that looks simple but is so dense in thought and consideration under the influence of traditional craft.

FC: Tell us about the process?

LA: Our process is very personal, based on our experience of everyday life, travel, art and a general curiosity about traditional craftsmanship. An idea is bounced off between us and teased out through the development process. We work with small family-owned and run factories that have been honing their skills for generations.

KS: The ideas always come out of necessity and it is always exciting to see how they take form between the both of us. When we land on the final concept and it results in a beautiful high-quality product, it makes everyone involved in the making really proud.

FC: Currently, which is your favorite piece and how do you style it up?

LA: I live in my Jodhpur boots and my leather Birdie bag, worn with ankle-length high-waisted Jeans and a vintage men’s silk shirt (I have a collection of them).

KS: The mole grey velvet in the Venetian Mule and/or the Mary Jane is my obsession right now. I dress it up with a silk slip dress or go more casual with a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt, there is also always jewelry and a blazer in the mix – my other two staples other than the shoes.

FC: What are your immediate and long-term goals for your company?

LA: We have been focused on communicating our vision and partnering with a very considered global network of stores that share our values, ensuring that our customer is connected to the feeling of always finding something special. We are also adding new design categories and growing our online shop. The next step will be to design and bring together our creative community in a physical space, a flagship store.

KS: From the start of our business in 2016, we have been seeing positive year-to-year growth. This year we have doubled our business and it was done completely organically, as we were conscious of Covid-19 and Brexit. Now, we are aiming to accelerate our growth by focusing on our marketing and sales efforts and continuous improvement of the products.

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