Donald J Pliner grew up in Chicago and learned his way around the shoe-making business from his father, Leo, owner of the Florsheim Family shoe stores.
Pliner started out making women’s shoes, but in 1998 expanded his label to include footwear for men. What started as a very basic shoe made mostly of elastic has evolved into a complete line including dress shoes, boots, sandals, sporty styles and executive dress shoes. Aventura Mall – located just north of Miami Beach – is home of the first Donald J Pliner concept store. The décor reflects his aesthetic, which can also be felt in his New York showroom, his home in Miami as well as the rest of the Donald J Pliner boutiques (Beverly Hills, Coral Gables, Houston, Las Vegas and San Jose): Light and airy, with Tibetan rugs, giant mirrors and a polished hardwood floor. The boutiques are ripe with artifacts and unique collections from his travels around the world.
His signature wooden pig figurines sit watching customers try on the funky cowboy boots, leopard print mules and silver grommeted slides. In 2003, Pliner launched Friends of Babydoll Pliner: a collection featuring outerwear, collars, leashes, harnesses, day carriers and FAA approved airline carriers for dogs up to 20 pounds. Named for his own pampered pooch, a white Maltese named Babydoll, the collection is almost as popular as his signature footwear.