Donald Pliner is a footwear and handbag designer who has been in the fashion business for over forty years. A native of Chicago, Pliner and his brother worked for their father in his shoe store during their childhood and adolescence, learning the rudiments of the fashion retail business.
Pliner eventually opened his first retail store, Pappagallo Beverly Hills, in 1967 at the age of 24. Four years later, Pliner launched the Right Bank Clothing Co. in Beverly Hills, which eventually became the Right Bank Shoe Co. in 1974. This store was the first American retail outlet to offer European designs from the likes of Trussardi, Thierry Mugler, Basile and Maud Frizon. It wasn't until 1984 that Pliner began designing haute couture footwear, first for Intershoe, and then in 1987 for Erica. In 1989, Pliner finally launched his own line of fashionable women's shoes. This line of footwear was extended to include men's footwear in 1998. All of the shoes in the men and women's lines of Donald Pliner footwear are made in Italy.
The Donald Pliner line of women's footwear includes sandals, slides, pumps, platforms, wedges, flats and elastic versions of the aforementioned shoes. The style of these shoes could best be described as an elegantly feminine, modern, detailed and chic. There is a great deal of style crossover from shoe type to shoe type. For example, while Pliner offers stylish versions of the traditional flat sole sandal, there are also numerous and elaborate high-heel stiletto sandals and pump sandals. Pump styles range from sleek black shoes to beaded patterns and faux leopard and Dalmatian spots. Most of the Pliner platform shoe styles opt for a more pared-down elegance, utilizing combinations of leather and cork material, with some pairs sporting small decorative rivets. Prices for Donald Pliner women's footwear range from $100 to $500 per pair.
The Donald Pliner line of men's footwear includes oxfords, loafers, moccasins and sneakers. Pliner's men's oxfords and moccasins are largely styled in a traditional fashion, with most of these shoes made from unadorned leather and suede. While some models in the men's line of slip on loafers are also traditionally styled in black or brown leather, other models in this line are a decidedly more flamboyant affair, with models made of bright red nubuck leather, panther fur and beaded patterns. Lastly, the sport line of men's footwear includes a few different colors of beaded sneaker, as well as a soft leather western boot in dark brown. Prices for Donald Pliner men's footwear range from $100 to $400 per pair.
Lisa Pliner is the wife of Donald Pliner, and also the creative director of the Donald Pliner collections. Her signature line of women's footwear is decidedly feminine, with many of the shoes adorned with bows, flowers and ruffled fabrics. Shoe styles include sandals, flats, wedges and platforms. Prices for the models in the Lisa Pliner footwear collection range from $200 to $300 per pair.
Donald Pliner handbags were introduced to the marketplace in 2002, and are divided into the "Couture" line and the "Donald J Pliner" line. The "Couture" line, manufactured in Italy, offers decorative and eye-catching handbags with faux-reptile and cheetah patterns, metallic prints and decorative beading. The "Donald J Pliner" line, manufactured in Asia, features handbags in straight-ahead, unadorned black and brown leather, as well as handbags with fringe and fabric ruffles. This line also includes small shoulder bags in addition to larger, multi-pocket satchels. All of the handbags are designed to be easily accessorized with the various models of Donald Pliner women's shoes. As of June 2011, Donald Pliner handbags are no longer available through the official store website, but are still available through online retailers such as Bluefly, Amazon and eBay. Prices for Donald Pliner handbags range from $75 to $400.
There are five dedicated Donald Pliner retail stores, located in Miami, Houston, Coral Gables, Las Vegas and San Jose. There is also a flagship store in Beverly Hills, situated one block from the original location of Pliner's Right Bank Clothing Co. store. Donald Pliner products are also available through retail outlets such as Nordstrom, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's. Online shoppers can find Donald Pliner shoes and handbags at the official company website, donaldpliner.com, as well as online stores such as Zappos and Bluefly.