A Q&A With Jon Buscemi, Co-Founder of Luxe-Casual Footwear Brand Lusso Cloud

Independent footwear brand Lusso Cloud is creating elevated hotel slippers that you can wear anywhere.

The genesis of the brand starts with none other than entrepreneur Jon Buscemi. Buscemi has thrived in the footwear industry for years, having cut his teeth at DC Shoes, before working with now-shuttered brand Gourmet, then playing a key role at DTC start-up Greats. Later, he started his own eponymous brand Buscemi, which garnered headlines and name-drops for its handbag-inspired, Italian-made sneakers. His entrepreneurial forays aren’t limited to footwear however, as Buscemi also has a hand in the buzzing, truffle-infused hot-sauce brand Truff. Although Buscemi does have considerable experience launching and operating footwear brands, Lusso Cloud (lusso is Italian for “luxury”) represents something entirely new.

If you look behind the scenes at Lusso, you’ll also find No Vacancy Inn’s Brock Korsan, former pro-skateboarder Rob Dyrdek, who recently spoke to Elsewhere about his business incubator Dyrdeck Machine.

Lusso Cloud has arrived at a time when the WFH aesthetic has defined how we all get dressed in the morning. Category items like sweatpants, hoodies, and house shoes have become indispensable for many of us. At the same time, conventionally uncool, anti-sneaker footwear has never been a bigger part of the conversation. Crocs have transcended the brand’s core demographic (chefs, nurses, and gardening dads) to collaborate with the likes of Post Malone. Sneakerheads are fawning open-toed footwear styles from Suicoke and Birkenstock. Let’s not forget the somewhat-surprising rise of loafers, mules, and other backless-footwear styles.

A relatively new brand, Lusso Cloud has already received co-signs from some of the biggest names in Hollywood, not limited to Oprah and Leonardo DiCaprio. We get why.

The eureka moment for Lusso Cloud came when Buscemi started to toy with the idea of elevated hotel slippers, like those that come gratis in five-star hotels such as the St. Regis or the Four Seasons. The five-star hotel nod is perhaps best represented with the slip-on Pelli silhouette. The terry-cloth slipper reference is evident in the durable waffle-knit upper, which is itself lined with memory foam, but remains breezy and breathable. The same memory foam appears once again in the footbed, a material which provides bounce-back, eventually moulding to your foot. The outsole pattern is where things get even more fun, with a cloud-like pattern appearing on the tread. Some specific colorways boast a speckled effect on the outsole, as a result of mixed-in, upcycled coffee grounds. A subtle nod toward Buscemi’s love of the culinary world? 

The brand currently offers a selection of three styles, including the Guru ($155) featuring a chukka-like silhouette; the Gehry ($125), a lower-profile slip-on; and a padded pool slide, the Pelli ($135). Lusso products are also packed with proprietary tech, namely Triple Stack Technology, something that reveals the amount of consideration that went into Lusso.

A pair of Lussos by your front door is great for walking the dog or a quick bodega run, but Buscemi sees Lussos as more than just super-cozy pool slides. Below, we speak with Bucemi about his new comfort-footwear brand.

Jon Buscemi, co-founder of Lusso Cloud

First, tell us what inspired the concept for Lusso Cloud.

Lusso was created out of necessity, I found myself wearing comfort footwear more often than not and simply didn’t like what was offered in the market. Paired with a vision. The vision came from a random meeting with friends in SoHo, New York City, my friend was wearing a pair of terry-cloth hotel slippers in the street, the ones you find next to your bed in five-star hotels. I thought to myself this shoe isn’t sustainable, but what if you put a sole that was strong enough to hold up in the streets, but be nice enough to wear around the house.

How did you develop the idea for elevated hotel slippers? Were you inspired by a particular hotel or a particular moment?

The research and development for the slippers started with the throw-away hotel slipper, but with the mindset of luxury. We started to design the shoe from a sneaker perspective for durability, comfort, and wearability, but having endless comfort in mind. 

Lusso stands out from your previous work in the footwear industry. Were you drawn to the concept of Lusso because it’s not confined to sneakers?

The main draw to start Lusso was out of necessity and a passion for comfort. In my previous products, comfort was always an afterthought, but comfort is the first thing when it comes to Lusso.

Can you give us a few style dos and don’ts for wearing Lusso?

I think the greatest thing about Lusso is you can do whatever you like. This is not fashion, it is the antithesis of fashion. We created a shoe that looks good in virtually any situation. I’ve seen it with a three-piece suit and a bathing suit.

Where do you rock your Lussos?

Everywhere and anywhere. The concept really is comfort for any place, at any time, anywhere. Lusso essentially doesn’t have a rule book, and the versatility is the attraction.

Do you have a personal favorite product in the Lusso catalog?

It’s hard to pick a personal favorite when you treat all the products like your kids. But if I had to pick one it would be the Pelli. This design and concept was the catalyst for the entire brand. Taking a hotel slipper and putting a sole on it for the street was the pure play.

Lusso has already received a number of celebrity co-signs, who pulled off their Lussos the best?

I have to say Julian Schnabel pulled off his look the finest. He has embodied the comfort-nirvana vibe for decades now, and it makes a lot of sense to see him wearing these.

What is next for Lusso?   

We’re really excited about entering the culinary industry. We have some exciting products coming out that you can wear at a restaurant kitchen or in your home kitchen.