Designer Intros

Designer Intro: Stuart Weitzman

Recently I purchased my first pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes, I’ve always steered away in the past feeling his designs were a little too conservative for my tastes. Furthermore all his shoes are Made in Spain, as opposed to Italy and at the price they retail at I expected a little gnomish Italian man nailing together pieces of leather in the traditional manner.

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Sell out or survival?

Do you like supporting your local independents, small designers, etc? You may find yourself surprised how corporate they actually are. In the world of fashion this is happens more often than you realise, designers will sell their name and subsequently step back from playing a key role. I wonder are they selling out or perhaps they do it out of necessity to survive and expand?

To understand better, it would be useful to have a look at who owns who? Between two luxury power players, Kering, and LVMH, they own over 20 of the worlds biggest luxury fashion brands. During the late 1980s up to the mid 1990s intelligent mergers, aggressive investments combined with ageing founder-designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent opened the door to easy pickings. By the turn of the millenium this put Kering and LVMH in prime position to dominate the luxury sector.


Like most people, Yves Saint Laurent called time in the early 2000s, today completely absorbed into Kering it’s one of it’s key brands and as allowed the name and classic designs like the Paris shoe pictured here to live on

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Designer Intro: Schutz

This is a brand that I have only recently come across in one of my forays in TK Maxx. I first saw them about half a year ago, and now are popping up more regularly there. Immediately, the quality of the shoes impressed me, add to that the designs are always really hot and bang on trend.


I picked these up in TK Maxx for £50, they’ve got the rock chic look, but also as tall black boots quite versatile and timeless

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My heart is red, not my sole

It might come as a shock to most of you, while being a prolific shoe collector, I own zero pairs of Louboutins. It seems strange, why wouldn’t I have at least one pair penned by the designer du jour in the shoe world. I admire the man, I adore what comes from his pen, but I’ve always had a mental block from buying them. Those red soles seem so unnecessary, they don’t add anything to the shoes design or craftsmanship, if anything it devalues the work that went into the shoe as most people simply gawp at the red soles, and cannot see past the real joy and pleasure of owning and wearing luxury shoes.

We live in the perfect time for luxury shoes, with money tight since the 2008 global recession, fashion has become about strategically deploying luxury investment pieces rather than filling ones wardrobe with high end purchases. There are so many hot designers all over the world, and you’ve already seen a number of my favourite pieces. Most of these are British, but interestingly they’re all made in Italy.


Even Louboutins bear the Made in Italy mark.
Modified and used under Creative Commons License from work by Arroser

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Farewell Zaha Hadid

Breaking from the typical post, many of you will have have heard the news of the passing of Zaha Hadid, a remarkable and inspirational lady to dared to push the boundaries and never let conventions and traditions to get in her way. Forgive me those of you who were expecting your weekly fix of designer shoes, but I simply have to pay tribute to such an incredible lady.

Hadid’s achievements are absolutely remarkable, to become a driving force in one of the most male-dominated industries of architecture. Furthermore to apply that creativity elsewhere in the world of design, she has worked on numerout collaborations and influenced countless designers worldwide with her vision and philosophy.


This is the Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, in Baku, Azerbaijan. Despite the controversy around Hadid’s acceptance of this commission, it is my favourite of her works. The curves have become definitive of Hadid’s style.
Image by wilth used under Creative Commons License

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Designer Classics: Ferragamo and Roger Vivier

In the series of designer intros I’ve brought to you a some of the 21st century’s exciting designers, this time I’m going to delve into history to explore two legends who revolutionised shoe design, set the precedent for all shoes design since and even today their historic designs look fresh and contemporary.

Just from spending much of his youth watching his local cobbler make shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo’s natural talent allowed him to start producing his designs from the age of nine. His prodigious talent, and incessant thirst for knowledge took him to America the culmination of which was to go study anatomy at the University of Southern California. What he learnt about the way we walk changed the way shoes were produced forever, an innovtion that opened the door to higher and higher shoes.


In 1938 Ferragamo was commissioned to produced shoes for Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz this was amonst other designs which revolutionised the shoe world, and I would argue this shoe wouldn’t look out of place today.
Used undeer Creative Commons License created by Sailko

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Designer Intro: Nicholas Kirkwood

This week we look at one of the fastest rising stars of the footwear industry, his blazing trail has seen his brand grow to become part of luxury powerhouse LVMH’s stable within 10 years, working with the likes of Peter Pilotto, and Erdem in recent years, as well as nurturing upcoming talent, Sophia Webster.

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Designer Intro: Irregular Choice

Welcome to the psychadelic world of Irregular Choice, the moment you step into their Carnaby Street flagship, and you feel like you’re on an acid trip (yes that does somewhat date me…), you’re plunged into a Wonderland of gnomes, unicorns, and jedis made of every imaginable colour. But it’s all real, you can genuinely have a pair of shoes where the heels are bunny rabbits.


These rabbits are genuinely available to adorn your feet. Aren’t they the cutest?

Founder, designer, and maverick, Dan Sullivan wanted to completely break the rules, go against the establishment, the resulting outlandishness of Irregular Choice shoes means you can make that bold statement without having to go to vertiginous stilettos. The shoes are going to be so loud that many people prefer to tone down the rest of their outfit keeping the shoes as a focal point, equally you can keep in the spirit of Dan and Irregular Choice, and simply wear whatever takes your fancy, the madder the better.

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Designer Intro: & Other Stories

How does a brand within three years launch and go to having 31 stores in prime locations such as Regents Street, 5th Avenue and concessions in Printemps? & Other Stories is an interesting brand, if you don’t like big corporates, then you may as well look away now. International powerhouse H&M are the driving force behind them and they have sledgehammered their way into the market.


So it’s not the sexiest shoe in the world, but it’s great to throw to make a slouchy look a little dressier.

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Designer Intro: Rupert Sanderson

It’s an established designer, Rupert Sanderson that I am writing about today, I’m sure many of you will have heard of him and maybe even wear his shoes. It is his approach to the industry makes him a unique designer in today’s world of fashion. As a result a there is a strong and loyal following from all walks of life, and I’m sure fans will know the whole story, but for those of you new to Rupert Sanderson, I hope by the end of this you’ll be going out to try his shoes out for yourself.

Rupert’s Britishness does come through clearly, and in many ways he has broken with expectations, he refuses to allow himself to be drawn into the seemingly endless the stiletto arms race where many other designers are being outlandish for the sake of it, instead he creates elegant designs are subtly sexy and exceptionally easy to style and wear. He plays hide and seek, and uses juxtaposition and contrast to play tricks with the eye, the result is you’ll look fabulous, you’ll also feel that way because you never push your body beyond what it’s meant to do.

Key to his success has been the vertical integration of production it’s crucial to achieving the standards he seeks. Looking and feeling the shoes, you’ll notice that only the best materials are allowed to delicately cradle your feet, all stitched together by hands of experienced Italian craftsmen at his own factory. This is why his collections are never made in huge volumes; the result is they always feel so much more exclusive.

Apart from designing four collections each year, Rupert finds time to create for a number of carefully selected a number of collaborations, including having worked with the King of Fashion himself, Karl Lagerfeld. These collaborations have produces some of his more conceptual ideas, yet he holds true to his core values and even these shoes are still very much wearable.

Now if Manolo was Carrie’s weakness, Rupert is my equivalent, just looking at these shoes is never enough. It’s time for me to strut out off into the sunset and for you to go to a shop and try Rupert Sanderson for yourself. You won’t be look back, but everyone else will.

All images from Rupert Sanderson Resort 2016 Campaign, © Rupert Sanderson 2016