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Breaking: Nicholas Kirkwood Is Not Losing His Edge


“If I want to be a shoe brand and not so niche, I need to embrace the simple shoe,” Nicholas Kirkwood said between sales appointments at his showroom in the Marais. “My focus is on making a part of the collection for everyday.” His face betrayed a slight worry. After all, Kirkwood has amassed a relatively small but fiercely loyal and possessive following—a group that doesn’t want to hear that their creative genius is bowing to practical concerns. So it’s with a touch of hesitation that Britain’s favorite cobbler son is expanding his oeuvre of fantastical, killer shoes.

What’s new in the house of Kirkwood? First, the divisive low heel. “I’ve never done a normal kitten heel,” he explained. “I thought, let’s just make it look kind of awkward, but it’s actually done quite well.” Kirkwood’s sling-back versions are raised up on platforms to give a kittenish look with a bit more height. There’s some straightforward sexiness in a black patent sling-back or a slightly asymmetrical snake d’Orsay pump. But what could be the perfect everyday option for the Kirkwood girl when she’s flying under the radar are the very chic and sportif d’Orsay buckled sandal boots in plain tobacco or black leather and a stacked leather sole. Look out for the distinguishing Kirkwood mark: a tiny sliver of pale gray just above the heel cap.

Worry not, though, Kirkwood-klatch. There are still shoes upon which to feast your eyes. What caught ours: the naughty-nice (OK, more naughty) high platform satin sling-backs and pumps covered in digital prints by designer Hermione de Paula. There’s also more Kirkwood to be had through his new work for Italian house Pollini, which he managed to get on a few runways this season, including Preen, Louise Gray, Meadham Kirchhoff, and Manish Arora. “It’s nice to have that, to make Pollini relevant,” he said. “My job is to make them cool and to get them into stores.”

Photos: Courtesy of Nicholas Kirkwood

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