50 posts tagged "Nicholas Kirkwood"
What is it about women and shoes? According to Dr. Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of The Museum at FIT and the author of Shoes: A Lexicon of Style (among many other fashion books), the fixation dates back to Cinderella and her glass slippers. But that doesn’t necessarily explain women’s willingness to defy death, gravity, and blisters with the super-stacked platforms and needle-thin spikes of modern day. Shoe Obsession, The Museum at FIT’s upcoming exhibition (which, running from February 8 through April 13, was curated by Dr. Steele, Colleen Hill, and Fred Dennis), explores the female shoe fetish via some of the most iconic, outrageous, and exceptional styles that have come out this century.
Including shoes from established houses (Christian Louboutin’s Pigalle stilettos, Roger Vivier’s feather Eyelash pumps, Prada’s flame shoes, and Chanel’s gun heels), up-and-coming talents (Nicholas Kirkwood’s graffitied Keith Haring platforms, Charlotte Olympia’s Kiss Me Dolores pumps), and experimental designers (Masaya Kushino’s sculptural human hair, Cyprus wood, and lace platforms; Noritaka Tatehana’s eighteen-inch ballerina shoes), Shoe Obsession presents every type of high heel you can imagine—and several that you can’t. Here, Dr. Steele talks to Style.com about the fascination with extravagant shoes, the evolution of contemporary footwear, and the upcoming exhibition.
Let’s cut to the chase. Why are so many women obsessed with shoes?
Well, I think there are a couple of layers. First off, shoes are an intimate extension of the physical body. And they seem to say a lot about our personality, our sexual attitudes, and our social status. And high heels in particular seem to be the focus of a lot of our thoughts about gender, sexuality, eroticism, and femininity. I think there’s definitely an element of sexual fetishism involved in men’s fascination with women’s high-heel shoes. But for women, I think it’s not fetishism so much as it is an obsession with fashion and with shoes as the ultimate sartorial symbol of erotic femininity.
Have women always been obsessed with shoes, or was there a point in fashion history when the infatuation really took off?
It goes way back to Cinderella. Shoes have played an important role in cultural thought for a long time. In Qui êtes-vous, Polly Maggoo?, a film from the sixties about French fashion, there’s a wonderful scene when a TV reporter is interviewing some pompous French sociology professor who says that the Cinderella story is all about the importance of tiny feet and beautiful shoes. Then he says, “So there you are: fetishism, mutilation, pain. Fashion in a nutshell.” [Laughs] But I do think that our show is unique, because we’re not just looking at the social and psychosexual reasons why we all love shoes. We’re focusing on the twenty-first century and calling attention to the fact that in the last twelve years or so, after the end of Sex and the City, the obsession with high-end designer shoes has spread from something that only a few people were really obsessed with to being something that everybody’s obsessed with.
Why have heels risen to such hilariously high heights in the past few decades? And what dictates heel height?
I think the key element there is the acceptance of hypersexual shoe design as part of fashion, as opposed to just a corner of the pornographic industry. Before he died, Helmut Newton said in an interview that in the seventies, you had to go to fetish and porn stores to get the kind of shoes he wanted for his fashion photographs. But by the early nineties, he could go to any high fashion designer—Chanel, Dior, they were all doing fetish-y shoes. So that’s one thing, which I think is crucial to the recent growth of heels. Another is the popularity of platforms on shoes. If you’ve got a two-inch platform, automatically your heel can go from three to five inches, or from four to six, or whatever you want.
What makes women willing to shell out so much money for a pair of shoes that they may or may not be able to walk in?
Part of it is that shoe shopping is probably the highest form of fashion shopping. It’s the most pleasurable. I mean, who doesn’t look good in a pair of beautiful shoes? And compare it with something like bathing-suit shopping, which is the nadir of horror. Also, you can get a lot more fashion bang for your buck with a pair of shoes. You know, it might be a thousand dollars, but if you’re going to buy a jacket or a dress by that same or a comparable designer, you’d be talking three, four thousand dollars or up. And right now, people are, in a way, dressing in more of a uniform. For instance, many people just wear a well-cut pair of jeans and a great black jacket. But with shoes, they can play and transform themselves—they can change the style image that they’re creating. Continue Reading “FIT’s Foot Fetish” »
The Spring 2013 shows marked a snakeskin revival. It slithered down the runway in New York at Proenza Schouler and in London at Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. We saw it on sleek dresses at Reed Krakoff and Gucci, and on handbags at Valentino. The luxe exotic is in high demand, so incorporate Spring’s slick serpent motif into your wardrobe for the new year with pieces from Lanvin, Nicholas Kirkwood, Oscar de la Renta, and more.
1. Theory blouse, $267.31, available at www.farfetch.com
2. Giambattista Valli dress, $1,364, available at www.mytheresa.com
3. Lanvin clutch, $3,400, available at www.netaporter.com
4. Oscar de la Renta bracelet, $195, available at www.oscardelarenta.com
5. Nicholas Kirkwood sandal, $825, available at www.netaporter.com
To view more looks, click here.
Now in its fourth year, the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund announced its shortlist of nominees today. Roksanda Ilincic, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood, Peter Pilotto, and Emillia Wickstead are all up for the £200,000 prize, which was won in previous years by Erdem, Christopher Kane, and Jonathan Saunders. The winner will be named on January 29 after the designers present their collections to a panel of industry professionals that includes British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, the BFC’s Caroline Rush, Lisa Armstrong, Browns’ Joan Burnstein, and more. An intimidating bunch? Sure. But with a career-boosting 200 grand on the line, we wouldn’t expect anything less.
Good things rarely come of mixing high heels and cocktails. But when combined by Nicholas Kirkwood, the two make a tasty couple. Last night at his Mount Street flagship, the London-based shoe designer launched “The Chambord,” a collaborative pair of limited-edition holiday pumps inspired by the brand’s black raspberry liqueur.
Gwendoline Christie, Princess Julia, Peter Pilotto, Valentine Fillol-Cordier, and more dropped by Kirkwood’s Christmas fête to check out the festive ruby red and gold cocktail-themed shoes. And, of course, to enjoy a glass (or two) of holiday cheer.
2012 has been a big year for Kirkwood, what with shoeing the Victoria’s Secret Angels and winning the BFC’s Accessory Designer of the Year award. And he has his sights set high for 2013. The new year will see Kirkwood open a shop at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, launch a handbag range, and, at long last, debut his men’s line. So how will crafting gents’ kicks differ from designing for the ladies? “We’ll find out,” said Kirkwood. “I’m visiting a factory for men’s shoes tomorrow, where I intend to learn the ins and outs. I am expecting it will be a very cool journey.”
London’s menswear shows may be just around the corner, but today, the spotlight is on the city’s womenswear designers, as the British Fashion Council announced the 14 up-and-comers who have won NEWGEN sponsorship for Fall 2013. Joining alumni like Alexander McQueen, Mary Katrantzou, and Jonathan Saunders, the recipients include Simone Rocha—who broke out as a star last season with her plastic lace and neon collection—and, not surprisingly, J.W. Anderson, who, as was announced last month, will be designing a capsule collection for Versus in addition to his eponymous line. Knitwear designer Lucas Nascimento and the eco-chic Christopher Raeburn also made the list, along with accessories designer Sophia Webster. The former assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood, Webster put forth a range of bright, graphic heels for her debut collection last season and has emerged as one to watch in the quirky-cool world of London fashion. To see the full list of winners, visit the BFC’s Web site.