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April 19 2014

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69 posts tagged "Nicholas Kirkwood"

Ladies who Lunch

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“I’m literally here for a few hours,” said shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood, who flew to New York from London for a luncheon at Bergdorf Goodman yesterday. The occasion? The arrival of his new Spring collection, which, featuring pearl-soled pumps and swirling metallic sandals, was on display in the center of the department store’s famed shoe floor. “It’s nice to meet the customers and have lunch with some New York ladies,” laughed Kirkwood, who revealed that he’s opening a new store in the Wynn Las Vegas this June and hopes to launch handbags in the next year.

Indeed, he attracted quite a set of ladies—from New York and elsewhere. The likes of Shala Monroque, Suno’s Erin Beatty, Hannah Bronfman, and Julie Gilhart joined hosts Cecilia Dean and Leslie Fremar to fete Kirkwood. A five-months-pregnant Margherita Missoni took a break from renovating her and her husband’s New York pad to dine with the designer. “I have a harder time wearing very, very high heels now,” conceded Missoni, who’s working on a book to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of her family’s house. “I’m loving wedges, so I bought three pairs to wear over the summer. And I’m so over platforms.” If the Spring trend reports are any indication, she’s not alone. “I’ve been trying to do single soles since 2009,” said Kirkwood. “I would have been happy if they went out, like, two years ago.”

Valerie Steele, who included Kirkwood’s shoes in FIT’s Shoe Obsession exhibition and lauded him as one of the “emerging superstars of shoe design,” was skeptical. “There are a lot of people who have practiced very hard to wear their platforms, and who love the extra height it gives, so I think they’re going to remain an option,” she said. “And, of course, just because it’s swinging toward single sole now doesn’t mean that in eighteen months it won’t swing back.”

Photo: BFAnyc.com/Matteo Prandoni

Nicholas Kirkwood’s Over-The-Top Fall '13

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Nicolas Kirkwood has been pondering luxury materials of late. And his musings about fur, lace, and python resulted in a sumptuous and over-the-top Fall '13 collection. Take, for instance, his towering black ankle boots with Baroque embroidery, his open-toe heels garnished with tufts of purple fur, or the fin-like lace that grew out of some of his sky-high pumps. On the classic side, there were pearl-trimmed offerings, and some of Kirkwood’s details, like sharp zigzags, provided a graphic punch. “I really approach my collections by just doodling, and those lines evolve into shapes kind of organically,” explained the designer, adding that he enjoys exploring new techniques. “This was my second try at embroidery, and it was really fun.”

Speaking of fun new things, back in January, Kirkwood debuted his first men’s collection. The designer lifted some techniques from his women’s line for the range, like ticking out patterns in tiny gold studs or using black and blue zigzags to jazz up a classic brogue. The reaction to those models was so strong among Kirkwood’s female friends that he spun out some of them, like the Chelsea boots, for women, too.

Photo: Courtesy of Nicholas Kirkwood

Shop the Look: Graphic Artist

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After the excess of dizzyingly colorful digital prints we’ve seen the last few seasons, Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2013 collection was like a breath of fresh air. Most of his streamlined pieces featured checkerboard, chevron, and striped patterns in a strict black-and-white palette. While we might not step out in a version of look one’s T-shirt and micro boy-short, we are inspired to add a similarly graphic punch to our spring wardrobe. Shop our bold looks from Equipment, Proenza Schouler, Nicholas Kirkwood, and more, below.


1. Equipment shirt, $288, available at www.equipmentfr.com

2. Sass & Bide shirt, $180, available at www.net-a-porter.com

3. Marni skirt, $760, available at www.net-a-porter.com

4. Proenza Schouler bag, $1,725, available at www.proenzaschouler.com

5. Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, $720, available at www.colette.fr

To view more looks, click here.

Photo: Courtesy Photo

Nicholas Kirkwood’s Big Win

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Today in London, it was announced that shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood won the 2013 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award, beating out nominees Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda Ilincic, Peter Pilotto, and Emilia Wickstead. Kirkwood walks away with a £200,000 prize and mentorship from industry insiders. This marks the start to a big year for Kirkwood, who launched his first men’s range during the London menswear shows earlier this month. Considering previous winners have included Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders, and Erdem Moralioglu, Kirkwood’s got some big shoes to fill, but we have a feeling he’s up for it.

Photo: Dave M. Benett/ Getty Images

FIT’s Foot Fetish

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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” »