…how to pick the perfect pair, comfort, trends, celebs and the naming of shoes. This is one BIG blog post!
Rupert Sanderson’s journey from disillusioned worker to shoe designer and factory owner sounds as if it should be a modern day fashion fairy tale and we were thrilled to attend Vogue’s super plush audience with the designer at Selfridges.
So here’s some things that we learnt about shoe designer extraordinaire Rupert Sanderson, before oggling his latest creations and scoffing macaroons in Selfridges’amazing shoe gallery. Scroll down for pics of his latest shoes and interview snippets.
Rupert talks shoes – our fav subject!
On Italy: After falling in love with the idea of making shoes in Italy, Rupert learnt Italian and bought a factory there. He’s obsessed with quality craftsmanship and loves the way that different shoe components come from different specialists and that all supply problems can be solved over lunch – “no problem is insurmountable over pasta!”
On celebrities: Rupert acknowledged that celebrity fans are part of the business and that it’s “flattering when they choose you over a blizzard of stuff that comes their way…I’m incredibly flattered that anyone wears them!” Kristen Scott Thomas was the first celebrity to wear Rupert’s shoes when he was just starting out and he said: “As a woman she embodies my ideal customer – a real woman, mother and talented individual who buys for herself.” Sweet.
On the naming of shoes: There is a tradition that shoes have names (no, I don’t mean how you personally address them when you have just brought them – ‘beautiful shoe,’ ‘pretty things, you’ – or when they have drawn blood and you’re hobbling into a taxi – ‘!*@*?! Shoes!’) but proper names. Rupert doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy this bit and then stumbled across a little green book called ‘The classified list of daffodils,’ which he said was a “light bulb moment – all my shoes will be named after daffodils!” So this book contains 18,000 varieties and names (that’s a lot of shoes!) but not all of them are suitable. Reading aloud from the book, Rupert said: “’Grenora’ – that’s quite a sweet word. ‘Grace’ – obvious. ‘Grotto’ – that will stay in the book. ‘Firebell’ – that’s quite nice for a tall boot.” You get the idea J
On the trendy mid-heel: Fashion editors are writing about the mid heel and we love wearing them. Rupert is enjoying the ‘freshness’of the midi height and noted lots of fashion editors wearing simple, pointed block heel styles to the latest batch of fashion weeks. It’s now officially a ‘thing’.
On the ones he wishes he had designed: Confession time. We asked Rupert which shoe style he wishes he had come up with and then felt a bit guilty as he didn’t have an answer up his sleeve. But…while he didn’t name a current style or specific shoe he wishes was his work (he’s all about the processes and craftsmanship) he said that he would like to come up with a technique that defines a whole category of shoe and that ‘the espadrille is a clever idea’. He also admires the leather used in 1950s shoes as it is tanned in a different way to be like paper. The resulting shoe shape and especially squared-off toes are in his view ‘perfection.’ He is on a quest to replicate that perfection and likes the handmade heels by designers like Roger Vivier, that he said look so dramatic.
On choosing the perfect shoe: Like many men, Rupert says he has “no idea what goes through a woman’s mind” … when choosing a shoe. Pointing out that he doesn’t wear his own designs, he says he has an abstract relationship with his shoes so it is hard to predict which styles women will go crazy for, but gets excited when he gets a really strong reaction to them. Talking comfort, he thinks the most important thing to women when choosing a shoe is that they will be envied by their friends but pointed out that he does design them properly so they are balanced – but that “you get nil points for comfort!” His advice to women when shopping for the perfect pair is: “Keep trying them on and come to me!” It’s a deal.
This is my fav shoes from Rupert’s SS13 collection
Although these are pretty neat too!
P.S. A big thank you to Vogue for a great evening (and delicious cocktails and food- the pistachio macaroons at Aubaine were amazing!) All Rupert and shoe-gushing is 100% our own opinion.
But we didn’t nibble the chocolate shoes!