To celebrate the launch of my-wardrobe’s new Shoe Boutique, we speak exclusively to six of their star footwear designers.
Allow us to introduce Paul Andrew, the designer whose name is on every fashion editor’s lips right now. Sculptural uppers and innovative cutwork shapes make his sleek heels stand-out and having worked with the best in the business (Narciso Rodriguez, Donna Karan, et al) before setting up his own, Paul’s label is destined for success. His reaction to the hype is incredibly modest; “If that's the word on the street, then naturally I'm thrilled!”
How long did you spend thinking about your own label before actually launching it?
It had been on my mind since before college. After fourteen years working with some of the best designers in the business, it suddenly felt like the right moment to step out on my own. I have been sketching a lot in my spare time and had started to form a concise vision for what my own brand of shoes could look like. It felt like it was now or never, and one day I just woke up and decided to take the plunge! But it took that time working with other designers to understand I was ready to launch my own business, to create something with my own design identity and launch a business infrastructure.
Which designers did you work with?
I started my career in London as a design apprentice at Alexander McQueen before moving to New York in the late 1990s to help launch Narciso Rodriguez's shoe and accessory business. After that I spent several years at Calvin Klein, who's unwavering vision taught me to stand firm to my original designs. Upon Calvin's retirement I moved to Donna Karan where I spent the best part of a decade working alongside Donna as the design head for her eponymous collection’s shoes and accessories. Donna instilled in me the importance of original design, impeccable quality, fit and comfort and I always carry those ideals with me.
What makes your design signature?
After a decade of towering platforms flooding the marketplace, my focus has been to create fine, elegant single sole shoes that are modern and innovative and grounded by femininity. My vision is about lightness in design and construction.
What inspired your AW13 collection?
My design studio is dangerously close to Rizzoli bookstore in New York and I spend hours perusing their shelves. During the design process for the fall I came across a book titled BIRD by New York artist, Andrew Zuckerman. The vibrant shades of the feathers influenced the colour palette and his powerful images of birds in flight inspired the 'wing' details on ankle boot and court shoe silhouettes.
What goals do you have for the brand in the next few years?
Developing my women's shoe business is definitely the immediate focus, but I do have ambitions to launch a men's shoe collection in the coming seasons, as well as accessories and small leather goods. But one step at a time!
Which star would you love to see wearing Paul Andrew shoes?
I recently saw Blue Jasmine starring Cate Blanchett. I'm an enormous fan of her work and would be so honored if she chose to wear my shoes. I also have great admiration for Julianne Moore and Gwyneth Paltrow. Each so graceful and sophisticated.
By Caroline Leaper