Five Minutes with Nicholas Kirkwood
There’s a lot to look forward to when it comes to London’s most exciting footwear designer, the charming Nicholas Kirkwood. Not only is Kirkwood once again creating runway shoes for Rodarte, Erdem and Peter Pilotto alongside his namesake line, but the unstoppable force is also also working his magic as creative director at Italian luxury house Pollini and opening his first flagship boutique in London’s West End. The multiple award-winning designer, best known for his mercilessly high sculptural heels, will be opening his first shop this month. Amid endless holiday and New Year festivities our favourite renegade shoe designer (who has for the first time this season expanded into day shoes) takes five minutes to chat with W:
Congratulations on opening your first boutique! Tell us about the store. Where in London will it be located?
Thank you. I am really excited, but equally nervous as it is a big step for me to open my own shop. The store will be located at 5 Mount Street in Mayfair, London, and I was really lucky to get such a great location. Since I can’t have a fashion show every season as a shoe designer, this is one opportunity for me to show my collection to my customers in an environment that I designed specifically for it, something that conveys my brand. The design of the shop is striking, and has a number of feature elements and everything has been custom built, including the flooring which I have worked with the artist Richard Woods to execute. The look will be sharp and considered, but also abstract, and I ultimately want it to be comfortable and inviting. I’ve worked with a fine art lighting designer, as I think that the lighting, especially for shoes, is extremely important.
Why did you decide to open a flagship store? What can your fans expect from this store–any new collaborations or limited editions?
I have worked to grow and expand my collection over the years and thought that now is the time to show the collection in its own environment and in its entirety in one place. I really want the shop, and the selection of shoes in the shop, to further define the brand. There will be a number of special editions and a selection of made-to-order shoes as well as a selection of the shoes that I do in collaboration with ready-to-wear designers and the capsule collection I am doing with the Keith Haring Foundation. I will always want the selection in the shop to create excitement around the brand, and I think it will be a good testing ground for new projects and products.
Can you tell us about your latest spring collection – which are your particular favorites?
For spring 2011, the collection is more diverse and larger than previous collections and therefore has a number of different elements and inspirations. I wanted to show a lighter and more delicate hand with materials, color palette, silhouettes and structures—the heels and shapes. I wanted the collection to show the refinement of my aesthetic, without losing any details. I also expanded into new categories and introduced a number of day style and classics, or at least my take on them. Lower heel heights, shoes in red patent, and decorative tassles are some of other firsts for me in the spring collection. I had never thought it was time to introduce these types of things in my collection until now for one reason or another, and I suppose that this has a lot to do with the idea of opening my first shop.
You are always teaming up with amazing designers and labels including Rodarte, Louise Gray and Erdem on show shoes – who will you be collaborating with for fall 2011?
I will be working again with Rodarte, Erdem and Peter Pilotto for show shoes and capsule collections. I will also be working with Meadham Kirchhoff, Louise Gray, Michael van der Ham, among others through Pollini.