Since she launched her eponymous clothing line a decade ago, New York designer Ulla Johnson has become the savvy woman’s go-to for classic yet charismatic clothes stand up to the vagaries of fashion season after season. So when she decided to expand her collection to include shoes, she strove to give them that same lasting power. “I wanted something that felt refined but also easy and at a good price point,” Johnson says. “Something you could wear for different times and needs. And it had to be a heel and be comfortable. I love my heels—I wore them even when I was nine months pregnant—and I’m not a cab girl. I take the subway.” With that in mind, Johnson spent considerable time developing a last with her Peruvian factory, and had them make the sample in her size, 40, rather then the standard 37, so she could road test them personally. The effort has paid off in her two debut styles: a mid-height stacked heel pump with saucy toe cleavage and a similarly shaped ankle boot. Both come in black, nude, and a rich caramel and feature subtle details like contrasting textures and back lacing that keeps the rear view as engaging as the front. Best of all, just as Johnson promised, they’re up to the challenge of a day of sidewalks, subway platforms, and office carpeting. If you’re still standing, you could even take them for a spin on the dance floor.
Photo: Peter Stanglmayr