Shoe heaven: Nicholas Kirkwood

In virtually no time at all, Nicholas Kirkwood has established himself as something of a footwear deity. His architectural, alienous pairs of heels – as well as being a commercial success – managed to raise the design bar and redefine our thinking about what a shoe should be. So what would Kirkwood have in store for Fall 2011? We stopped by his showroom during Paris fashion week, a showroom that was like a candy store for the shoe-lover, to find out.

A lot of Kirkwood’s shoes for the coming season are quite pared back and understated, but at no time is the detail lacking. One technique Kirkwood used was to press together laser cut suede over velvet, then emboss it, creating a richly textured finish that finds its way onto both heels and flats. The embossing is a running thread through the collection. Embossed horse-bit details on the toes of pumps; embossed and stitched buckles that are so three-dimensional you could swear they were functional rather than just decorative.

Some heels are sprouting with wild tufts of fur, as if to turn the wearer into some feather-footed equine. Others carry through Kirkwood’s established futurist bent in aquatic hues of shimmering snakeskin. A chunky wedge is sashayed with suede fringing. There’s a wide variety of styles this time around and many to be adored, but for all the amazing detail there’s a simpler pair at the top of my personal list: Kirkwood’s take on the traditional knee-high riding boot, which presents itself in a kind of mod 60s light.

You can view more pictures from Nicholas Kirkwood‘s autumn / fall 2011 / 2012 collection at the gallery below. Hint: also look out for a little detail that Kirkwood is establishing as his signature, the subtle metallic stripe at the join of each heel.