While shoe gurus like Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Giuseppe Zanotti and Stuart Weitzman make us swoon, any well-heeled woman knows that when it comes to footwear designers, the market is mostly a masculine domain. Until now, that is. A new breed of femmes have emerged with
super chic shoe lines and are out to prove that when it comes to female feet, to prove that when it comes to female feet, women have the upper hand.
Who: Charlotte Olympia
What: Arguably the buzziest of the group, Cordwainers grad and London It-girl Charlotte Olympia Dellal launched her signature label in 2006. The half-Brazilian, half-British creative director’s creations are inspired by vintage glamour – think towering heels, juicy colours and loads of animal prints – and have been spotted on Beyonce, Sienna Miller, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Last year, Dellal opened her first store in London and launched her debut bridal range but kicked her business into high gear this season when she collaborated with Victoria Beckham to create a capsule line for the Victoria by Victoria Beckham collection in New York. With glowing reviews at its spring 2012 launch during London Fashion Week and the recent announcement that former Halstonette Bonnie Takhar has signed on as Charlotte Olympia’s new chief commercial and merchandising officer, it’s clear that Dellal future is looking very bright.
Where: Available at The Room at The Bay.
Fun fact: Style runs in the family. Mum is former YSL muse Andrea Dellal, sister Alice is a front row regular and business partner of jewellery designer Dominic Jones, and brother Alex is a gallery owner and boyfriend of Princess Charlotte Casiraghi of Monaco.
Who: Camilla Skovgaard
What: Denmark-born, London-based Skovgaard spent four years at Matthew Williamson before striking out on her own in 2006. Trained at Cordwainers college and London’s Royal College of Art, her architectural platforms and cutout sandals with signature rubber sawtooth soles have garnered her high praise and numerous awards.
Where: Available at Holt Renfrew, Grafic Women, Rac Boutique, Gravity Pope, Carte Blance and Ssense.
Fun Fact: Skovgaard also designs New York wunderkind-Alexander Wang’s footwear collection.
More great shoe designers to know on the next page …
Who: Tabitha Simmons
What: Not only is New York based Simmons a power house stylist married to an equally renowned photographer (Craig McDean), and owner of an enviable shoe collection (around 500 paris at last count), she’s also a crackerjack designer. Unveiled in 2009, the super slick line, which recently expanded to include a resort collection, blends British quirkiness with directional silhouettes. No surprise that style supremos like Alexa Chung, Lea Michele, Julianne Moore and Kate Moss are fans of the footwear.
Fun Fact: Ms. Moss was snapped wearing a pair of Simmon’s bow-trimmed blue velvet boots at her wedding rehearsal dinner.
What: Launched in 2009 by Alessandra Guerra Lanvin, the Paris-based creative director produces luxurious, chic, and sexy heels that you can – gasp! – actually walk in. Crafted with a padded sole and cone heel, her technique results in a surprisingly sturdy design that starlets like Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Alba, Jordana Brewster and Ginnifer Goodwin love to reach for when taking turns on the red carpet.
Fun fact: Lanvin is married to the grandson of Jeanne Lanvin.
Who: Laurence Dacade
What: Obsessed with shoes since she was 14, the chic Parisienne launched her eponymous label in 2001 with the idea that beautiful shoes need not be painful. Lined in lamb for added comfort, her collection is effortlessly cool combination of masculine-meets-feminine, embellished with sexy details like sequins and bows for just the right hit of glam. Everyone from the Olsen twins to Sea of Shoes blogger Jane Aldrige are fans.
Wear: Available at Davids Footwear
Fun fact: She’s taking over your wardrobe by stealth, thanks to her stints designing footwear for Balmain, Givenchy, Nina Ricci, Matthew Williamson, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter