New York - surely the spiritual home of fashion shoe fetishists. Its an enduring image; Carrie Bradshaws love affair with Manolos, Anne Hathaway teetering along in The Devil Wears Prada or Blake Lively dressed to the nines complete with spindle-heeled colourful pumps in Gossip Girl. According to WWD, the real-life equivalent of these fictional fashionistas have happily welcomed up-and-coming shoe designers, Nicholas Kirkwood, Charlotte Olympia and Tabitha Simmons into their wardrobes and their hearts.
Although pairs by the likes of Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Louboutin are no less popular, style savvy customers have embraced the more edgy and inventive designs from our own London designers. 'People are seeking out extreme fashion from footwear selections, [so] we need them from a merchandise perspective to add newness but also from a business point of view,' said Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director Elizabeth Kanfer, adding that such newer brands are becomes less emerging and more of a substantial part of our sales.
Nicholas Kirkwoods very sculptural wedge booties are now up there in Saks best-seller chart, as trend-hungry New Yorkers pay upwards of $1000 a pair for them, causing store bosses to look at rolling them out to other US locations as soon as possible. Ken Downing, Neiman Marcus fashion director and senior vice president, believes that todays shoppers dont worry about brand loyalty as much as having the ultimate in cool style. The Neiman Marcus shopper is trend-curious and seeks immediate credit in her wardrobe and shes attracted to a pair of shoes that she doesnt have. These women know the silhouettes and colours that are trending and they want these new shoes immediately, and its not as important who the designer is'.
So, even though the Kirkwoods and Olympias may not be household names in the USA, it may not be much longer until they are.