Paul Andrew spring/summer 2013 – made in Italy: “My aesthetic focus has been to turn attention back to the exquisite lightness of the stiletto heel; an adverse reaction to platform footwear that has become the mainstream styling of today. Shoes that are sexy yet sophisticated with a fantastical influence from artisan, almost couture, techniques, which I attempt to infuse into modern, perfectly balanced shoe silhouettes with a contemporary edge.” – Paul Andrew
Even after seeing just a single shoe from his collection, I knew I was going to love all of shoe designer Paul Andrew‘s work. After first hearing about him last fall, I then recently spotted an article on him in the January 2013 issue of Vogue magazine and his shoes featured in Harpers Bazaar. With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week just around the corner, I can’t wait to see the Paul Andrew fall/winter 2013 collection IN PERSON (yes, I can’t wait) next week! I was so excited for the opportunity to interview this designer in this Q&A with Nonsense & Sensibility.
N/S: What was the most incredible aspect of designing your first collection for Paul Andrew? How did your company come to be?
Paul Andrew: After more than thirteen years designing shoes and accessories for Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen and Narciso Rodriguez, I finally felt ready to launch my own eponymous collection. Working with Donna was especially valuable for my development as a designer. For more than a decade she taught me the importance of truly original, luxurious product, and most important, the perfect fit! So now I design my own collection, these professional experiences really inform the way I design; I’m one of the only shoe designers that still painstakingly creates the prototype of every last, heel and pattern; the fit is just so important to me. Everyone who tries on the shoes comments the comfort — but the shoes certainly don’t look orthopedic! This is the key for me. So seeing my shoe designs manifested at the highest level of manufacture, the fact women want to buy them and can wear them, this has been incredible!
N/S: What has been the most rewarding part of your journey thus far? How would you like to see your company grow?
Paul Andrew: The journey has only just begun, but the most rewarding aspect has been the way in which the retailers and press have so positively embraced the collection. They see so much product from so many designers -only a fraction of what the customer sees on the sales floor is what a designer actually presents to them- so the fact my debut collection will shortly be available at Barneys New York, Saks Fifth Avenue and several other international retailers is such a compliment and so rewarding! I’m excited now for delivery of the product onto the sales floors in mid-February and the reaction of the customer.
N/S: How would you describe your shoes and aesthetic to someone who hasn’t seen your collection?
Paul Andrew: My aesthetic focus has been to turn attention back to the exquisite lightness of the stiletto heel; an adverse reaction to platform footwear that has become the mainstream styling of today. Shoes that are sexy yet sophisticated with a fantastical influence from artisan, almost couture, techniques, which I attempt to infuse into modern, perfectly balanced shoe silhouettes with a contemporary edge. The focus of the house will always be on originality, quality, comfort and modernity and my shoes are all handmade by one of Italy’s finest manufacturers using only the most luxurious, exotic and refined materials.
N/S: What inspired your premiere collection? And, where do you draw your inspiration from on a daily basis?
Paul Andrew: A visit to the Guggenheim Museum in the spring of 2012 really moved me. A retrospect of John Chamberlain‘s sculptures was being exhibited and the way he worked colour, form and proportion had influence on my sensibility while I was designing the first collection. But in general I find inspiration from all over; one just has to look and you find color and shape and proportion and material in the world. This is what really informs my design practice, my ideas about what is new and innovative and compelling
N/S: Who are your own personal style icons?
Paul Andrew: Azzedine Alaia, Miuccia Prada, Donna Karan, Tom Ford and Manolo Blahnik…. One doesn’t even need to say their surnames, and you know their designs without even looking at the label. They have all created something truly original, and unrivaled.