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My life in shoes- inside the shoe cupboard of a petite fashion designer

March 12, 2021

My first designer shoes were black patent Jimmy Choo. They were a gift from my then boyfriend and he bought them for me in Harrods. I don’t know what I was more happy about- the shoes or the green Harrods bag, but I kept both for a very long time. I was a trainee solicitor at that time and I wore the shoes in the office and out in courts. I rarely wore them out on the streets and kept a good care of them. Since then I’ve always added half rubber sole to my designer shoes before I take them out for the first time to prolong their life span.

The favourites

If I were to wear only one brand for the rest of my life, it would be Chanel. Comfort of their shoes is unparalleled and they manage to make classic styles look fresh and modern. I’ve three pairs, two pairs of kitten keels (one ankle boots) and block heel pair and they allow me to stay stylish all days long. I don’t want to have to change from flats to heels and back to flats. It’s the French way. I also don’t save them for special occasions. I want to look stylish on a daily basis.

Unexpected heroes are…

My classic Gucci loafers which I bought in Gucci flagship store in London. I was writing a fashion blog at the time and I was heavily influenced by what was happening on Instagram, fashion wise. A boom on Gucci under Alessandro Michele has just started and I wanted a piece of Gucci, too. I didn’t like any of the bags so I went for the classic loafers. They turned out to be one of most hard working shoes in my wardrobe. I still wear them and fall back on the every time I need to look god but be comfortable. I’m still wearing my first pair but I will definitely repurchase them in the future.

My shoe buying rules

Get the most expensive pair you can afford. It came true for me over and over- each time I bought cheap, novelty shoes (often heavily inspired by another design) I ended up wearing them only a few times. I decided to stop doing it and I would rather now save up for an original pair I know I will wear for years.

70% of classic designs, 30% of fantasy shoes. I love my true and tested classic like my Chanel suede ankle boots or their two tones courts. They are elegant and go with every outfit I own. But I equally love my fantasy pairs like my Isabel Marant zebra patterned ankle boots with studs They spice up classic outfits. One of my favourite pairing is black, oversized cashmere jumper, leather cropped trousers and these boots. It’s a simple yet very effective formula.

90% of my shoes have to match my lifestyle. When I was still living in London and going out a lot, my shoe wardrobe was mostly heels- office shoes and party shoes. I moved around London in cabs so it was easier to wear high heels. Now that I live on a French coast and walk everywhere, I prefer flats or kitten heels. I want to look chic but also be comfortable when I walk to a restaurant, which may be a 15 minutes stroll to the marina.

My shoe dislikes

I cannot get behind the idea of chunky soles and platforms. I love shoes that are elegantly cut and chunky platforms aways seem clunky to me. Also, I’m petite and I feel like a chunky soles would wear me instead the other way around.

Past seasons

I’m happy to buy shoes from past seasons when I know they would be a great addition to my wardrobe. Some of them I hunt for for months if not years. There was one particular pair- canvas snake print boots with fringe and assets, and a cone heel which I saw on Isabel Marant catwalk show in 2010. I eventually found them in 2016 in one of London consignment shops.  I still wear them every Spring and Summer.

The exception

I rarely buy uncomfortable shoes but I have one pair that I won’t give up- it’s a pair of barely there sandals from The Row. They were a gift to myself for my birthday a couple of years ago. They consist of 3 thin leather straps and were described as “footwear equivalent of a slip dress”. They don’t offer a lot of support when you walk but what they lack in comfort, they make up for it in looks department. There’s something subtly alluring about almost naked foot. They are one of my favourite pairs.

What I bought this season

For A/W I got three pairs (well, five if you count my 2 pairs of rain boots). First purchase were caramel suede knee length boots with a small heel from Staud. I was inspired by an editorial in French Vogue, subtly referencing 70’s. I wore the boots with dark denim trousers and navy denim shirt and paired them with our camel cashmere coat once the temperature dropped. It rains a lot here on the coast so I haven’t been able to wear them a lot but I don’t mind- they are such a classics that I will have them for years to come.

My next purchase were a pair of Dior Quest boots from Dior cruise collection. They are motorbike inspired and have a huge wow factor. I’ve worn them over and over again since I bought them and  I’ll be wearing them long into Spring and Summer, pairing them with dresses for a modern, cool look.

Paris Texas rhinestones suede boots were this year birthday gift to myself. They remind me of YSL Swarovski crystal covered boots that were the talk of Paris Fashion Week in 2017.  Even thought I like jazzy shoes I was surprised myself at how badly I wanted them. I’ll be wearing them to parties and cocktails comes Spring (and hopefully the end of restrictions). Even thought I don’t envisage wearing them very often, I still have a lot of pleasure from owning them.

Paris Texas shoes were on my radar for a while but their heels are very high which had put me off in the past. But with this pair, I don’t imagine walking further then to and from a cab so it’s ok.

What I’m planning to buy for Spring/ Summer season

When I’m planning on buying shoes I always want to wear them past the current season so I need to make sure they are classic enough to wear them for 3-5 years (yes, my oldest pair of Chanel courts is 5 years old and counting).  I’m eyeing these:

Alaïa laser cut slides in neutral hue. I love slides for summer and I’ve lived in my Hermes Oran sandals for the past three seasons. I was thinking of adding another pair in a different colour but I fell in love with an Alaïa pair. They are elegant, quite unusual and discreetly luxurious, which I love. They’ll wil go with everything in my summer wardrobe.

Black suede Manolo mules. I’m a huge fan of kitten heels, especially after I broke my ankle in 2017 (in flats, no less). I’m 5’2 so kitten heels still give me a bit of a lift whilst being comfortable to wear. Manolo mules sport no visible label, they are just beautifully cut and quietly luxurious. I will wear them with our Sascha dress or white trousers and black silk shirt.

Gladiator inspired Rondini sandals. Gladiators are classics but this season they’ll be particularly popular. I like the brand’s Bikini model. They are the sort of discreet, chic sandals that French women and fashion people in the known have been wearing for years.

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