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Nichloas Kirkwood takes New York!

by Hollie Moat

Nicholas Kirkwood's new New York store

New York is hardly a city lacking in upscale shoe stores - in fact the ladies of the Big Apple are positively spoilt for choice when it comes to places to pick up the latest ‘it’ boot, so the opening of one more should hardly be cause for mass celebration. Except that this week it is, because this time the proprietor is rapidly rising footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood, and this, his first boutique on American soil (he already has a flagship store in London) could prove crucial in helping him join the likes of Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin in icon-heel territory.

Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood

With a sleek white, grey and beige décor, Kirkwood describes the new 1,500 sq. foot space as having ‘a gallery-esque feel to it, without being quite a cold as a gallery’ and will contain his full eponymous line, as well as the shoes he’s designed for other catwalk collections (the likes of Peter Pilotto and Paco Rabanne this season alone – Kirkwood’s list of designer collaborations reads like the a particularly spectacular day on a fashion week schedule).

The interior of the Nicholas Kirkwood New York store

Interestingly, Kirkwood claims that the New York store is a ‘cousin, rather than a sister’ to the London shop, which could prove a smart idea – after all, there are notable differences in British and American style.

And Kirkwood has also been making headlines for other reasons in the past week – namely daring to slam the look of the Duchess of Cambridge (a very brave move) saying, ‘It’d be great if she did wear [my] shoes. She just wears too much high street stuff. I know she’s trying to be democratic, but I don’t know how many pairs of LK Bennett you can wear. She does occasionally come out and is wearing [Alexander] McQueen or something like that. It’s like, ‘Do that more! You’re meant to be a princess-y type of person, so act like one!’

Kirkwood's creations for Paco Rabanne S/S 12 and Peter Pilotto S/S 12

Kirkwood’s shoes certainly are about as far away from LK Bennett’s as you can get, famed for their architectural quality and creative use of unusual materials like mirrored leather and stingray. The German born designer studied fine art but later went to work with Philip Treacy, whom he met on a skiing trip, and the famous milliner taught him ‘not to do something for the sake of sales’. Romantic American label Rodarte was the first of his many high-fashion collaborations (he’s been doing their catwalk shoes since S/S 09) and since 2010 he’s also held the post of Creative Director at luxury Italian label Pollini.
More experimental and fashion-forward than the other ‘big’ shoe designers, you could argue that Kirkwood’s pieces are not for sartorial wallflowers. But though many people over the years have claimed ‘shoes can really make an outfit’, Kirkwood is pushing that theory to the absolute max!


A Kirkwood design for Meadham Kirchoff S/S 12

A Nicholas Kirkwood design for S/S 12
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