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My luxury life: Nicholas Kirkwood

The British footwear designer is a celebrity favourite and is known for the architectural quality of his designs and innovative use of materials. The 35-year-old is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his eponymous brand with a special collection, which in the Middle East can be ordered exclusively from Level Shoe District in The Dubai Mall.
Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood launched his eponymous brand 10 years ago. Photo by David Brook
Footwear designer Nicholas Kirkwood launched his eponymous brand 10 years ago. Photo by David Brook

Who in fashion inspires you?

Alexander McQueen, particularly during the years I was studying. He was doing things that were never done before.

When you’re designing a shoe, what comes first: comfort or style?

You want to start with comfort and eventually move on to style. You don’t just want one or the other.

Should you judge a person by their shoes?

A lot of it is in the detail. You can tell what a person does by their shoes. I used to have a teacher who wore Clarks shoes. We called them Cornish pasty shoes.

If you could wake up anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would you be?

I stayed at the Six Senses [Zighy Bay] in Oman recently, and I’d absolutely love to go back.

You’re sitting down to the perfect meal. Where are you, whom are you with and what are you eating?

A decadent chocolate cake with Willy Wonka, at his factory, with the Oompa-Loompas serving.

What does your dream home look like?

There would be a lot of print, colour and objet lighting.

What is your favourite city, and why?

Los Angeles, though it didn’t use to be. I love the pace and the sunshine. And since it’s so far, the difference in time zones means I can catch up on emails.

What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe right now?

An oversized neoprene hoodie by Neil Barrett.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Formentera in Spain. It’s all rustic and has great food and truly amazing beaches.

How do you relax when you’re on home turf?

I go for a massage at the Corinthia Hotel, in London.

Where is your favourite place to shop?

Selfridges. It’s really a one-stop shop, whether you need presents or something to wear for an evening event. They have a great menswear department. I’ll also check out Dover Street Market or go online to MrPorter or MatchesFashion.

What is the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever received?

It was actually from my mum: don’t wear socks with sandals. The German tourist look isn’t a great one.

If you weren’t a shoe designer, what would you be doing?

I’d be working as a jewellery designer, which I nearly went into while at Central Saint Martins.

What are you currently shopping for?

I’m actually redesigning my home and I’ve been searching for mid-century furniture and different kinds of lamps, specifically objet lighting.

If you were stuck on an island, which is the one album you would want to have with you?

The Drive soundtrack.

What was the inspiration behind your 10-year collection?

[I wanted] to go back to the essence of why I started designing shoes – to subvert ideas of what footwear should look like. For this collection, I wanted to experiment with graphicism in a quite literally playful way. It explores the concept of being 10 years old again, and the excitement of discovering something. Many moments in pop culture have a strong influence on me, but growing up in the 1980s, the culture of arcades, toys and films was the first I participated in, and it’s this energy I wanted to recreate.


Updated: December 10, 2015 04:00 AM



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