I was all over marble and thought it would be all over the world but just when you think late winter is a sea of alabaster and platinum BLAM it's florals again. I want flowers...on my walls...or maybe in a pair of mesh Sabia Rosa knickers...but I am resolutely architectural when it comes to my shoes. My heel has to to be a column, not a stem!! So all hail my marble heeled grey suede pump in IN STYLE this month.
This shoe was a bit silly in terms of luxury. Pale grey isn't puddle proof but it makes me think of plush pile in hotel lobbies and raincoats in 60s spy movies and being RESOLUTE. No one is going to keep you waiting in a faux marble heel and when you turn to leave...let them perish into a pillar of salt.
Hey Cinderella do you have magic slipper tiny toes?
At my gorgeous glamorous end of summer sale I have a cachet of size 37 shoes, slippers, sandals and boots all priced below $300. Perfect for the woman with a smaller sole or, God help us, for your 13 year old daughter with a fashion habit.
Starts this Wednesday 29th April from 10am. Tusculum, 4 Manning Street, Potts Point, Sydney.
In her towering perspex heel he thought he could see right through her. Of course he was wrong. She wasn't fleeing from him, she was running to the Sophie Cox sample sale.
Starts next Wednesday 29th April at 10am - 5pm everyday until 4pm Saturday. 4 Manning Street, Potts Point!
When I design a shoe I weave a tale from the heel up. Whether it's a perfumed garden giving seed to pastel laser-cut pumps for the Passion Flower collection or a lipstick stained cigarette smoking alone in a crystal ashtray...stay with me...for the ROCK MUSE boots...I see subplots replete in every shoe and every box contains a mythology.
So it's a bit melancholy to have a sample sale and see all the glory and the glamour stacked up to go like pizza boxes. But LUCKY YOU, every shoe in my forthcoming sale is priced like a bestseller: three hundred dollars and devilishly lower than that. Don't risk losing out on the shoe of your life by catching public transport, hail a cab and then hustle on in.
My secret shoe stories are waiting for your magic footsteps.
Take me straight to 78' and speed dial Bryan Ferry!
If each of my collections forms a greatest hits, then Rock Muse is the glam rock collection. When I designed the metallic heels and foxy boots I was thinking about the rainbow room above Biba in the early 70s and Max's Kansas City in the heyday of Blondie, just a cocaine sneeze later in the best decade for rock...ever. Thank you Marie Claire for running one of my favourite shoes. I think turquoise green is actually a trans-seasonal staple and looks white hot with blue jeans or a little white dress. Not to mention leopard print.
Top Image: Bryan Ferry (I can't remember her name but I can't forget the shoes..)
Image Above: Sophie Cox Passion Flower Turquoise. Contact us to pre order.
Listen up Peeps...I don't mind a glimpse of nail varnish and recently was quite amused to see that the words "Peep Toe" has their own category in Wikipedia.
"Peep-toe shoes were popular beginning in the 1940s but disappeared by the 1960s. Peep-toe shoes had a brief resurgence in the 1970s/80s, before falling out of fashion by the mid-1990s. More recently, they have enjoyed some popularity again, with variations such as "peep-toe boots" appearing."
My theory of the return of the peep is that this is a shoe for a womanly girl and not a girlish woman. You might be stitched up in a Prada suit or a very quiet shirt front dress...no cleavage please this is Milan...and then, down below, these is that coquettish show of toes. It's witty and somehow it relates to lingerie but in a very oblique way.
My interpretation of the peep toe is usually in a light material and a pale candy colour. Other shoes in chocolate or black go to work..but this little pump goes to town, or endless lunch.
Available in various colours now at Quincy, 76 Queen Street Woollahra.
Someone once mumbled that imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Was that Oscar Wilde? Well hello Oscar I am a seedling young designer who spotted an uncanny resemblance between my Beetle boot and the new seasons copy cat offering from Isabel Marant. Their version had some spandangly (slightly Nashville goes to Belville) embellishments which is about the only point of difference.
And, ahem, it's not the first time (see MIDAS rip off from 2014). But note to Paris: why not have me design your next capsule collection? Bigger isn't always better, d'accord? Just sayin....
Top Image: Isabel Marant LARS Boot
Bottom Image: Sophie Cox Tom Collins Boot
I heart romance and a boot that leaves a lasting impression. Thanks to The Weekend Australian style page this weekend my spring bulb booty saw the light of day but here is the critical detail that was not in shot: The heel is heart shaped and the carved wooden 'shaft' is designed to resemble a spring bulb. Fans of this petulant yet practical booty might be tempted to absent mindedly run their index finger up and down the heel and yes that is a bit kinky but I designed this boot to be the every day shoe you fall in LOVE with and...if walking on wet grass...the boot that leaves a trail of hearts in your wake.
This design is made bespoke to order so please register your interest here http://www.sophiecox.com/pages/contact-us
Of all the shoes I created for the PASSIONFLOWER collection this is the most quietly original and in keeping with my belief that the best footwear has a sculptural signature. I can't wait to wear mine scampering along the wet sand at Palm Beach and write a love letter for the tides.
I am pleased to announce the arrival of two gorgeous new shoes from the Spring/Summer 2015 Passionflower collection at QUINCY on Queen Street, Woollahra.
These two sculpted streamlined heels are personal favourites because they feature two of my design fetishes: laser cut geometric insignia and metallic leather in a subtle hue.
The inspiration behind Passionflower is the idea of nocturnal beauty in broad daylight, orchids for breakfast, satin on a Monday, the irreverence and the sheer impudence of exotic hybrids transplanted into everyday fashion.
And so...I wear evening shoes when I should wear runners and hot date shoes when I'm dialing a pizza and a strange dramatic hue like metallic navy blue when of course black would do. Luxury is one step away (from) and a hundred steps above basic needs. So yes, you will have deliciously sensible ballet flats, but after that...it's time to step into a garden of style varietals, in hand made heels and laser cut leathers that suggest a break from the banal.
Photography: Cybele Malinowski and Justin Malinowski www.bluemurderstudios.com.au
Flowers: Grandiflora by Saskia Havekes www.grandiflora.net
Make up: Anna Milczarzyk www.makeupbyania.com
Art direction & Illustration: Anna Johnson www.annajohnson.com.au
Model: Ashleigh Wesseling @ Chadwicks
What do the words photo shoot evoke for you? In fashion mythology terms I immediately conjure an image of Karl, THE Karl, stroking his cat on a directors chair screaming NO at the top of his voice, then whispering "Yah, Yah..." before the shutter goes click. Pounding music, a closed set, acres of bearded tattooed assistants, models fainting, velvet trays of accessories and sushi everywhere.
I didn't shoot the summer catalogue and look book with Karl...but we had sushi, so MUCH sushi and bearded sexy assistants and about an acre of exotic flowers from the incredible Grandiflora and vintage clothes from my friend Anna and a beautiful model with very very long beautiful legs and lots of patience, who was willing to lie upside down under a hedge with her legs slightly open (sorry) all for the sake of my slightly Surrealist brief.
Our photographic team were unusual in that they are siblings and that Cybele, the so talented, was quite fabulously pregnant. She ate the sushi anyway. And she and her brother Justin immediately understood the importance of an orchid floating just so, a daisy pinned to a velvet hem and a solitary shoe floating on a bed of roses. Great shoots involve quite a degree of split second genius and these two had just that. Cybele imagined a hedge-row and then it got sculpted on the spot. It was like Iron chef, except with camelias and silk satin shoes.
The PASSIONFLOWER collection is a celebration of sensuality, seduction and colour. Actual Passionflowers were in season in London (they actually grow wild in some front gardens in Chelsea) but not Sydney. So, in their place we made two dresses out of fresh ranunculus (I feel a bit guilty thinking about how Grace and Saskia worked the glue gun into the night) and I think it looked astonishing.
The beauty and the joy of the day are reflected in images that are both sultry and playful. The black background reminded me of Dutch old master paintings and the watercolours are an art-house touch that just pushes the idea of polychrome bliss that little bit further. JAH! It was so cool. I extend special thanks to the dream team who gave me a taste of fashion at it's most creative...and spontaneous.
Merci buckets. And to have a peek...click here... http://www.sophiecox.com/collections/passion-flower
Photography: Cybele Malinowski and Justin Malinowski www.bluemurderstudios.com.au
Flowers: Grandiflora by Saskia Havekes www.grandiflora.net
Make up: Anna Milczarzyk www.makeupbyania.com
Art direction & Illustration: Anna Johnson www.annajohnson.com.au
Model: Ashleigh Wesseling @ Chadwicks
A girl has to go to Paris to meet a Chic Sheikh and get picked up by the best luxury store in Qatar. Per Lei Couture are big news for luxury label shoe devotees in the region and I am particularly excited that they started their relationship with me with my wildest collection yet.
The buyers totally "got" the marble, the animal prints and the flashes of scarlet and metallic turquoise. I am not sure if they are into The Clash but the post punk luxe aesthetic is something different for the sort of customer who can have everything on planet earth with a heel attached.
I never thought I'd get to Rock the Casbah like this!!!
Image: Courtesy of http://clumsychic.com/
Just on the cusp of presenting my new collection PASSIONFLOWER at Premiere Classe in Paris, I was happy to see my silk Tuxedo Moon shoe splashed across the pages of the esteemed fashion issue of London's Financial Times. Yes. Lovely, and in very good company.
And even though Europe is in the grip of the last gasp of an Indian summer and girls are all scampering around in wafer thin flats, a high heeled silk satin evening sandal is always in my suitcase and on my mind....you just never know when you have to drop everything and accept a black tie invitation or make your linen shorts look more important. Day for night makes sense to me especially when I am presenting spring in autumn, and Paris and Sydney are exactly the same temperature for a moment in time. Warm...but so cool.
Australian Turf Club ambassador, RACHAEL FINCH, trackside in the TALL TALES pony spotty pumps. Gallop down to Quincy Woollahra to bag yourself a pair!
I had to do this collection. Every shoe is based on an infamous woman of rock, be she musician, deluxe muse or let's just come out and say it...groupie/style legend.
It's an oddity of fashion that the women who set the trends don't care about them. Jane Birkin is not famous for shoes and who knows what Nico wore when she sang Femme Fatale with the Velvet Underground. But for this collection I imagined Marianne Faithful rolling out of bed in 1981 and into a pair of luxe black pony "Sister Morphine" boots with a mercilessly sexy heel. Or Jerry Hall brooding over the Mick or Bryan issue in her Tall Tales pumps.
The thing about rock style is that it has to be rebellious yet replete. Luxurious materials speak of five star decadence and limousines with smoky windows. The idea of a rock basic is the most refined materials on earth...dipped in platinum or black. Kate Moss looks like she has been wearing the same jeans for fourteen years but she's mixing them with vintage Art Deco diamonds and YSL black silk lapels. Androgyny is in the mix, when you steal his waistcoat or Borsalino hat and so is a flash of heavy metal silver and soulful lipstick red. These are boots for kicking an amp, signing a freaky recording deal or storming the stage. These are high heels for revenge and seduction.
Don't look back.
Woollahra Shoe Queens of Queen Street, Quincy, love discreet glamour and they will be featuring my more demure designs from the Rock Muse Collection in store NOW. These are the perfect shoes to lift you out of the winter boot blues, slip into for cocktails or stomp down Queen street singing The Pretenders and smoking a thin cigar. The proportion of the mid heel dares you bare more leg, make a trouser hem a little shorter and ditch an opaque tight for a sheer stocking. It's a leg show and it's your show. Own it.
Quincy 76 Queen Street, Woollahra, http://www.quincy.com.au/
Sometimes design can feel quite technical, even industrial in a sense.
You fabricate a drawing into a sculptural form. You worry about material execution. There are logistics on so many levels and being very small it's not like I have a design team to bounce off.
Um, I am the design team.
Creatively, it can be a bit lonely choosing between dove blue and slate grey in an airport lounge using a coaster to draw on and a sample book to choose and maybe a coin to flip because, at this stage, it’s my call. That’s the beauty and austerity of luxury design on a micro-scale.
Imagine then, the bliss of meeting upcoming independent designers from all over the world at a very rare and original event dedicated to small houses just like mine.
In May I was chosen to participate in ORIGIN, PASSION AND BELIEFS (www.originfair.com) in Vicenza and, in design terms, it was sort of like being asked to play Glastonbury.
Through my involvement with the independent fashion website www.notjustalabel.co.uk I was invited to be part of the fantastic creative circus, pretty much in the middle of a field in Vicenza, Italy and also given the chance to meet unusual manufacturers and adventurous buyers.
Over four days, presenting ROCK MUSE (see my next blog) I found a flock of new designers I loved. Make yourself a pot of Kusmi Jasmin tea and check out these new talents:
Williams Handmade - Sarah Williams also did her Masters at the same school of fashion in London as me. Her bags are amazing!
NOM*D from New Zealand. Margie from New Zealand has been in the industry for more than 20 years, kiwi style is so esoteric.
And kooky ear cuffs from Rachel Entwistle Jewellery from London
When I got back from this event (it's a bit too cool to be described as a conventional trade show) friends asked me to explain it. In some ways ORIGIN, PASSION and BELIEFS was like a Biennale because of the very tight agent grade curatorial edit and because of the very global selection. Clothes designed by an Isreali in Morocco that looked like Comme de Garcon and an African fable or Jewels honed from rat spines. Yeah, I know….Are the things you can’t get in a department store. Yet.
Fashion is driven by trends, but behind the trend is always the idea. The crazy out of nowhere just gotta have it concept. So, I don't lose sleep wondering why I have a sudden urge for perforated mint green leather peep toe mid heels…You just have to trust it.
Meeting one hundred liked minded souls truly backed this up and I want to say a big GRAZIA to the organisers of this incredible event. It was an honour and a privilege.
Sometimes, OK often, I am asked why shoes that are hand made in Italy cost money.
The simple answer is that they are hand made in Italy. But the more complex answer is that they are designed in Sydney, developed in Italy and then shipped around the world. Each shoe is made of the most exquisite materials by artisans.
The things I love that are made in China are tea and silk pajamas. But not footwear.
My shoes are fanciful and sensual. But they are also durable and well made and designed to last a decade or more. Because I grew up in riding boots I expect my pumps and slippers to take a whipping and still perform.
I have always believed in investing in clothes and accessories that are beautiful and long lasting. My definition of a luxury is something gorgeous that really earns it's keep.
I believe in price per wear. And a very very tight edit. So when it comes to shoes I want to look down and sigh happily. This is the accessory that literally takes you somewhere and supports you and more importantly supports your whole look.
I am nothing without the shoes. And for that I will pay a little more, and live a little larger.
What is it with me and famous people who are three hundred thousand times richer than me? Anna Wintour. Vivienne Westwood. Karl Lagerfeld's cat. They seem to follow me from baggage carousel to baggage carousel reminding me that:
A. I am not sleeping with a rap star.
B. I am not married to a rap star.
C. I have never in fact made a reality TV show, a sex tape or a rap video naked and wind blown on a motor bike. Damn, I suppose. (There's time I guess.)
D. And all of the women who are involved with the above issues need my shoes.
At the airport in Florence on Friday, I see a large group of men in black and they are obviously American because they are wearing large spongey rap sneakers not Tods or loafers without socks like the locals. One of them is yelling into a phone "Kanye is coming. Kanye is coming. Bla bla bla, something something something, Kanye Man, you got that?"
I was not, this time, stuck in my Lulu Lemon tracksuit but I was witnessing some strange fragment of 21st century pop culture history unfolding in tense and loud tones a few feet away from my ballet flats.
Inflated like an air balloon made of 20,000 Hermes scarves, the Kardashian/West wedding ravaged and clogged the two major cities of Europe with cavalcades of limos, acres of tuber roses and a cake that is a bit larger than my living room.
Usually for me at least, Florence has a nerdy charm. Everything and everyone under the Tuscan sun is sort of squirrel coloured. But then, when Kanye was coming...enter the MEN IN BLACK and the women in WHITE SATIN and a sense that the world was a film set or maximum security backdrop for the wedding of the century. So far all that has been revealed of La Kim's dress is a grainy image of a Givenchy lace thing. Said to have cost four hundred thousand dollars. And it's backless so how does that make sense? Cocaine petticoats?
But I don't care about the wall of roses, the trashing of Versailles or the obscenity of spending four million dollars on a wedding.
What I want to know about, of course, are the shoes.
Last night in London the eccentric sexy naughty designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were guests at the launch of “The Glamour of Italian Fashion,” a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Diplomatically they praised Britain’s “cool” style and designers like Vivienne Westwood, but when it came to Victoria Beckham. MAMA MIA!!! Gabbana said the former Spice Girl had turned to fashion after doing “many, many, many different things.” then adding this clanger: "she's a designer but, for us, she don't make clothes the same way like a fashion designer!"
Is this war? I doubt it. British designers will never love velvet ribbon and scarlet silk satin and black lace and high heels and garlic and men with thin moustaches and weird post war suede platforms and ali baba wedges and Loden green the way Italians do.
The sexy new exhibition, which opens Saturday, traces Italian style from the 1940s to the present day. As I have been spending a lot of time in Florence in April here is a collage of favourite Florentine shoe moments and to Dolce and Gabbana I have to say, Si Si....When it comes to shoes ITALIANS DO IT BETTER; That is why I make my lines there and that is why I keep coming back. That's not just MODA, that's AMORE!
Paris is nice but it's time to bring the shoes to the people.
In Milan seasonal fashion is religion.
It not so much worn as OBSERVED. And often it makes me laugh a snorty superior laugh, then the influence starts to trickle in.
For example, PRADA. How long will it be, actually, before I actually succumb to the windows I studied at (in the rain) and steal James' football socks in an attempt to capture the zeitgeist. I mean football socks are within reach and I can update them in fashion colours. He will be irritated but possibly relieved that I resist the chunky make-do and mend uber platforms that go with.
I think the essence of real luxury is creating a seasonal design that can't be copied quickly, or at least properly. No one does eccentric rich person like Miuccia Prada. And few can actually wear this look without looking like Bjork. Socks are sexy but bizarre. Beige people can't wear them, Gywneth won't bother. They are awkward and if they don't match they are just tragic. But I still have a twinge of desire for them. Possibly because my own definition of luxe is rarely art school freaky. I love quirk, on other people, in other labels...or possibly on the opposite sex. Watch out boys I want your SOCKS.
I got back from Italy, blinked and asked myself "Um, was that real?"
When you spend ten days in a shoe factory checking samples it ain't Fellini and it's not even Passolini. It's just sort of "what?" But I was faintly tickled by the hot pink satin the artisans used to make up the samples (hello next summer) and am always amazed by the nuance of heel and vamp that make a good design a great shoe. The way a heel is sculpted. The way a strap is finished, provide the integrity of fine footwear. This collection is my most adventurous yet so it needed a lot of careful attention in both the planning and the execution. My challenge is to design "forever shoes". Because, yes, we all wear sneakers and jellies for scampering around sand dunes in Palm Beach and Venice Beach but a power shoe can never be mass-produced. It has to have the magic sealed within every stitch. I come to Italy and basically I hover.
It's a bit like cooking pasta. I have Italian friends who say that if you turn your back on the pot, or worse, walk away from the pot...well, the spaghetti tastes unloved. Bland even. And that is the same for design. Involvement at every point of creation makes a shoe a complete entity and I come home tired but satisfied that the collection is comfortable, beautiful and above all complete. OK, al dente.
And that means no sight seeing other than a quick scrag fight at ZARA Milan over a questionable leather and lace mini-dress and a one day trip to Florence. Where it rained. Just like the traffic scene at the start of Fellini's ROMA. Perfect and sad and fleeting.
I just delivered highlights from my new collection, "Somewhere over the Rainbow' to uber shoe store Quincy in Queen Street. Woollahra. And even though the post holiday sale is still up in the window, persistent fashionistas can ask to see the shoes that are quietly lurking "out the back".
After being bare foot in Palm Beach and the South Coast I admit to the civilised desire for an immediate pedicure and fresh new summer sandal to add some glam to all this steam and sunshine.
The curse of casual is a Christmas ritual in Australia but even in a wafer thin Italian hand made sandal I like to feel like I am saying something sartorially speaking other than..."whatevs".
P.S Keep an eagle eye open for the New Year's window display at Quincy. I think I have something saucy up my sleeve.
76 Queen Street, Woollahra, NSW. www.quincy.com.au/
I love a Gossip magazine don't you? I mean the logic of Nelson Mandela's face sort of squished up against Nigella Lawson. It makes perfect sense. They are both famous...and did heaps of important stuff.
And what's even better is that I have the honor of being in WHO this week, dancing in the Christmas season in a heeled sandal and feeling very glam and worldly.
If Nigella picks up WHO in a reflective moment perhaps she will flick forward to the fashion editorial and remember that nothing is that bad in a great pair of shoes and I have just the court shoes for her current dramas: black, high heeled and to the point. Anyone who reads the right magazines can tell you that tasteless allegations become ancient history when a girl wears the right heels.
What shoes does a girl wear on one of the most beautiful days of her life?
I got married in Bali on a cliff over looking the sea and had to consider high heels sinking into wet grass and the peculiar affect of humidity on a delicate ankle and foot.
I'd like to say I wore my own design (the bridesmaids all did!) but ever a fan of endless style options I wore a pair of sea blue Lanvin high heel espadrilles because I didn't want to fall over and I loved the colour, but I also had some hand made white lace wooden wedges that I didn't end up wearing on the day, silly!!! I wore them the night before. At cocktails feeling lacy and dreamy and special.
Bridal shoes will be a mainstay in all of my collections and I don't see why they can't be scarlet, turquoise satin or (best of all) silver. Perversely I am a fan of the actual WHITE white shoe for everyday and something very different for the big day. I guess that's because I love contrast between gown and shoe and I also love a bride with a strong personality and more vivid foot.
If you have a favourite image of the shoes you wore and loved on your wedding day please share (Instagram @sophie_cox_shoes)...This above all other occasions is when a girl puts her best foot forward.
New Bridal section on the website http://www.sophiecox.com/collections/bridal
Why do certain faces make me think of shoes? Ballerina slippers in particular? I guess because ballet flats were championed by dancers who became actresses and stars who walked like they were dancing and French girls in particular who always walk like they are bolting and the occasional English girl who is so mad she becomes French. Voila Birkin!
How odd international fashion trade shows are. They are so frantic and yet so still. Everyone is there and yet you feel like you know no one. You are in Paris but it could be Singapore. There is the smell of money and perfume and shoe leather and ambition. Perhaps there is also the sweet smell of success.
My four day stint at Premiere Classe in the beautiful Tuileries Gardens in late September was strangely inspiring. I would walk through the gardens inhaling autumn flowers and trying to stay focused on the semi industrial task of maintaining the stall, spreading the word...being there. This year's theme "The Japan Edition"...I still don't get what this means but I liked the free tote bag.
Because I only left the stand twice I tripped through accessories and saw young brands from Paris and New York (I liked Opening Ceremony). Shocking to my eye was the 90s revival. Were the nineties even a decade? But to sweeten it all were hats and Borsalino hats. I can see them in my next look book. Premiere Classe is like a big art show and a trade fair in one. It's not a choice, you have to be there...even if the mind drifts out over the rooftops too much more intimate pockets in The City of Light.
If I was a conceptual artist I could take the experiences I have on the road with my shoes and mount a stand at the next Biennale. The first installation would be an empty white room with a Moire silk ribbon suspended from the ceiling and to it a strand of bright red hair tied in a delicate knot. On the floor...shoes what else?
The inspiration for this artwork would be my most recent brush with fame. The story goes like this: my London press agent Leslie Whittaker returned to our booth at the Paris Premiere Classe shows with a delicate hair on her shoulder. Not any hair. But Grace Coddington's (http://www.amazon.com/Grace-Memoir-Coddington/dp/0449808068) hair. Do you love it? She has the main mane and I am sure she needs shoes. I am half tempted to design Miss Coddington a Velcro boot that could collect abundantly her glowing hair...and hence make a new art work.
I am no fame junky. All my contact with the fashion A list is transitory. I mean literally in transit. On the Eurostar coming from London to Paris I was listening to a conversation between a British woman and a bizarre European man. I blinked over my shoulder. OMG orange eyebrows. It was Vivienne Westwood. She was incognito in an Anglo mania beanie. But if anything this functioned as a red arrow to her cult style status. I mean I saw Rosie Huntington-Whiteley on the plane from Milan to London and this time I was NOT wearing the terrible Lulu Lemon tracksuit (remember the Anna Wintour episode?) but no one wears jeans and ballet flats like a lingerie model. So I did that tall person shrinking into the carpet thing. And I have a photo of her disappearing through the aisle with a mane of hair that looked like Godiva on acid. Famous people have insane hair. Vivienne was hiding hers. Grace was molting like one of her beloved cats and Rosie was tossing it over her shoulders like fists full of silk. But I am not about hair I am about shoes. I think I better make a hat shaped like a shoe a la Elsa Schiaparelli so that when I finally become famous I can be known as the girl with a high heel sticking out where her ponytail should be.
SEA BREEZE available now at in-store at Quincy Woollahra and online at cavan.com and sophiecox.com
London girls love a shoe and this week my designs have been treated to a double scoop of sweet affection. What a wonderful prelude to presenting again at Premiere Classe Paris next week and a show of loyalty from the city I see as my spiritual home and perpetual muse.
Before leaving for Paris I had the good fortune to launch The Cocktail Hour collection at QUINCY, the quintessentially scrumptious shoe salon on Queen Street Woollahra. Our cocktail hour stretched well into the evening and many dedicated shoe lovers and ballerina fans were there to nibble on cucumber sandwiches and argue the virtue of flats vs high heels. Running back and forth with shoe boxes and drinking champagne I felt like a Lewis Carroll version of a cobbler and would like to thank Shahrzad, Celeste and Becky for their sparkling enthusiasm and support.XXXXXX
Cho Cheng. Don't say the name. CHANT IT. Cho Cheng features my shoes in his latest look book and has been getting indecent levels of press for his slick yet somewhat saucy lady like designs. Have a look at what this cult designer from Hong Kong fashion royalty can do with the colour black.
Model Tali Lennox wearing Limited Edition 004.
I've got a lover. His name is Vasquez. I've got a house...or three. I've got custom made parfum by nuns in Padua in the shade of an olive tree. I bathe with a splash of JOY and then towel down with hand made turkish linens. I travel first class to absolutely everywhere. I subscribe to the opera. I drink coffee from a tiny little pale blue cup owned by Marie Antoinette. I am aware of Hip Hop. I collect young art and old books. I eat Ragu and quails eggs when the mood strikes. Sam Shepard drew my portrait on a napkin one night in Paris. Who cares when that was? I sleep on Frette sheets by a window planted with wheatgrass overlooking the best street in New York. I drink tequila in Marfa, Texas. My silver angel earrings are made in Oaxaca, Mexico. I was doing yoga when Sting was a toddler for God's sake. My armoire is stuffed with so much Valentino the Pope would weep. And yet....
There is this ridiculous cold war between high heels and flats and the sort of woman you are meant to embody if you wear one …or the other. Brazilian lingerie models are actually born with heels melded to their feet and Academics wear flats to stress their integrity. There is some truth in the clichés you know…because WAGS don’t wear ballet slippers and women who own ski chalets in the Swiss Alps swear by their velvet ballerinas. It’s a class war. It’s a sex issue. It’s a shoe scrag fight. BUT, let’s all calm right down because I have found the solution for world peace when it comes to this divisive style tempest…and of course it’s the mid heel.
A mid heel is a middle ground with one foot in the nursery and the other firmly planted in the nightclub of your dreams. It gives you line. It creates elegance. It suggests the very best sexy school teachers AND it feels like a silk glove, supporting the arch letting to dance or walk or simply preen and pose in a cocktail bar…for hours. Perhaps days. I love the ambiguity of a mid heel and the wayward way it governs the day but beckons the night. And I am not talking weird Louis bridesmaid heel or freaky suburban court shoe. My heels have all the same features as my high models but in perfectly proportioned miniaturised Bonsai form.
View it as a trainer heel for a Swiss aristocrat or a weekend shoe for a Brazilian movie star. Either way it looks good with jeans or a very tight pencil skirt. Come together! Right now…over heels.
In the great novel “A la recherche de temps perdu” by Marcel Proust, the hero Swann has just found out that he is dying. Swiftly, as swiftly as Proust can move, he goes to see friends and tell them the news but, actually, shoes are much more important than death. Shoes ARE, in fact, life and death. And red and black are just not happening:
(I'm Dying) (Ok, Let me Just change shoes)
“The Duke exclaimed…“Come Oriane, don’t stop there chattering like that and exchanging your jeremiads with Swann… Forgive me Charles,” he went on, turning to Swann, “but it’s ten minutes to eight already…’
Mme de Guermantes advanced resolutely towards the carriage and uttered a last farewell to Swann. “You know, we’ll talk about that another time; I don’t believe a word you’ve been saying, but we must discuss it quietly. I expect they’ve frightened you quite unnecessarily. Come to luncheon, any day you like” (with Mme de Guermantes things always resolved themselves into luncheons), “just let me know the day and the time,” and, lifting her red skirt, she set her foot on the step. She was just getting into the carriage when, seeing this foot exposed, the Duke cried out in a terrifying voice: “Oriane, what have you been thinking of, you wretch? You’ve kept on your black shoes! With a red dress! Go upstairs quick and put on red shoes, or rather” he said to the footman, “tell Mme la Duchesse’s lady’s-maid at once to bring down a pair of red shoes...”
I know this passage not because I am hauling the book through customs but I recall seeing Fanny Ardant in the film adaptation “Swann’s Way” and she was wearing red shoes with bows that looked like Maude Frisson and only then could she hop into her carriage and get to dinner. If only she had been carrying some Sophie Cox scarlet ballet flats in her pochette!
The thing about Milan is that there is no such thing as over-dressed, too smart or too cutting-edge-off-the-rack-just-bought-it fashionable. So essentially I could lock myself in my hotel room for fear of running in to the Sartorialist photographer on the street. I mean…I might have lint, or runny eye liner or relaxed London scruff chic/meets Sydney couldn’t care less blonde girl style. That is pretty much FORGET IT in Milan. The city that has never seen ugg boots.
For a shoe designer it’s a good thing. Fashion fascism means you try a little bit harder. Think of wearing a heel with your nightgown to walk from bed to the window. And I sit on the plane wondering what it is…that hard granite, uber contrived, understated yet in-your-face brand of elegance that makes Milan so different from Paris. I guess part of it is business. Fashion is an industry so Milanistas take their styling to industrial levels. The subtlety of a trend is never literal here and it’s never lazy either. Forget neon. Don’t even think about a simple cashmere cardigan. So arbitrary. So forgetful and remiss of urbane sign language and inverted label snobby.
I am packing for Milan. I am getting a headache. I don’t have a serious fur or weirdly wide tweed trousers or a Great Gatsby fedora or a sequinned fingerless glove. OK I guess Anna Wintour better get ready for that Lulu Lemon tracksuit again. Hidden under my husband’s winter coat. When in doubt always steal a man’s coat and wear it with very, very high heels.
Transparency. Veils. Mesh. Sheer stockings. Netting. I love all the textures of fashion that conceal and reveal at the same time. So this is why the materials in my debut collection had that smoky, almost lingerie suggestion. Proportion in dress is created by line but equally it is created by the sensuality of materials. If you are tempted to dress all in black then of course you have to do it in degrees. A clear heel. A sheer vamp. A whisper of darkness and evening, that is always better than a dip into the pitch black Indian ink well that is modern fashion. Black blends in…but never to the point where a woman disappears inside her own good taste. Something has to jolt and make the eye stand to attention.
When I designed my dream pumps I wanted them to be The Little Black Shoe in your wardrobe. Not just a shoe that would go with everything but a shoe with subtle allure that would give you different ideas about how to dress…or undress, as the moment might demand.
SKINNY SOLES RULE, OK?
Ballerina slippers get a good-girl rap that seems pretty unjustified given their erotic charge. When a girl is comfortable she is even more commanding and the flagrant refusal of a heel is often an even greater show of confidence, bare faced chic and freedom. I will always include a ballet flat in my collections, whether it’s a smooshy secret slipper for an overnight assignation, or a bold satin gem toned silk shoe for the opera. To make my point en pointe here’s a list….
SEVEN REASONS SEX SYMBOLS WEAR BALLET FLATS
1. Carla Bruni needs them to look more wholesome.
2. Brigitte Bardot wore them to bare more leg.
3. Audrey Hepburn wore them to make everyone else look cheap.
4. Diana wore them to sneak around.
5. Charlotte Olympia Dellal wears them to come down to earth.
6. Argentinian socialites wear them to chase polo players across wet fields.
7. Audrey Tatou wears them to look even more French!
When you are selling a new collection it's like a courtship. I have been 'seeing' a major stockist and each time the tension rises. Um, I am more than ready to consummate this relationship or I might get tempted to start seeing other people. But seriously it's exciting to start a global label from scratch but the reality is numb bum in economy curled up on myself with huge issues of Italian Vogue, instant Miso soup and dreams. I leave for London via Milan on May 16th. My friends in Sydney with new babies don't really want to hear this but you know it's work....And there is the added stress of possibly sharing a rattly transit bus with Anna Wintour.
I believe in destiny. I believe in fate and now, I believe in cashmere for flying economy. This is what happened to me. I was sitting on a British Airways flight to Milan. And three rows in front of me was Anna Wintour. I was there to collect my samples for Paris Fashion Week she was there to be front row at Gucci. She was wearing a boucle couture suit and chocolate brown knee high boots and a fuck off slouchy Vuitton bag. I was wearing a black Lulu Lemon tracksuit. I am 174 cm tall so I cannot make myself shrink but at the baggage carousel where her matching baggage trundled through erect I was slumped like an awkward teenager. Imagine if I had been wearing my own shoes and a Saint Laurent jumpsuit. We would have been, like, BFF's! I could have said, "Listen ...Plum Sykes is getting a bit old, can I guest edit the spring book? And she would have been like YES and can I have your shoes in red. Anna." I am doing the perspex heel pump in red. I am holding a pair aside for you. meet me by the luggage carousel on September 23rd. I will be wearing a jumpsuit and very VERY large sunglasses. I am ready for you.
Lady Ga Ga has people. One of them contacted me and asked for shoes. I organised a small container ship from Italy and started packing the boxes. Actually she only wanted three styles and no they were not shocking models. In fact they were in the Catherine Deneuve spectrum. I won't divulge which, because I am waiting to actually sight her in them. But I want to say thank you for the bragging rights and having such lovely taste.
Do you know my name? Do you know who I am? Look at these shoes, they are by Sophie Cox. Do you know who she is? You soon will!
I'm so excited to be working on Season 2!!! It's all coming together.....