Caroline Issa Discovers That The Best New Party Shoes Aren’t Really New At All
Why is it the rule in fashion that we need newness all the time? That’s what the retailers tell us, by offering new pieces every few weeks from brands who are in turn forced to create four to six collections a year (and deal with the resulting onslaught of production schedules).
It’s not necessarily that new is bad, but sometimes we hanker after the classics that we know and love.
Designers are embracing the allure of the old, with re-issues becoming de rigeur (see Marc Jacobs’ recent re-hash of his infamous grunge collection for Perry Ellis). It points to more than just nostalgia, to a desire for great product, no matter when it was launched.
And two shoe brands in particular are taking advantage of their archives and approaching re-issues in new ways.
“The speed of the seasons has meant we need to show newness all the time, but actually we have a fantastic archive with classic silhouettes that we are known for. Women are asking for them all the time,” says Rupert Sanderson, who launched his brand 17 years ago with 15 styles.
Sanderson is explaining his new bespoke service to me at the Leica studio, doors down from his Bruton Place flagship.
There are five classic styles to choose from: Malory, a high, sculptural pump; Nada, a mid-height court; Savanna, a chunky platform; Aga, flats with Sanderson’s iconic pebble embellishment; and, last but not least, the Elba kitten heel.
From there, customers can choose from a myriad of fabrics, from velvet to high-shine to metallic leather to leopard print, and in 30 days, their bespoke shoes will be ready for collection. The service, available in store only, costs the same as if they were buying off-the-shelf.
“Fans were asking us for these classics, and we wanted to offer them something that didn’t penalise them for being loyal,” says Sanderson. It’s a highly enjoyable process and soon my Savanna platforms will be taking a spin on the holiday party circuit.
Elsewhere, I was dancing around with joy when I heard that Bionda Castana, one of my favourite shoe labels that closed up shop two years ago, was relaunching. And not just because I’d worn my favourite Denni flats to the ground.
Bionda Castana, a favourite of Jessica Alba, Alexa Chung, Kate Bosworth (the list of celebrity fans goes on) has relaunched with a business model that prioiritises preserving the planet over consumption. Its new, sustainably minded website focuses on limited-edition pre-orders of its iconic silhouettes.
Each month, founders Natalia Barbieri and Jennifer Portman are offering four different shoes from their archive for pre-order, in colours and fabrics that their Italian factory have in stock so as to not create new material waste. Soon, both die-hard fans of the brand, and new ones yet to discover them, will all be dancing around in our new (but not really new) #BCIcons.