NEW YORK — Scooping up clusters of snakeskin pumps and pony hair booties, Rachel Roy scoured the shelves that housed her new footwear collection like someone on a mission.
“Here’s the thing about me and shoes,” the designer said, stopping herself for a moment, “I really feel like it’s the one item that, no matter how much you make, it is worth saving your pennies for.”
From atop her luminous new showroom on the 21st floor that is just steps from Times Square, it seems an odd juxtaposition for Roy to be talking about making ends meet.
But the designer, wearing an all-black ensemble consisting of a blazer, skirt and blouse that she paired with dark Tom Ford glasses and black-and-white heeled oxfords from her new collection, pointed out that her days of scrounging are still fresh in her mind.
To keep it distinct from Rachel Rachel Roy, the diffusion apparel and accessories line that she launched for Macy’s in 2009, Roy has created a separate designer line, called Rachel Roy, for her new footwear collection.
Set to hit stores in August, Roy’s fall shoe collection will range from just less than $200 to $600 and include about 30 styles. Flats will retail for between $195 and $250 and pumps will range from $225 to $325. Booties will cost between $325 and $425 and boots will retail from $450 to $600.
Materials for the collection include Napa and box leather, kid skin suede, calf, snake, pony hair and glitter. Roy’s designer inspiration is Manolo Blahnik, the man who not only worked on the first six seasons of shoes for her show at New York Fashion Week, but also served as a mentor during that period.
Although Roy’s own collection is more “classic with a twist,” she nods to Blahnik by mixing materials and creating textured looks that incorporate wool, suede and water snake. She also combines neons and other bold colors with animal prints, polka dots and gingham.
“I don’t want shoes unless they are strong and sexy. I don’t want them to be just strong or just sexy,” offered Roy. “My collection is just that — strong and sexy. It represents the woman I want to be.”
The balance between strong and sexy lies in the details. For instance, a men’s-inspired oxford shoe will incorporate a heel, or a boot will contrast heavier materials like box leather with lighter materials like patent leather.
While this all may seem somewhat minute, these details have been swirling in Roy’s head for nearly seven years. Even before The Jones Group Inc. acquired the Rachel Roy license when it bought a 50 percent equity stake in the company in 2008, Roy has been plotting a shoe line.
“Designer shoes are one of the categories I’ve wanted to do but I was unwilling to do it until I felt I could really do it right,” she said, adding that she hopes this line will help set the tone for footwear at her contemporary Rachel Rachel Roy collection, which includes shoes and clothing targeting a younger, contemporary consumer.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast