It’s a big moment for footwear designer Jonathan Kelsey, who’s spent most of his career working behind the scenes, most recently as an in-house designer for Jimmy Choo, but also for Gina, Cacharel, Giles and Russian designer Igor Chapurin.
This story first appeared in the February 5, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
For fall, Kelsey will make his debut for Mulberry, just one year after unveiling his namesake collection.
Kelsey has drawn up five styles for the brand — a riding boot, an ankle boot, a shoe boot, a pump and a flat shoe — all of which will bow Feb. 14 during the Mulberry presentations.
“We love Jonathan’s styles and he’s a good fit for the brand. The models are based on his lasts — and have been adapted to Mulberry using the colors of the season,” said Lisa Montague, Mulberry’s chief operating officer, pointing to a palette of lilac, fuchsia, gunmetal, coffee and black.
The Kelsey-Mulberry venture is for two seasons, although Montague said she already has further plans in mind for the English designer, who got to know Mulberry through his first cousin Stuart Vevers, Mulberry’s design director.
Kelsey’s footwear is made in Italy and has a retro feel. His signature is a chestnut brown, vegetable-dyed sole. He’s also known for his cone heels, thick wooden soles and strong, architectural toe shapes, which he describes as resembling the bow of a cruise ship.
“I wanted to develop a style that wasn’t sexy and sparkly — but wasn’t vintage either,” said Kelsey from his tiny, split-level studio in London’s Primrose Hill. “I wanted it modern, sexy, cool and intelligent.”