Nicholas Kirkwood has come a long way from the converted disabled bathroom that he used as a studio when he was creating his first collection. Now he’s regularly jetting from the style capitals to Toronto and Dubai, and designing his footwear from a studio beneath his flagship in London’s Mayfair.
Literally, it’s about five-and-a-half miles from that “loo” in one of the seedier parts of East London to the genteel environs of Mount Street, where his neighbors include Lanvin and Oscar de la Renta.
“It takes a huge weight off my mind,” says Kirkwood, of what the investment means to his business. “Now I’ll be able to put things into motion, which I didn’t necessarily have the means to do previously. And having access to their great team of advisors is invaluable.”
Kirkwood’s first priority is to expand his team. He says hiring a chief financial officer to manage the business’ numbers is his main objective. Then he’d like to set up a team in the U.S. to “have people on the ground there, other than just retail staff,” to provide support for wholesale accounts as the brand expands Stateside. He’d also like to grow the design team and spend more time “actually designing.”
“At the moment, it’s just me and my assistant,” he points out. “I need to put a bit more focus on the men’s [line] and potentially expand into handbags. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years but not until the time was right, when I could develop it properly. There needs to be a real reason for [handbags] to be in the collection rather than just doing them to do them.”
With two stores in the U.S. already—in Las Vegas and New York—he’s planning his next American store in Miami. “Miami is a great market for us, it caters for the South American customer a lot,” explains Kirkwood. “We’ve sold to a few stores there, so we know we have a strong customer base.”
Kirkwood is known for his sculpted, architectural designs and catwalk collaborations with labels including Suno, Rodarte, Erdem, Roksanda Ilincic and Peter Pilotto. He uses unusual materials such as shaved stingray, laser-cut mirrored leather and rubberized suede. He is most famous for towering and glamorous heels but is introducing more flats and lower heels to the collection, a fact for which he says his mother is “grateful.”
It’s been a remarkably busy year for the Central Saint Martins and Cordwainers-trained designer. He was initially contacted by LVMH and invited to meet with Delphine Arnault, the daughter of chief executive officer Bernard Arnault, in Paris in January, just after he introduced his first collection of men’s shoes. A week after that meeting, he won the fourth BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund prize, netting him funding of 200,000 pounds, or $323,640 at current exchange, along with mentoring.
His summer vacation was four days on the Greek island of Patmos, ostensibly for a friend’s wedding.
“It was amazing. It has a beautiful rocky landscape, beautiful beaches, white houses everywhere,” Kirkwood says. “A bit of a mission to get there, though. You have to fly to Kos, a package holiday place, you have to stay there overnight and then you get the ferry in the morning, which takes a couple of hours. But then it’s a totally different world.”
But he couldn’t spare any more time for a longer escape, what with LVMH scrutinizing his business, preparing his spring collection, and making catwalk shoes for Suno, Erdem, Roksanda Ilincic and Peter Pilotto, among myriad other tasks.
As yet, there’s still no proper vacation in the cards for Kirkwood. At press time, he was about to open a pop-up shop near his London store to showcase the new men’s shoe line—the success of which could conceivably lead to a permanent men’s store—as well as working on his third men’s collection to show at London Collections: Men, and designing his women’s resort range, which he will preview in January.
While the LVMH investment has freed him up to do what he does best, that hasn’t equated to more free time.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)