Paul Andrew, the British-born, New York-based luxury shoe designer and winner of the 2014 CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize, made his seasonal stopover in Los Angeles on Monday to meet with stylists for his Hollywood fans, including Lupita Nyong’o and Zoe Saldana.
Stationed at Palihouse, Andrew bought “just a small selection” (read: several stands and tables full of women’s shoes as well as his new men’s line) to give women one-on-one insights into his fall collection, which was inspired by a trip to Istanbul. From the hand-carved metal cage on one pair of blue suede heels that mimicked the Hagia Sophia to another heel made after an Ottoman Empire-era bracelet he saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Andrew spared no detail. Apart from leather and suede, there were rich textiles, including a silk velvet burnout that was laser-cut into a tall boot, a cotton and Lurex tapestry on some almond-toe low-heel pumps and tiny gold tubular threads stitched onto more Byzantine-style brocades. There were also Swarovski crystal-encrusted stilettos and crystal ball-heeled shoes as well as more subtle touches, such as an intricately carved metal buckle hidden under the strap of a velvet sandal.
A walk-through with Andrew is also a history and botany lesson of sorts: of the pointed leather flower-petals on one pair of booties, he said, “Many think that tulips are from Holland, but the Dutch stole them from the Turks, and the native Turkish tulip has pointy petals.”
He went full-on with his men’s line (no capsule here) to provide his chunkier-soled, yet ultra-lightweight take on classic men’s wingtips, lug-soled lace-ups and sneakers, some of which carried the Turk tapestry theme. “If I was going to take the time to do it, I wanted to go all the way,” said Andrew, who has designed men’s shoes for Alexander McQueen and Calvin Klein. Barneys New York has the U.S. exclusive on the launch collection.
The designer also took some time for a personal appearance at Nordstrom’s Westfield Topanga location the day before, where customers felt compelled to tell them of their every foot ailment, from years of wearing uncomfortable heels — made by other designers, of course. As he showed off his new memory foamlike instep on a suede platform sandal, Andrew said, “This is going to revolutionize the red carpet.”
Next stop for Andrew: Tokyo and Kyoto, where the blooming cherry blossoms may very well prove to be his next design inspiration.