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Behind the Seams

A hybrid of American socialite and self-made mogul, Nicole Richie has morphed into a fashion industry darling by staying true to one philosophy: play by your own rules. The daughter of music legend Lionel Richie, Nicole fuels her predisposed artistic nature through the creative direction of House of Harlow 1960 (HOH1960), a lifestyle brand named after her daughter.

When it comes to channeling inspiration for the collection that includes everything from jewelry to shoes to sunglasses, Nicole, who is the wife to Good Charlotte front man Joel Madden, affirms that “everything starts with music. I’m a huge fan of the music of  ’60s and the ’70s, so classic rock is something I listen to every day. My team and I work in a very creative space. We’ll listen to music and throw out design ideas.”

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A culturalist of cool, Keltse Bilbao globe-trots professionally, seeking creative inspiration from the people she meets and the places she explores. This native of Spain lives in New York City and is one half of the duo behind footwear brand Plomo, which literally translates from Spanish to “lead.” Keltse and her partner Galia Katz, who is based in Mexico, are part of a new generation of Spanish shoe designers who are leading the way in contemporary style.

Fresh from a trip to Kenya, Keltse tells The Thread about her adventures in Africa, celebrity fans (which include the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker) and what it takes to craft the uniqueness of Plomo shoes.

Sketched into Reality: Plomo ‘Nuria’ Bootie

THE THREAD: How did you enjoy Kenya? And will we see an African influence for your upcoming spring 2015 line?
KELTSE BILBAO: Kenya was both fun and empowering. I travel a lot with my husband, and for this trip to Nairobi, we did a mix of volunteering and tourism. My husband is a musician/composer, and I’m passionate about the universal rights of women, so we teamed up with the Power Women Group in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa and the third largest in the world, which offers a music program for youth as well as business development aid to artisans who are women and are living with HIV and AIDS.

As an entrepreneur and a woman, I deeply believe in supporting this type of community-building, where people can learn and then in turn teach others how to support themselves. I was so inspired by these women, so you’ll see accents of things we designed together for spring ’15—like a sandal with special stitching, or beading and accessory straps that you can add to the shoe.

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Behind-the-Seams-with-Kate-Ciepluch-of-LaveerJust two years ago, Kate Ciepluch went from fashion director of an online retailer to creator of Laveer, a made-in-America collection of blazers and statement jackets–and the New York-based designer hasn’t looked back. The Thread phoned Kate to learn more about her passion and design approach on this timeless wardrobe staple.

LAVEER-Vespa-Mixed-Media-Jacket-at-NordstromColor meets texture: LAVEER ‘Vespa’ Mixed-Media Jacket

On starting Laveer: “My intention was to do blazers and fashion jackets, in a little bit more of an edgy and cool way but still remaining sophisticated, nothing too trendy and of the moment, something that you’re going to want to have in your closet for a long time.”

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Jonathan-Adler-teams-up-with-Blake-Mycoskie-of--TOMS-for-a-second-collaboration-of-shoes-and-sunglasses-for-spring-2014

Designer Jonathan Adler teams up with Blake Mycoskie of TOMS for a second whimsical collaboration of shoes—and helps print-loving ladies complete the look with the introduction of sunnies. As we excitedly step into spring, The Thread chats with the New York-based potter on this latest partnership.

toms-collaborates-with-jonathan-adler-on-shoes-for-spring-2014

TOMS ‘Classic – Jonathan Adler’ Slip-On (top to bottom) in:
Grey, Bright Yellow, Bright Print and Dark Geometric

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Whether it’s dressed up or worn casually, denim’s effortless appeal can’t be denied. AG design director and surf enthusiast Mark Wiesmayr walks us through the brand’s spring 2014 collection and, in the process, bares the infinite possibilities of this durable and ever-evolving fabric.

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AG ‘Stilt’ Cigarette Leg Stretch Jeans in White

On why denim has a universal cool factor: “It’s a ubiquitous fabric. It was made as workwear originally, so it never pretends to be too formal, and after wearing it throughout the last 160 years, we accept indigo as being a part of the monochrome family. It’s wearable with anything. Effortless is how so many of us want to appear, and that is part of denim’s cool factor. The way denim can be treated and given so many different finishes is also a part of being able to express our own individuality, without being too far out from the crowd.”

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Since 2003, Rem D Koolhaas, Dutch architect and shoe engineer of United Nude, has been constructing innovative footwear that pushes technological boundaries and astounds the imagination. The Thread phoned Rem, who at the time was traveling through China, to learn more about his point of view on conceptual shoes.

United Nude Shoes now online at Nordstrom. Photos by Jeff Powell.

Angular Proportions: United Nude Collection ‘Lo Res’ Pump (Online Only)

THE THREAD: What we love most about United Nude is that you design from a place that has no limits.
REM D KOOLHAAS: Yes, we’re designing footwear to push boundaries, to experiment… Yet as a brand we’ve grown up a lot and offer a broader lifestyle range of shoes. At the same time, we’re doing more wild collaborations, theaterlike footwear, let’s say, with people like British architect Zaha Hadid or Dutch fashion designer Iris van Herpen. This kind of balance between experimentation and wearability is what really keeps us awake more than anything else.

United Nude Shoes now online at Nordstrom. Photos by Jeff Powell.

Mod Moves: United Nude Collection ‘Kim’ Sandal in Gold Mirror Leather (Online Only)

THE THREAD: Your theater footwear analogy is quite thought-provoking, especially thinking of some of your designs worn by characters like Lady Gaga.
REM: The good thing about celebrities is that they want to be seen. They are the most open to join the “theater of fashion,” which is basically where people wear something to really show off and make a statement. Most people in their day-to-day life don’t really want to wear things that are too adventurous, but then you have someone like Beyoncé , who recently sent us a request and desires a state-of-the-art shoe. We have continuous requests from the stylist of Lady Gaga to design shoes for her that complement her theatrical way to perform.

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Valentine’s Day is less than a month away, which is why we’re so excited to celebrate the online launch of David Yurman jewelry. The precious quality and exquisite craftsmanship of this fine jewelry and timepiece collection is materialized through the partnership of its co-creators—David and his wife, Sybil, a painter, who brings a collectible-art-like character to each piece.

Starting in 1980, David and Sybil have built an internationally desired brand crafted from the alluring and pulse-charging element of the cable, which David describes as life’s rhythm. Captivated by the iconic cable motif in David’s latest line, The Willow Collection, The Thread asked the New York-based designer and sculptor to shed some light on the enchanting grace of willow trees.

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David’s poem reads:
Willow’s icy reflections / Dance on the pond / My heart becomes light again

Easy Elegance: David Yurman ‘Willow’ Five-Row Chain Necklace,
‘Willow’ Medium Drop Earrings with Diamonds &
‘Color Cocktail’ Ring with Stone and Diamonds

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Marilyn Monroe believed that if you “give a girl the right shoes, she can conquer the world.” But what if a girl didn’t know which shoes were right? This was precisely the predicament Gayle King and Adam Glassman faced in the February issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, on newsstands now. The duo sought out Sarah Jessica Parker to give them the ABCs on her eagerly awaited namesake collection, touted as the market’s hybrid answer to affordable luxury. The lesson learned: Women rule when wearing SJP shoes!

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Let’s Talk Shoes: A meeting of the minds at the Crosby Street Hotel in SoHo, New York City.

“When I learned that Sarah Jessica was launching this shoe line, I thought, Why don’t we do a style adventure feature with Gayle, our editor-at-large, and myself, where the three of us walk through the SJP collection?,” says Adam, O‘s creative director since 2000. “I thought it would be fun to create an atmosphere where two girlfriends come together for a day of shopping, learning and trying on shoes.”

Adam went for a cozy tea-party setting and filled a sunny suite at Manhattan’s Crosby Street Hotel with decadent French pastries and cronuts (a fusion of a croissant and doughnut created by chef Dominique Ansel). “There’s this delicious quality and sensory feeling you get when touching a shoe, feeling a shoe, trying on a shoe and parading around in a new pair of shoes,” adds Adam, who also worked with Sarah Jessica on her first clothing venture, Bitten.

“Women have such an emotional connection when they’re buying shoes that I wanted the environment to tie in. Sarah Jessica and Gayle know each other, so there was a great comfort factor to begin with. Sarah Jessica has so much to say about fashion and so much to say about accessories, and Gayle is a shoe freak. I think on this shoot, in particular, Gayle honestly died and went to shoe heaven.”

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Start the year on the right foot! Nothing says you’re resolved to leave a stylish imprint on 2014 more than rocking a superchic pair of heels crafted by British shoemaker Rupert Sanderson. The Thread phoned the London-based designer over the holidays to chat about why women are so mad about shoes, his celebrity shoe icons and how he maintains his clean aesthetic.

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Graphic Allure: Rupert Sanderson ‘Estelle’ Sandal in White or Black

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December 30, 2013

Paul Andrew, New to Nordstrom

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For over 15 years, Paul Andrew has been a silent force in footwear, crafting shoes for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. In September of 2012, the British-born, New York-based expat stepped into the spotlight with the launch of his eponymous label. During Paris Fashion Week, The Thread had a tête-à-tête with the designer at his pop-up studio near the Notre-Dame Cathedral and discovered his mission to bring the sexy shoe back.

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