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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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“There’s no business like shoe business.”—Charlotte Olympia Dellal

Charlotte-Olympia-reveals-kitty-collection-at-Nordstrom-flagship-store-March-2014Last week, London-based designer Charlotte Olympia Dellal spun a web of style at our Seattle flagship store as she presented the Purrrfect Collection, which includes an assortment of kitty flats that come in six Nordstrom exclusive colors as well as a ‘Kitty’ clutch and signature heels.

Charlotte-Olympia-signs-kitty-collection-at-Nordstrom-flagship-store-March-2014The mother of three happily greeted customers (and their pets too) while signing her name to the coveted collection. As a brand, Charlotte Olympia is known for fusing humor with girlie sophistication. When we asked the designer if she considered herself a cat person, she confirmed that she actually has a dog but added that she loves the “flirty and feminine” mannerisms of felines.

Show off your feline instincts by donning the Charlotte Olympia Purrrfect Collection.

From revolutionizing basketball in the 1920s to igniting punk rock counterculture to becoming the go-to shoe for men, women and kids of all ages, the Converse Chuck Taylor All Star has seen it all—until now.

To celebrate this month’s Pop-In @ Nordstrom, which is devoted to all things Converse, we’ve invited local artists from every corner of the USA to put their own unique spin on the ultimate blank canvas: a pristine pair of white high-top Chucks. Keep reading to see 14 hand-painted sneakers—and find out where you can nab these limited-edition kicks while supplies last.

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Step up your spring style with a fly pair of sneakers. From the logo-embossed leather to the eye-catching studs, these MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Keaton’ Studded High Top Sneakers are the ultimate in street chic.

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Stay on trend with Michael Kors Women’s Shoes.

Karen Elson, fashion’s favorite fiery redhead, is the face of Kurt Geiger London‘s spring/summer 2014 ad campaign.

Karen-Elson-for-Kurt-Geiger-London-spring-2014Photographed by Erik Torstensson.

The campaign images depict an English summer day in London’s Kew Gardens. Elegant and provocative, the latest offering of shoes elevates easy-to-wear, everyday styles and shapes.

“Spring ’14 is an ode to the English rose, fusing London-cool with designs to suit our daily uniform. Nordstrom will see exciting additions to our signature B Series stilettos, boots, high sandals, slip-ons, flatforms and flat sandals elevated with a crafty palette and materials for the art of living,” says Rebecca Farrar-Hockley, the brand’s creative director.

With spring in the air, celebrate the changing season by slipping into a new pair of Kurt Geiger London Pumps.

Qianna Smith

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.

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

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As is tradition here on The Thread, we can’t say goodbye to Fashion Week without one last look at the insanely good shoes seen on the feet of fashion’s most inspiring ladies. Have a favorite (or 64)? Each pair links to similar styles, so you can shop these lovelies right this minute.

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Jeff Powell
shoes

Our Glendale, CA Nordstrom (at The Americana at Brand), got a surprise visit by teen queens — and now shoe designers — Jenner sisters Kendall, 18, and Kylie, 16. The ladies were in full stylish form for the unveiling of their shoe and handbag collaboration for Steve Madden’s Madden Girl line.

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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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Our street-style photographer, Crystal Nicodemus, spotted so many amazing accessories in New York that we decided to do an entire Scene Snaps highlighting the best bags, jewelry, hats and more.

See all of Crystal’s Scene Snaps at New York Fashion Week, and stay tuned for her updates from London.