An Object of Affection: Rupert Sanderson Shoes

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.


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

THE THREAD: From you to Nicholas Kirkwood to Charlotte Olympia to Sophia Webster, London is turning out some of the most desired names in designer footwear. There’s definitely a movement in fashion where it’s all about the ‘it’ shoe. Why do you think shoes have become a woman’s most trusted accessory?

RUPERT SANDERSON: I’ve been around for just a touch longer than Nicholas, but not much. I suppose [British shoe designers] are having a moment. The fact is that shoes are more of an object to get excited about. I mean, thirteen years ago the apparel world really didn’t think much about what they were putting down the catwalk. But now shoes are things of note within a collection and even celebrated. I suppose it’s amazing, in the sense that you can make an outfit with a great pair of shoes, and people seen in blind testing are spending a bit more on shoes. They are taking their look to another level, in a way, because you can pair a well-cut dress that’s not too expensive with great heels, and you’ve got an amazing outfit. It doesn’t work the other way around quite the same way.

Women realize that shoes can work beyond the season and the right pair can even be collectible. There’s a huge amount of variety in the design as well. In my collection, there’s a lot of options so you can get a chance to have a unique piece in terms of color, heel shape and textures. Shoes offer the opportunity to be truly unique.

Cobalt Cool: Rupert Sanderson ‘Estelle’ Sandal (Nordstrom Exclusive Color)

THE THREAD: Amanda Seyfried, Claire Danes, Victoria Beckham are all fans of your line. With Hollywood calling, can you tell us who are a few of your shoe-donning icons?

RUPERT: We’ve had some great support from actresses over the years. Gwyneth Paltrow has worn all my shoes involved with her key red-carpet moments. In my life, British actress Naomi Watts is a great fan and kind of fantastic in terms of a contemporary woman. It’s funny because the focus on the shoe is an easy, contemporary thing.

Actually, when you have a great actress next to you, it’s not so much about someone with really great legs. Lauren Hutton’s brilliant, she’s just very natural. She’s got that sort of great American look with that charming gap in her teeth. She dresses amazingly. There you go!

Wedged Wonders: Rupert Sanderson ‘Mitzy’ Sandal

THE THREAD: If you had to define your craftsmanship to someone who has never seen your shoes before, how would you describe your creative point of view?

RUPERT: I love a sharp silhouette, and to build the shoe from there. The idea of taking shoes and using them to tell a completely different story or overdecorating doesn’t really appeal to me. What I like is the grace and fineness of the line. I always come back to that. The temptation to overdesign is very strong, particularly because there’s so much focus on the shoe at the moment. It’s almost like it has a life of its own and it has a story of its own.

It can be slightly overwhelming. A woman can feel like she’s being worn by the shoe rather than the other way around. My motto has been “Less is more.” I find it hard to pull away from that. I have my moments when I can really push the boat out, but my true aesthetic is all about form, lines and beautiful material.

Discover just why Rupert Sanderson is a worthy object of  your affection.

Qianna Smith
Photos courtesy of Rupert Sanderson