ALL POSTS Interviews Style Travel

La Dolce Vita in Mary Janes: Shoes of Prey’s Collaboration with Blogger Kim Jones

Sometimes life calls for dramatic change. Occasionally business as usual becomes totally unacceptable. And some people are courageous enough to throw off the shackles of comfort to confront the excitement of uncertainty.

Kim Jones was a banker in Australia before she decided to buy a one-way ticket to Manila. Once there, she launched what, by all accounts, is a successful career as a fashion influencer and luxury consultant. She has appeared on the cover of L’Officiel in Manila and Singapore, and was described by Who What Wear as one of Asia’s most influential bloggers. Her blog, Miss Jones, shows how Kim’s love of travel and adventure intersects with fashion and her beach-to-café lifestyle.

Kim Jones

We spoke with Kim about her latest undertaking: a collaboration with Shoes of Prey inspired by the Italian coastal town of Positano. The shoe collection, titled La Dolce Vita, conjures the sophisticated drama of Italian fashion in five heel styles. Each sexy shoe captures not only the bella figura of Italy’s style, but also Kim Jones’s own enthusiasm for beautiful living.

La Dolce Vita moodboard

Tell us about the Shoes of Prey collaboration. How did it come about?

I had a major freak-out moment while drinking an espresso in Rome when I received an email from the Shoes of Prey team asking if I’d like to explore this collaboration. I attempted to play it cool, but I don’t think I succeeded.

Later, after I had secured my designs, I first flew to L.A. to meet the team and see the first set of sample shoes. I proceeded to show all of these people from Shoes of Prey whom I had never met before that my name was on a shoe we had designed! To say I was excited about this collaboration is an understatement.

Shoes of Prey, Kim Jones
How did the collaboration work?

I love Shoes of Prey’s customization and the community of women they’ve built—connected by inspiration, creativity and, of course, an intense love for shoes—all over the world. I really wanted the collection to feel cohesive and I wanted it to tell a story to the women who wear it. Heels have this ability to really elevate a mood or confidence, and I wanted to inject a little bit of the allure of the Italian woman into the ones we designed. I made about 40 designs, whittled them down to about 15 or so, sent them to Shoes of Prey and then shaved it down to the five pieces we have available today.

La Dolce Vita, Shoes of Prey

What was your inspiration?

I’d just come back from visiting Positano on the Amalfi Coast and was still on a travel high from the richness of the culture and the way a simple coffee in the morning could feel so luxurious there—not in a manner of wealth but in the manner of this sense of youthful exuberance, no matter the age. For the collection, I really wanted to inject a little bit of that into the designs.

Positano, Italy, Shoes of Prey, La Dolce Vita

Anything else that inspired the collection?

Sometimes your travel experiences can only be truly appreciated by you, so I wanted to make sure that certain elements of my experience could be turned into something tactile and identifiable that people wearing my shoes could appreciate. I could tell my followers were taking their own inspiration from Italy on my social media, so my translation of that was including a textural aspect with rich leather, suede and velvet in jewel tones.

I was very particular about making sure there was a feeling of luxury, even down to the rich red leather insole. I really wanted to have at least one piece that every woman felt they could wear. I’m very much about creating dialogues through my travels, imagery or social media. I always want there to be intention in whatever I do, and it was no different with my designs—my wish is that when people put them on they can feel where the inspiration comes from, and maybe even be inspired to embark on their own journeys. It was also important to Shoes of Prey and to me that there be a variety of designs and heel heights in a cohesive collection. So I hope I’ve done that!

How do you develop the fashion stories on your blog?

I’ve come to the realization that my website is very much still a creative outlet for me, and I love being able to assume these different roles depending on what I’m shooting. I photograph and style a lot of my work myself, which allows me a certain level of freedom when it comes to output. It means that if I’m inspired by a collection, an idea, a location or anything at all, I have complete freedom and accountability to execute and share it. That’s something I value greatly and it’s something that I find extremely fulfilling.

Positano, Italy, Shoes of Prey

You left a career in banking to pursue your lifestyle career. Why?

A lot of people ask me this question and, really, it just came down to instinct. At the end of the day I felt like I was secure and stable enough in finance to make a career out of it and my mind was pulling me in one direction, but my gut—which apparently was the stronger of the two—was telling me it wasn’t for me. I felt I could offer so much more; the creative side of my brain was aching to be put to use. One day, as if by the flick of a switch, my heart was set on moving out—way out—of my comfort zone. I purchased a one-way ticket to Manila (I’m part Filipina) and the rest is history.

Kim Jones, Shoes of Prey moldboard

You live in Manila now. What are your favorite things about living there?

I wouldn’t be where I am now without this city. I matured here and I found my direction here, so there’s a deep sentimental value and attachment that I have to Manila. It has many layers and at first glance can be misinterpreted and misunderstood. But there is so much creative energy here; the city is full of young, brilliant minds intent on building it up one startup at a time. Once you can learn to see past the insanely stagnant traffic, you’ll find a great liveliness and optimism.

Kim Jones, Shoes of Prey

Any suggestions for travelers to Manila?

For chow time I adore MamouCDP at Rockwell and Antonio’s in Tagaytay, less than two hours out of the city. Most travelers coming to Manila are likely en route to an island or beach, so I would highly suggest visiting El Nido, La Union, Amanpulo, Boracay and Dumaguete. You will not regret it.

What is next for you?

I actually leave tomorrow to shoot a new campaign in Norfolk, UK, before coming home and getting started on the Christmas shopping. I’ve been traveling nonstop this year so I’m looking forward to spending time with family and loved ones over a good home-cooked meal before starting all the crazy again next year. And Netflix. I’m very much looking forward to Netflix.

—Britt Burritt