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A New Breed of Footwear Designers Beckon Our Soles

A New Breed of Footwear Designers Beckon Our Soles

Christian Louboutin’s red bottoms are recognized worldwide and Manolo Blahnik became a household name when designer-loving Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City strolled into our hearts.  The designer footwear category remains solid as shoe legends Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Chanel and others continue to rule the upper echelons of  luxury footwear offerings.

Alas, as fashion continues to grow, and cycle, and grow, and cycle, the designer footwear industry is experiencing a movement.  Although the legendary names in footwear will always hold a place in our hearts (and on our feet), it’s time to make room for a fresh set of footwear designers who are seizing the moment and some space on the footwear shelves.

Brian Atwood

Most of us got our first glimpse of this sexy stiletto dream weaver in the second film installment of Sex and the City.  Atwood, who was born and raised in Chicago, IL, made his way out of the Midwest, into college, modeling, and finally Milan where he perfected his craft by training with the king of fashion, Gianni Versace himself.  As one of the first footwear designers to make his way into the top tiers of designers, Atwood launched his line in 2001 and continues to grow his business.  The Brian Atwood label is actually owned by The Jones Group, Inc. with Atwood serving as creative director.

Plans for expansion include the opening of the first Brian Atwood store this September at 655 Madison in New York City.  Coupled with the launch of the redesigned digital flagship at brianatwood.com, it’s safe to say Atwood has made it.  Additionally, we can look forward to the brand’s first global ad campaign which will appear in the ad-heavy pages of almost every September fashion magazine.  These are just a few of our favorites from his summer 2012 collection:

Charlotte Olympia

If there is one word to describe Charlotte Olympia’s shoe designs it would be “glamorous!”  After graduating from London College of Fashion in 2004 with a degree from Cordwainers in Footwear Design, Olympia literally went straight to business.  She launched her London-based eponymous label in 2006 and quickly created a brand synonymous with Old Hollywood glamour.  Her use of animal prints, seductive color and meticulous details have placed her footwear with the signature gold spider web on the sole in high demand.

You can get your Charlotte Olympia fix at various fine online retailers including net-a-porter, Barney’s and the companies site.  The Charlotte Olympia flagship store opened in 2010 in London’s Mayfair and features the label’s first bridal collection.  Here are a few of our picks from her spring/summer 2012 line:

Nicholas Kirkwood

If you’re looking for a shoe that will grab your attention, look no further than Nicholas Kirkwood.  Straight from London and having recently opened his first stateside shop in the heart of NYC, Kirkwood’s designs could easily be compared to the architectural genius of Frank Gehry and  Oscar Niemeyer.  Why?  Although his footwear designs may not be the most comfortable or practical, the unique qualities will leave you completely awed.

Kirkwood creates true fantasy using materials such as Murano glass tiles and snakeskin combined with a wide array of colors.  His heels stretch far beyond the imagination of the average stiletto and can be found is all shapes and sizes from large rectangles to space needle shapes with wavy indentations.  Your search for that one of a kind shoe has ended.  Here’s a few creations from his summer line that we’re feeling right now:

Tabitha Simmons

Tabitha Simmons is no stranger to fashion.  She lends her styling expertise to a variety of publications, including serving as contributing editor for Vogue, and has worked as a fashion stylist to such legends as Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen and Calvin Klein.  In addition to all of her styling commitments, Simmons launched her shoe collection in 2009 and quickly made a name for herself in the footwear industry.

Her designs tend to have an edgy, elegant dramatic appeal laced with an appreciation for luxury and class.  From ankle high boots to floral printed stilettos, Simmons offers only the best quality fabrics and designs for a product that will make you feel as rich as you look.  We can’t wait to place our feet in a pair of these beauties from her collection:

Alexandre Birman

Alexandre Birman is on a mission to bring some sizzle to the world of footwear couture. Notorious for his use of exotic skins (snakeskin, crocodile, lizard and ostrich) this Brazilian’s designs are certain to send the fashion world up in flames, one hot looking foot at a time.

While Birman’s designs may be a bit more classic is shape than that of some of fellow trendy designers, his use of texture, pattern and color set him apart from the rest.  From patent leather ankle strap heels to multi-colored snake skin stilettos, Birman isn’t afraid to allow the details to speak for themselves. We’re ready to slip into a pair of these stunners from his summer line: