Nicholas Kirkwood exploded onto the women’s footwear scene in recent years with a distinct and cutting-edge aesthetic, anchored in the abstraction of geometry and its various applications. Yet the architectural elements in his designs aren’t as obvious as Pierre Hardy’s blocks, nor are his signatures as in-your-face as Christian Louboutin’sscarlet soles. What Kirkwood does is blend his shapes in a way that creates an instantly recognizable pump, most often so with bladed recessed platforms. It’s a formula that has been wildly successful in both retail and editorial circuits alike.
Over the course of the London men’s collections last week, Kirkwood debuted his first, and highly anticipated, men’s capsule collection. When asked how long it had been in the pipeline, Kirkwood (via mobile phone from London) laughs, “I started making men’s shoes for myself before women’s.” Indeed, there’s an inherent masculinity in his women’s offerings, in the sense that they’re robust and not by any means delicate. “But it’s been about a year since we’ve had the launch in development,” he adds. “It was a matter of looking for the right factory.”
Kirkwood has also often collaborated with clothing labels for their respective catwalk shows, most notably creating Rodarte’s candle-wax heels of yester-season. He’s hinted at doing the same with a men’s label, saying he’s been approached by a couple, though he wouldn’t reveal who.
When questioned about his sources of inspiration, Kirkwood remains obtuse. “It’s more about the line, and how the lines intersect with each other.” Above all, though, the designer isn’t keen to rest on his laurels. “I want it to be interesting, and I want to keep challenging myself.”