Nicholas Kirkwood Dreams in Color

Design by Nicholas Kirkwood

Award-winning shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood dreams in color. And if you want to color yourself pink – or blue, yellow, white or red – you must visit his Meatpacking district flagship store. This museum-style store, alive with animated shoes that burst with rich, saturated hues, is a glorious Alice in Wonderland retreat for shoe lovers, and a feast of color for those in need of style revitalization. The absolute white walls surround matching pedestals topped with a single blossom—a pair of colorful shoes.

Kirkwood’s unique designs are expertly crafted and offer an architectural escape of wavy skyscraper heels and jeweled rectangular platforms set among stilted walking foundations. His trademark use of atypical materials, including cobra, python, shaved stingray, satin, and hand-painted suede, have earned him the reputation of a trailblazer in the field. The pre-Spring collection offers a playful mix: heels abloom with three-dimensional flowers; teal animal prints with pink detailing; a red, white, and blue trio; and a spiked open-toe platform pump to die for.

Shoe design clearly comes naturally to Kirkwood. Armed with only a Fine Art foundation course at Central Saint Martins and a year at Cordwainers at the London College of Fashion, he has achieved blockbuster success. Kirkwood kick-started his career while designing shoes for catwalk collections by clothing designers such as Ghost, John Rocha, Erdem, Rodarte, and Pollini. His capacity to collaborate and co-brand has given him even greater exposure and enabled him to build the necessary capital to launch his signature collection in 2004.

Kirkwood has received numerous awards, including the Footwear News Designer of the Year (2011), British Fashion Awards Accessory Designer of the year (2010), and won the Swarovski Emerging Talent for Accessories prize (2008).

Kirkwood’s avant-garde shoe fashions offer more lavish daydreams, creative design without conforming to pre-ordained social rules. These shoes don’t dictate women to be sexy at all times nor, thankfully, are they following workplace rules. These shoes are designed to be beautiful works of art—and playful ones, at that.

Nicolas Kirkwood shoes can be found at his namesake stores in New York and London. His stock is also available at Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks 5th Avenue.

Text by Debra Winter