A Q&A with Shoe Designer Nicholas Kirkwood on His Spring Summer 2014 Men’s Collection

A Q&A with Shoe Designer Nicholas Kirkwood on His Spring Summer 2014 Men’s Collection
A selection from Nicholas Kirkwood's spring/summer 2014 men's collection
(Frame Noir)

Nicholas Kirkwood launched his second collection of men’s shoes during “London Collections: Men” with an installation inside the BFC Show Space. The spring/summer 2014 collection included stunning metallic leathers, innovative tech fabrics turned into sneakers, and leather shoes made to look like denim with rivet detailing. There was also a selection of soft shoes for the summer with heels that fold down so the shoe can be slipped on or off with ease.

Many ideas from last season continued into this collection, including the studding and the chevron print. Some of the silhouettes stayed the same, but were translated into a summer version, with different fabrications and a lighter sole.

ARTINFO UK had a chance to catch up with Kirkwood to discuss the new collection, the difference between summer and winter shoes for men, and his perfect shoe.

How has this collection evolved from last season?

It’s the summer collection but I’ve repeated some of the shapes from the winter and updated them with summer fabrics from raffia to sport mesh.

I’ve also done some soft versions of the shoes as well. You can flip down the back. It looks like a structured shoe but it’s light and soft. There’s structure along the toes but in the backs and the sides, it’s much softer. And also they’re incredibly light as well. It’s almost like wearing nothing.

Have you introduced any new models for the summer?

They’re pretty much the same models. There’s only one new model, which is the loafer. But essentially it’s the same models done in a more summery way, different soles, and obviously a lighter color palette.

I’ve tried different constructions, like the softer ones, but essentially what I wanted to do was keep the same styles because ultimately, when people start seeing them again and again, it starts becoming recognizable.

Color is a big part of your aesthetics, both in the women’s and men’s shoes. What was the idea behind this season’s palette?

You got your classic colors like black, brown, and creams. Then I wanted to add in some royal blue and a bit of bright color blocking. The color blocking I felt was something I’d done for the women’s collection and thought it was kind of fun for men’s.

Some of the detailing from the women’s collection has carried over into the men’s. How do you decide what gets translated?

I do that if it’s either part of the season and part of the story that I think would work in the men’s. It would be a masculine version of it. The color blocking was in the women’s but I’ve done different color blocking for men’s. For example, I’m not going to put a salmon pink in there!

Each season, you explore new materials. What are some of the ones you used this time?

There’s one that looks like denim but it’s a leather made to look like denim. I think denim’s cool for summer.

I’ve done some in a tech fabric and it’s interesting the way it came out. You have a mix of metallic leathers. So it doesn’t completely look like a sneaker.

The soles have taken on a thicker silhouette this season, what was the idea behind that?

The structure’s from last season [the soles] with the leather edges and I just like the proportions with the thick sole. It takes it away from being too classic and gives it a slight edge.

Women are often quite concerned with having different shoes for different seasons. Is it the same with men?

The thing with men’s shoes is that unless it’s really obviously summer or winter, you can wear the same shoes the whole year. I don’t look at seasons. I’ll wear a summer shoe in the winter and vice versa.

What’s your perfect shoe?

For me, I like simple shoes and soft shoes.