June 21, 2006
(via Georgina Goodman)
Manolo Blahnik speaks highly of Georgina Goodman, but the rest don't bode as well (article from British Vogue):
'the British shoemaker [Georgina Goodman] has Manolo Blahnik on side. Asked recently by Footwear News whether he was concerned about the lack of talented shoe designers emerging into the market, he had two to single out. "I think there are a lot of talented designers waiting in the wings, there are a lot in the schools," he said. "Instead of so many shoe designers coming like buckets, I would like to see more than were doing something distinctive. Benoît Méleard, for example, was something special, but I don't see enough of his work these days. I think that only the most commercial designers are being pushed, which is sad. I am of this dinosaur way of thinking which [says] that small is better. You have the freedom when you are small to do whatever you want to do. Do I see one designer that stands out? Maybe in England there is Georgina Goodman, but unfortunately there are not many." '
I would disagree. Certainly in the middle high-end range of footwear (which is probably not the crowd of designers Manolo is speaking of) talent abounds. I am guessing he is referring to the barren land at the top of the footwear footchain belonging to big houses that caters to the likes of fashion-fashion people like Isabella Blow and the upper crust. I'm talking about the $300-600 range which includes many talented footwear designers like – but not limited to – Eileen Shields, Dove Nuetano, Chie Mihara, Leflesh, Walk That Walk, Key Té, Olivia Morris, Guillaume Hinfray, etc. Couture shoes, I am less concerned with; what interests me are shoes that are wearable and translate well in real life. Case-in-point: the Lanvin high-tower shoes. Ridiculous and ugly, I would snicker at someone trying to trot down the street to catch a cab wearing those.
The aforementioned designers are small, and independent. I too am old-fashioned that way and prefer things be kept limited to maintain their specialness. This fair sized crop of small footwear designers are all distinctive in their own way and appeal to me for their simplicity, detail, and subtle quirks. If by "distinctive" Blahnik means extravagant and elaborate, then perhaps he is right in that there are few that stand out, but otherwise to make such statements (the compliment to Georgina Goodman notwithstanding) is to ignore the creative talents in footwear who are out there doing their thing.