Designer Sophia Webster brings her vivacious Spring/Summer 2014 collection to Saks Fifth Avenue.
Designer Sophia Webster and her whimsical-chic shoes are taking the fashion world by storm. The Londoner debuted her SS2013 collection following an apprenticeship with the legendary Nicholas Kirkwood. Since then, her designs have gained major fashion traction, having been worn by celebrity fashion icons like Sarah Jessica Parker. Now, Webster is bringing her glitzy goods and spunky personality to Saks Fifth Avenue, where she’ll show her Spring/Summer 2014 collection in person on March 11. (Don’t miss the designer’s live Q&A with Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis Director Lisa Melandri, followed by an exclusive shoe signing.) We sat down with the designer to talk personal style, her growing shoe empire and her childhood hobby as a competitive disco dancer in the UK.
ALIVE: Who do you design for, and where is this woman going in your shoes?
Sophia Webster: I design for all types of women, and I don’t particularly have an idea in mind of where each style would be necessarily worn. I think it’s more important for the individual to choose how and where they should be worn. My aim is to give woman confidence and make them feel beautiful and comfortable.
ALIVE: It wasn’t all that long ago that you were finishing your studies and starting your career. Did you see this quick success coming, or were you caught by surprise?
SW: I was definitely caught by surprise, but even though it is very early on in my career, I’ve worked extremely hard to get here. It is more than a fulltime job, but it’s definitely worth it. I love it.
ALIVE: You were once a competitive disco dancer. How did those years of dancing influence your design style?
SW: I always had a fascination with color and loved learning how to use it in design successfully. The disco dancing costumes were definitely interesting—and who knows—could inspire a future collection. With dance, it was a way to express myself, which is now channeled through my design.
ALIVE: Which big names would you love to see wearing your shoes?
SW: Gwen Stefani—she is my style icon. I would love to see her in a pair of my Riko shoes. I think they would suit her style!
ALIVE: What inspires your designs?
SW: It varies. I’m inspired by film, artists, photographers and the style of people I admire. For instance, my AW13 collection was inspired by “Clueless,” “Narnia” and “Edward Scissorhands,” whereas SS14 was inspired by nature and photography.
ALIVE: Tell us about your aesthetic for your latest collection to be shown at Saks this month.
SW: My SS14 collection was inspired by the photographic works of Mika Ninagawa and butterfly wings. I wanted to create something colorful and intricate that was also playful and feminine.
ALIVE: What is one quality all women should look for in a fabulous pair of shoes?
SW: I think a woman should feel drawn to them— the colors, the design, the shape—they are all factors when choosing the perfect pair. Comfort is a very important factor as well. I always take that into consideration when designing my shoes.
ALIVE: You’ve tested pop-up shops, and you're planning to open your flagship storefront next year. Any plans for pop-ups and storefronts in the States?
SW: Maybe! I’m just taking each step as it comes. It would be lovely to have a pop-up shop in New York— the US market has been very responsive to my products.
ALIVE: What’s your favorite style of shoe to wear?
SW: I love to wear heels for a variety of occasions, but recently I’ve been wearing espadrilles around the office. They are a new style I added to my SS14 collection and are so easy and comfortable to wear.
For more info on the Sophia Webster event at Saks Fifth Avenue on March 11, call 314.567.9200.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Sophia Webster