Trust a cool, stylish British lady to create equally chic footwear and accessories that appeal to consumers. We sat down with Rebecca Farrar-Hockley, creative director of Kurt Geiger, ahead of its new store opening in Times Square.
She reveals her inspirations, her top British style icons and how many pairs of shoes the self-proclaimed ‘shoeaholic’ owns.
Can you describe your design philosophy?
Create what you love, analyse what the customers like and do not like in that season – because I think they tell you what to do. Another thing is that, if I am not sure, I will never put it in the collection. I have to be certain.
How do you balance aesthetics and comfort when designing?
I’m lucky that I have sample-size feet, so I can try every shoe on – and that’s really important to me. We work quite hard on extra padding, and try to make a pair of high heels as comfortable as they can be. It’s about balance, isn’t it? No girl wants a shoe to look ugly. She wants it to be as comfortable as possible. So we use amazing materials and breathable fabrics, and [we] make sure the pitch of the heels is perfect for how the bones and the feet align.
Where do you find inspirations for your design?
I travel all the time – every other week. I’ll be in Milan, Paris, Florence, New York, Hong Kong and Shanghai. I photograph and look at people. I don’t ever seem to run out of ideas.
As a quintessentially British brand, is there a British “it” girl or style icon you have in mind when designing?
Kate Moss is definitely one. She is a mix of good and bad girls, which is very much a part of our design philosophy. I’ve always liked that sort of rock ‘n’ roll, therefore I like Kate very much. Alexa Chung is another [icon]. I like Alexa’s chic and understated style – and she’s got amazing legs for shoes. She has the longest skinniest legs you have ever seen. Sienna Miller would be a third inspiration. There really are plenty of style icons from Britain.
You’re launching a childrenswear line soon. How is that different from designing for adults?
Yes! It’ll be launched in spring. It’s a lot of “mini me” versions of our iconic shoes – without the heels, of course. There will be lots of quintessentially British items, for example, Mary James, Little Chelsea boots, and colour is a big theme, and also quite a bit of novelty. The “mini me” concept is my biggest challenge at the moment, but it’s surprisingly not so different [from designing adults’ shoes]. I had lots of little children in the studio last week to see what they thought and they loved it – so I’m excited!
What are some trends in footwear and accessories next season?
For spring, it will be boots in general – ankle boots. Actually, they will also be massive for autumn and winter. Others will be fur, velvet and tan, brown or chocolate colour.
Which is your must-have shoe for the season?
For winter and fall, it has to be a pair of thigh-high boots – not just over-the-knee but those that go all the way up to the top of your leg. As a petite girl myself, I used to think those aren’t in short girls’ realms, but I was wrong. We can also look amazing in them.
How many pairs of shoes do you personally own?
Honestly? I have more than 500 pairs … I switch every season and some of them go into archives.