Exciting news on the Eugenia Kim front: The masterful milliner has officially expanded into footwear — high-end footwear, in fact — that for Fall 2014 draws on the dark side of 1970s rock ‘n roll, as well as lessons learned from the designer’s first stab at footwear back in 2003.
Kim’s first shoe launch was a success in many ways — the shoes were bought by big retailers like Saks and even won the designer a CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year award in 2004. Sadly, the shoe line fell by the wayside in 2005 when Kim, whose company was still fairly small, had to produce more volume than her factory could handle. “[The factory] couldn’t produce on time, so after a couple of years I decided to stop and focus on hats,” the designer explained to us in a phone interview Thursday.
“I was in my 20s the first time [I did shoes]. I learned so much during those two years,” Kim says. Now, with more experience under her belt, it’s a great time for the brand to be trying again, she says, in part because she’s noticed a “new vanguard of shoe designers” that she could easily become a part of, but also because she now knows a lot more about production. Kim says she has spent a lot of time working on developing the line — she began working on it in April of 2013 and even took a trip to Italy to visit her new factory, which also manufactures shoes for the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. Thus, the quality is high and the materials (mink fur, pearl cabochon, burnt ostrich) luxe. Prices will range from $535 to $1,095.
The designer also explained why shoes are a natural evolution from hats. For one, they’re made in very similar ways, using molds. Kim has also developed signature rose gold elements that she included in both the hat and footwear collections so that they’re more cohesive. She also made the point that her hats are already sold in a lot of shoe stores, and that both are “the kind of item you can try on even if you feel fat.”
Back to the mink fur, pearl cabochon and burnt ostrich: Kim said the collection was inspired by “’70s David Bowie, Anita Pallenberg, and the dark aspect of [the era].” This can be seen in, aside from the flamboyant (but not too loud) accoutrements, the blocky, lower heels, which are also very of the moment. She described the platform heel as a “signature.”
And don’t expect Kim to stop at shoes. As for what’s next, she says she’s “really an accessories girl, and the ready-to-wear market is so saturated. My goal has always been to grow my company into an accessories brand.” Handbags, small leather goods, jewelry: they’re all on the horizon.
The shoe line will be unveiled in full at an intimate presentation during New York Fashion Week, but for now, click through for more sketches.