For only having been on her own in the biz for a few seasons now, Sophia Webster has certainly built up a strong brand identity. Her playful, quirky designs have earned her an almost fanatical customer base.
That's because, while her label only just launched, Webster has been working--and learning--in the industry for years as Nicholas Kirkwood's right-hand-woman. Kirkwood, who recently picked up the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund award, no doubt provided Webster with a template for success.
While Webster's shoes do bear similarities to Kirkwood's, it seems as if the young designer has pushed the playful tone even farther in her eponymous line. For Fall 2013, Webster used holographic fabric to accent some of her lace-up stiletto heel designs; others were made to look almost like a mini tuxedo with an embroidered collar. Her purses, though, were the standout for me: One model clutched a mini artist's palette while another sported a massive cross-body bag in the shape of a metallic unicorn. Webster is smart: She's tapping into a moment in the accessories category--one that's about quirk, originality and confidence, a wave perhaps started by Olympia Le Tan and Charlotte Olympia.
Webster's real strength lies in her ability to create an entire world around her accessories. For fall 2013, she commandeered a small area of Topshop's show space and created a magical forest with pastel trees and sparkly fake snow. Girls wore patterned jumpsuits and had pretty much the coolest hair and makeup we've seen: pastel streaked, braided and then piled on top of their heads to make them look like unicorns.