J.Crew and Sophia Webster, the It-Brit shoe designer known for her bright, embellished and multi-patterned stilettos, are a match made in footwear heaven. After designing capsules for J.Crew's spring 2014 and fall 2014 collections, Webster is out Wednesday with a seven-piece holiday collection, available to shop now on JCrew.com and select J.Crew stores in New York, London and Hong Kong.
The collection is priced in Webster's normal range — between $320 and $695 a pair — and features both her signature pattern-mixing and embellishments: There's a black and pink pointed-toe d'Orsay pump with a black tassel tie at the ankle, a black patent pump backed with black and white calf hair, and our personal favorite, a matte gold jacquard peep-toe bootie with an open heel. As of 8 a.m. ET, many of the styles have already sold out online.
Tom Mora, J.Crew's women's design director, says he and his team began working with Sophia Webster on the holiday capsule about a year ago. "We basically show her the boards, our color palette and prints, and we start identifying specific prints we want to use that we love from the collection," Mora explains of their working process. "She in turn will mix them with her own fabrications as well — metallics, patent, cut-out polka dots — and a lot of [other] techniques and patterning that are done through the leather itself. She'll come back to us with sketches, and we'll look at them, do two or three revisions. The nice thing is that the turnaround time is less because the shoes are made in Brazil."
As we mentioned, Webster's shoes are priced in the same league as her designer range — high even by J.Crew Collection standards. If you look at the designer shoe spectrum overall, Webster's collection for J.Crew is very well-priced, Mora insists. "Plus, we're not taking it into all our stores... that would be silly. They're so beautiful, the rarity of them is what's so nice."
We asked Mora if he had any tips for holiday dressing. "You have to think about what you want to be the focal point," Mora says. "Shoes can be that focal point, and then you can go with something a little more casual... Jeans or a slouchy trousers with a great, clean cashmere sweater or a blazer. I always fall back on the white shirt, wear it with a great trouser, a great heel." You know you've got a good look, Mora says, when people pause to study it. "People look you either up or down or down and up, and when you see people doing that, when they hold their glance, it's good design and they're trying to understand it."