In an exclusive interview with Bicester Village, shoe designer Rupert Sanderson reveals the inspiration behind his collections.
Your collections resonate with people around the world - is there a particular woman that you design for or does this vary from pair to pair?
The wonderful thing about shoes is that they can tell a million stories, and I suppose women will have a million moods and so it’s very hard to just design for a specific woman. A woman that’s comfortable with making decisions and wearing brands that speak about her, who is confident in her choices and knows what works for her, is the sort of woman who wears my shoes.
Where did your passion for footwear first originate?
Deep down in my soul. It seems to have found me and it works perfectly for me. It encapsulates pretty much all the things I like doing – making lots of things and working with beautiful materials. The transformative power of shoes is second to almost nothing.
Are there any practices you have that keep you creatively engaged and inspired?
You’ve got to keep light on your feet and sort of spiritually you can’t be led by trends, you have to have a sort of instinct for your own aesthetic and you’ve got to protect that furiously when there are all kinds of forces at play that can threaten that. As long as I’m feeling light and inspired there will be plenty more ideas where the last lot came from. As soon as it stops being fun everything suffers.
Shoes can often be used as an anchor for more creative looks - what trends will you be experimenting with this season?
Feathers, rubber, flocking. Within the small canvas that is the shoe there is an enormous amount of different techniques and materials, everything from origami folding through to really rich embroidery. I enjoy fringing, all the little motifs that you constantly reinvent.
What are your thoughts on the power of the shoe?
They are powerful. Believe it!
Can you share with us the story behind your favourite pair of shoes?
I permanently have to be thinking how the next pair of shoes are going to be better than anything I have designed before. There are a few shoes recently that I have really liked – I designed a shoe, a traditional derby, where the tongue is actually made of feathers which I think is a really simple, lovely idea. My Estelle sandal is a signature shoe that continues to keep being open to interpretation.
What does the future hold for the brand? Would you ever consider bringing out a menswear line?
Watch this space. We are constantly evolving, it’s something that as long as we can still be making shoes in the same sort of spirit that we do now that’s all that we can really wish for. Occasionally we do men’s shoes, or sometimes we extend a shoe that works as a flat for a woman. It’s a fine line creatively, I find men’s shoes counter to my instincts of what we can do with women’s shoes.
Discover the latest shoes at the Bicester Village boutique below...