Fashion Week: Q&A with Brian Atwood

Happy New York Fashion Week! That’s right, the most highly-anticipated biannual time of year for every designer, stylist, editor and shopper is finally here! Sadly, for the first time in over a decade, I will not be able to personally attend the festivities myself—though the circumstances are happy!—but I will be tracking coverage of every show via Style.com. Also, to acknowledge fashion week in my own special way from home, I am rolling out a full week of exclusive Q&A interviews in The Zoe Report with some of New York’s top designers!

Mah-jor-a! Diving right in, please read on for my cross-examination with the fashion world’s crowned shoe king (and one of my dearest friends), Brian Atwood, about his famous footwear and newly launched contemporary collection, B Brian Atwood. xoRZ

RZ: In what seems like an overnight occurrence, you have gone from being a go-to favorite footwear designer for fashion insiders and celebrities to a household name—what has the experience been like?
BA: It has been 10 years in the making! I love what I do so it makes it that much easier to say that this experience has been so amazing. I look back at the days when everything from my studio to my shipping was in my bedroom. It makes me appreciate it and never take it for granted.

RZ: Your shoes have been made famous for their feminine aesthetic with a cutting-edge feel and wow factor details à la elaborate skins, studs and fringe—when did you know you wanted to become a shoe designer and how did you get your start?
BA: I trained as a RTW designer—i can sew, make patterns etc—but I was always fascinated with shoes. I don’t know where it came from, but there was something that I couldn’t let go. It wasn’t until I was hired by Gianni Versace that I really got my hands dirty and got to go to a shoe factory. Gianni hired me to design RTW, but had also asked me to design some shoes for the “Haute Couture” show in Paris. This was my first taste designing and making shoes…needless to say, I WAS HOOKED! I love the magical effect shoes have on women (and on men when women are wearing them). I remember going to a psychic who once told me that “you will become famous with something having to do with feet.” BIZARRE!

RZ: This past week, you celebrated the launch of your new contemporary footwear line, B Brian Atwood, which will hit stores this fall—can you give my Zoe Report readers the inside scoop on what they can expect from the line?
BA: “B” will be a counterpart to Brian Atwood. The girl is part uptown chic, with a lot of downtown COOL and a bit of Parisian chic. This is a collection that will eventually become its own entity—like Miu Miu is to Prada. Expect: high heels, gorgeous rich textures and colors, vibram style rubber soled heels and boots, fringe on boots, pumps and sandals…and a little bit of disco thrown in there.

RZ: Last question—if you had to choose one favorite pair of shoes among your legion of jaw-dropping designs, which style would you choose and why?
BA: That is a hard question…I guess it would be one of my first shoes that I created called Dangerous Blossom. It was an amazing black silk satin sandal that had a handmade flower—each petal took 30 hours to make—from Cantú Italy and had a Kelly green crocodile lining. Definitely a showstopper!

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