The fifth floor of Barneys was buzzing on Thursday afternoon. Maybe it had something to do with the luxury department store’s newly opened shoe salon. Another obvious reason? American designer extraordinaire Narciso Rodriguez was chatting up his friend, the striking actress Jessica Alba, while shoppers lovingly examined his crazy-spectacular shoe collection, which launched there this week.
Rodriguez has done shoes before. On the runway, of course, and in limited runs for particular retailers. But this is his first scalable collection, in development for over two years. "I really wanted to get together a great team—both the best manufacturing team and production team as well as the team in the office to help me go back into accessories in a much stronger way, a much bigger way," he told Lucky. "And you know, with accessories I’m very–as with ready-to-wear–I’m very demanding about the quality and the materials and the craftsmanship. So I took my time."
The result is a tight edit of color-block booties, classic d’orsays and spikey heels, with prices starting at $895 (for a black leather pump) and running up to $2,195 for an ostrich and suede mid-calf boot. Sure, they’re not cheap. But much like his clothes, Rodriguez’s shoes are sculptural masterpieces that happen to have a enduring, trendless quality as well. "To create in a three-dimensional way is really exciting for a designer," he said. "I mean, I’ve taken clay and molded heels as well as cut them out of paper. You know, it’s a very exciting way to work. You’re actually sculpting things."
As for what kind of woman will be drawn to the collection, there’s little doubt he’ll find a few starry friends to wear them on the red carpet. Claire Danes, Julianna Margulies and many others choose the designer over and over again for big events. How does he attract such loyal followers? "I’ve been so blessed. I mean, I met Claire when she was fifteen and we’ve cultivated this great relationship where I’ve been able to dress her," he said. "But that’s not, that’s not our relationship—that’s our friendship. I have these really great, solid friendships with these inspiring women. On a personal level they make my life so rich, but in a professional way they’ve made my work so rich because they inspire. Hopefully they love what I do as much I love them."
Want to be a Narciso Rodriguez woman? Shop his shoes here:
Photo Credit: Neil Rasmus/BFANYC.com
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