“I’m super excited to be doing my first catwalk show as part of London Fashion Week in September,” Nicholas Kirkwood says. “It feels good to be back in London—my hometown and a place that I take so much inspiration from.”
Though the British designer has been active in the fashion scene for over a decade, this upcoming season will be his first foray into runway. Kirkwood’s artful and on-trend takes on shoes has secured its place in the footwear industry, yet the question with showing a new shoe collection has never been fully resolved. Presenting a new line of ready-to-wear is simple: consumers want to see how the fabrics move and play against each other. But footwear is different; sure, it’s important to see how the styles move as they’re walked in, but there is so much more to accessories. Luxury shoes like Kirkwood’s are usually intricately and carefully crafted, consumers need to take time to admire and study each one to fully grasp the details.
In past seasons, Kirkwood has consistently displayed collections in showrooms in Paris. He has opted for the showroom approach that most footwear designers take, displaying shoes in a well-designed space that complements the collection. The thoughtful designer knew that for his venture onto the runway, he had to return to his London roots, as he needed a tactic that was varied from the traditional runway format and “the contemporary art and fashion scenes [there] are so interesting.”
“I needed to create something that would show off the shoes and create a mood and feeling around the collection,” Kirkwood tells COOLS. He shares that the runway show will entail a short performance piece, based around a group of female activists creating a resistance movement against the government regime of banal, unoriginal fashion. He tells that the audience will then see the whole collection close up as they leave, but then says, “I can’t say anything else as I don’t want to give it all away yet.”
The upcoming Spring/Summer 2019 collection will focus on the harmony and disharmony of materials, looking at a conceptual tension between digital and organic elements, which is why a performance of resistance against banal fashion seems like it will be the perfect display for it. “The prints in the collection are inspired by the visual mania of TV screen digital interference and the colour palette inspiration came from the end of broadcast automation that appeared on analogue TV stations to signify that they had stop transmitting for the day,” he says. For this collection, Kirkwood also introduced a digital overlay to his work, which he applied to his visual signatures and signature design process.
Kirkwood is no stranger to blending his work with digital and tech. He offers customization on his Beya Bespoke line, allowing consumers to personalize elements on mules and loafers via Farfetch. Shoppers can see a digital rendering of their customization as they design. “I love looking at what our customers create, especially in regards to the colors they choose and put together,” Kirkwood says. “There is definitely a big move towards mass customisation in the industry, I think customers like to engage in part of the creative process and have something completely bespoke.”