Paul Andrew Q&A

 With shoes that are a perfect marriage between craftsmanship and style, Paul Andrew knows what women want. With the launch of his eponymous line last year, Andrew has 15 years of industry experience, working with the who’s who of style and fashion: Alexander McQueen, Narciso Rodriguez, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karen to name a few. Fresh off his recent CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund win earlier this month, we caught up with Paul about New York, Marlene Dietrich, and of course, shoes.

First off, congratulations on your win last week! How did that feel?
It’s still not really sunk in, to be honest. I’m still floating on a cloud; hopefully, that cloud will continue for a little while longer.

I read that your father was the Queen of England’s upholsterer…
It’s true; he was the upholsterer to the Queen for many years. It was a real education for me, thinking about it now, to be surrounded by those magnificent fabrics and brocades and jacquards.

What is your design mantra?
In a nutshell, it’s about this elegant, fine, joyful shoe that really fits properly.

Originally from London, you’ve been a resident of New York for quite some time. What’s had the most impact on your design?

I do draw on my British background. A lot of the materials I use are very quintessentially British. I do a lot of work with fabric shoes, which is a very English way of making shoes I think. At the same time, I am very much a New Yorker. I’m more impatient than most people, and I think that comes from living there so long.

You brought back and redefined the stiletto heel at a time when platform heels were so prevalent. What made you go in that direction?

Well, it’s always been my personal preference in terms of silhouette, in terms of women’s shoe. I think there’s nothing more elegant and refined than that single sole, stiletto look. So I launched at the right moment , because everyone followed suit. Suddenly you couldn’t even buy a platform. 

How would you describe the spring 2015 collection? I saw that it’s very Grecian.
It’s actually all inspired by Ancient Greece, with elements of Ancient Egypt, inspired by Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor. There are black and gold elements that hark back to Ancient Egypt, but then there’s these amazing Grecian sandals that are in the collection. The gladiators are really easy to wear; they have a zip up the back so you’re in and out very quickly, and I’ve added buckles to all of the straps that go up the legs so that if you’re skinny you can adjust it, if you’re a bit bigger, you can adjust it. It’s a really versatile shoe.

If you had to pick one at the moment, which shoe is your favorite?
Oh, I think it would have to be that gladiator boot; it’s one of my favorites. Having just won the CFDA, I had the great honor of receiving a full page in Vogue magazine, and I was photographed with that shoe.

Will we see a men’s collection soon?
That’s a good question. I’ve been thinking about that a lot recently. I really want to fully establish the women’s collection first, but I think menswear is on the horizon in the near future.

Dream style icon to design for?
Good lord. You know, she’s not living anymore but it would probably be Marlene Dietrich. She was totally outside the box, another woman who was an enigma. She really broke all the boundaries, if you think about how she dressed in an androgynous way, the way she was still the most feminine and sexy woman out there. I love all those old Josef von Sternberg films from the 1930s. I would have loved to have dressed her.

One last question, whose shoes are you wearing?
Oh my god, well until I have my own men’s collection, I’ll be wearing someone else’s. But these are Valentino.

Paul Andrew pre-spring 2015 collection is available now at The Room in The Bay. 674 Granville Street. 604.681.6211