Every year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund chooses from a roster of up-and-coming designers to determine which label is primed to be the next big thing. Judging from the success of Public School (which nabbed the prize last year) as well as past winners like Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra, the choices are usually on-point. But, given that slew of ready-to-wear brands that have taken home the title in recent years, last night's ceremony brought a bit of a curveball: The prize went to footwear designer Paul Andrew. Not familiar? Don’t worry. The British-born New Yorker might not be a household name yet but he’s about to break out big. In the meantime, get briefed on five things you should know about the newest CFDA winner, right here.
1. He scored an apprenticeship at Alexander McQueen right out of school. After that, he perfected his design chops working at some of the great American fashion houses, like Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Narcisco Rodriguez.
2. Word in industry circles is that he’s being groomed for Manolo Blahnik's throne. Nicholas Mellamphy, buying director for The Room at Hudson’s Bay (which carries Andrew's designs) told WWD, “Paul’s success is built on the product — the fit, the fabrics, the quality. He is the heir apparent to Manolo.”
3. His father was the Queen of England’s upholsterer at Windsor Castle, and watching his dad experiment with different fabrics and textiles first spiked Andrew’s interest in design.
4. Whether it’s expressed in python-heeled booties, suede-tassel loafers, or a twist on the classic pump, Andrew’s aesthetic is decidedly sexy — but never over-the-top.
5. He pays special attention to detail. As he told WWD, comfort is key. “The manufacturers I use are crème de la crème. I also have a special technique: I’ve added a hidden padding that has memory inside the insole so that you sink into this cushion when you’re wearing the shoes. I’ve also handmade the heels so that the instep and the arch are all in the right place.”