On the Rise

Getting high with English designer Jonathan Kelsey. By Victoria Spencer
jonathankelseyportraitLouboutin, Blahnik, Choo—this trio of heavy-hitters have cornered the stiletto market and collectively turned a pair of soaring shoes into a collectible work of art. Plenty of designers have followed (literally) in their footsteps, but few have caught the attention of true-blue footwear fiends like UK designer, Jonathan Kelsey. On being dubbed the new 'British Louboutin,' Kelsey says, "It's flattering. And I think there's a similar spirit and attitude to how we design."
After studying and designing women's wear, Kelsey was asked to develop accessories for several London-based designers and found he had a real affinity for footwear. He went on to work for Jimmy Choo then started his own cheeky-chic namesake label last year. "Having total creative freedom is a rare thing," he says from his studio in London. "It's a challenge to set up, but in the end, it's very rewarding." In short time, the designer has also been sought out by other designers who want him to create shoes for their shows and collaborate with his cousin Stuart Vevers—now creative director of Loewe—on accessories for Luella. Placing an emphasis on quality, Kelsey uses the same factory that turns out blue-chip shoes for Chloé, Marc Jacobs, and Galliano.
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Kelsey's spring collection builds on the gothic glamour of his first collection last fall when his modern, intelligent designs beautifully revealed his love of 1920s architecture and his instinctive way with strong lines, rich colors, and sumptuous textures. "I watch tons of Tim Burton movies and love his drawings/cartoons. The cone heel I use also reflects a sharp and edgy look I tend to go for."
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For spring, he's brought us bold, sling-back metallic flats and sandals accented with oversized gold metal rings. This time, his signature cone heel is thinner and toes are slightly more pointed. Colors also tend toward the bold, featuring loads of rich copper, gold, and hot pink. Looking ahead, Kelsey has been pegged to design a capsule collection for English leathergoods label, Mulberry (set to debut in February during London Fashion Week). He also assures us that his fall/winter '08 collection will be "bigger, better, and darker." Not to mention, high.
For more information, go to www.jonathankelsey.com.
Getting high with English designer Jonathan Kelsey.
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