Sophia Webster Talks Us Through Her Tim Burton Inspired Collection

Sophia Webster’s shoes are the kind of shoes that make an outfit. In fact, scrap that. They are your outfit. A favourite for all of us who dress ourselves feet-first, Sophia is truly London’s first lady of footwear. Having trained under sole-king Nicholas Kirkwood and promptly bagging NEWGEN sponsorship, she is now a household name in her own right. Her show is the only footwear presentation that will have fashion editors queueing round the block in the rain outside a chapel in Soho’s red light district at 9am on a Monday morning too. So, what’s all the fuss about? Sophia’s fairytale party shoes first caught the fashion industry's attention way back in 2011 for their perfect balance of wit and wearability; think butterfly appliqué stilettos, bow-adorned booties, and neon-leopard print courts with beaded toes that read ‘here comes the hotstepper.’ Things have changed in both Sophia’s professional and personal life, and the evolution of the Sophia Webster girl has changed accordingly. Since having her daughter, Sophia’s started producing trainers and baby shoes admitting that she "hardly [wears] heels anymore" herself. She’s also collaborated with Barbie, is opening her first flagship store on Mount Street next month has branched out into bridal-wear and…which neatly brings us to this morning’s corpse-bride inspired collection. We grabbed a very composed-looking Sophia for a quick chat this morning to talk about her latest offering, her darkest, spookiest and certainly most eclectic collection to date.
“The collection is totally inspired by my favourite Tim Burton movie Beetlejuice, and the character Winona Ryder plays, Lydia Deetz," she says. "She is the muse for the collection, that’s the character that models are embodying. Then we have the corpse bride, who at the end of the film disintegrates into butterflies.” We’re stood in the middle of a very busy chapel in the heart of Soho and Sofia's gesturing at the dried flowers and tiny butterflies, of which there are hundreds, that adorn the cobweb covered church interior. As editors crane to get a snap of Sophia’s full Halloween corpse bride model, who stands in the pulpit clutching a beaded Victoriana clutch that reads ‘wifey for lifey', Sophia continues: “I love butterflies, I’ve always used them. I love how they transform from a big fat caterpillar into a butterfly. I worked with this incredible designer Rebecca L. Law to create the set today. Really, I started with the venue; I found the chapel and I just thought, yes this is it.”
The collection, a darker foray than Sophia’s usual candy-shop palette, will still please any diehard fans; floral, embroidered leather boots, petrol-finish holographic butterflies and stone-encrusted heels, with her obligatory tongue-in-cheek slogan clutches: 'drop dead gorgeous' reads one; 'I myself, am strange and unusual', another. I ask her what her favourite piece is. “I like the rainbow-coloured floral boots. They took a month to make. We kept moving each butterfly, I’m such a perfectionist,” she says. The models, each with spikey Lydia Deetz hairstyles, stand hands on hip in Morticia-style gothic gowns in ruby reds and emerald greens, designed by Edward Meadham (one half of Meadham Kirchoff) which, in fashion-land, is kind of a big deal. There are also baby shoes amongs the six inch glittery heels. “Since I’ve been pregnant, I’ve designed a lot more flat shoes, a lot more sneakers in the collection. When you start a brand it’s very much about what you can afford as well. When I started I literally had two lasts (a shoemaker’s model) so I had a high-heel and a mid-heel and that was all I had to work with. I don’t really wear heels too much. I’m always in my Riko low-tops [part of her line] in the office.”
I have to ask Sophia about her playlist. As Kelela plays out over the speakers, I’m reminded of Sophia’s well-documented love of grime and garage music. “I listen to Rinse FM when we’re designing, they’ve got a great afternoon drive-time show. Also a lot of Kali Uchis, who actually modelled in my Barbie collection. I love her music, she’s so talented. Jhene Aiko. I love listening to 90’s r’n’b as well. I’ll get Kisstory on in the studio - some old garage classics!” So will she be partying tonight? “I’ll go home and see my little girl. It’s funny. I’m quite relaxed now. I got to bed last night at a reasonable time last night too”

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