Sophia Webster’s shoes are the kind that make an outfit. Actually, scrap that: They are your outfit. A favorite of those who dress themselves feet-first, Webster has truly become London’s First Lady of Footwear. Having trained under Nicholas Kirkwood and bagged a NEWGEN sponsorship promptly thereafter, she's among a very small class of designers who can convince editors to wait outside in the pouring rain, for a show that's just shoes. So, what’s all the fuss about? Webster's fairytale kicks first caught the fashion industry's attention back in 2011 for their perfect balance of wit and wearability; think butterfly-appliqué stilettos, bow-adorned booties, and neon-leopard print pumps with beaded toes that read, "Here comes the hot stepper." But things have changed in Webster's professional and personal lives since then, and the evolution of the Sophia Webster girl has changed accordingly. Since having her daughter in late 2014, Webster began producing sneakers and baby shoes — she tells Refinery29 she "hardly [wears] heels anymore." She’s also collaborated with Barbie, is opening her first flagship store in London next month, and has branched into bridal — which brings us to this season's corpse-bride inspired selection.
“This collection is totally inspired by my favorite 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 the models are embodying. Then, we have the corpse bride who, at the end of the film, disintegrates into butterflies"; she gestures at the dried flowers and tiny butterflies (of which there are hundreds), that adorn the cobweb-covered church interior. A darker foray than Webster's usual candy-shop palette, her fall/winter offering will still please any diehard fans. The staples — floral prints, embroidered leather boots, petrol-finish holographic butterflies, and stone-encrusted heels — still exist, as do her obligatory tongue-in-cheek clutches: "Drop dead gorgeous" reads one; "I myself am strange and unusual," another. The models, each with spike-y Deetz hairstyles, stand hands on hips in Morticia Addams-style gothic gowns in ruby reds and emerald greens, designed by Edward Meadham (one half of Meadham Kirchoff). But the centerpiece of the presentation is, of course, the model in full Halloween corpse bride mode, who stands in the pulpit clutching a beaded Victoriana clutch that reads, "Wifey for lifey." Pun very much intended. Good one, Webster.