Hands up WHO LOVES SHOES? You’re not alone, obviously not. Even I, a committed bag-a-holic, lose my mind over a pair of spectacular stilettos or batch of brilliant boots. Today I’m going to wax lyrical about the latest creations from a company that’s been beloved of high heel addicts since the the 1950s, Pollini. Masterminded by the footwear extraordinaire that is Nicholas Kirkwood since 2010, the label is well and truly on fire right now and their SS14 collection is a true testament to the power of a heritage brand revamped. What with frost on the ground and Christmas on our minds, it seems a little crazy to be thinking about next Summer already. But that’s fashion for you dahhhling. TBH most designers are probably almost done thinking about SS15 (!!) but I’m not going to boggle my own brain by even contemplating that. Instead let us contemplate the marvels that are these Pollini designs, after all they’ll start arriving in the early months of next year.
In my opinion, one never needs an excuse to ogle really fab shoes (or bags… or coats… or clothes in general really) but in case you do, listen up. This isn’t just a collection, it’s the Pollini 60th Anniversary collection. Ok, that would have sounded infinitely more dramatic had M&S not used the phrase in one of it’s kinda-cringe-yet-seriously-enticing adverts but still, you get my drift. And it’s a milestone well worth celebrating. Spending the past two and a bit years studying Fashion History and Theory at Central Saint Martins has taught me many things. The technical terms for each part of a Tudor Nobleman’s dress for one (although I’ve forgotten that now), how to use the Harvard Referencing System (well, ish) for another. An area I’ve found particularly fascinating is that of traditional artisan craftsmanship and how some of these original, pre LVMH luxury brands have managed to adapt their legacy of time tested techniques and in-house production to the 21st century. In an age of faster than fast fashion, live streaming, pre ordering and pre collections it seems almost impossible to conceive that the bespoke, handmade approach that clothed and shod the Olivia Palermos and Mira Dumas or yore could possibly still exist, let alone remain a viable business model. But, somehow and sometimes they do, Pollini is a prime example. Fusing the artisanal skill, flawless quality materials and painstaking attention to detail that brought about the company’s success in the 50s and 60s with the bold, boundary pushing style of Nicholas Kirkwood has resulted in this Italian heritage brand being one of the most coveted in fashion right now.
Every pair of Pollinis is manufactured in Italy but with a hearty dose of devil may care London experimentation, making for a heady blend of luxury and innovation that’s quite frankly impossible to resist. Take the aforementioned SS14 collection; Nicholas Kirkwood looked to iconic British figures from the seventies to give his designs an androgynous, retro allure. We all know retro can get boring but Kirkwood deftly sidestepped the dull factor by keeping things fresher-than0fresh with fruity hues ranging from ice whites and Klein blues to eye popping shades of coral, peach, lilac and primary yellow all paired back with pearl and lacquer finishes as well the brands signature metal detailing. As previously mentioned, craftsmanship and quality are integral to the Pollini DNA and the relevance of these time tested values today are clear to see in this collections masterful use of exquisite materials. Patent leathers, coloured python and printed calf are combined with plasticised woven fabrics, manipulated into leather fringing or panelled together to concoct bewitching textures you can’t held but want to touch.
This juxtaposition of old and new, tradition and fearless modernity, impeccable taste and in-your-face is what makes me fall in love with fashion all over again… In fact, it just did.
Love Ella. X