Designer Dispatch: Ivy Kirzhner on Her Eponymous Shoe Line

Get to know one of our favorite on-the-rise shoe designers.

For our latest Designer Dispatch, we met with the wonderfully talented shoe designer Ivy Kirzhner. Ivy, who was born in the Philippines and moved to the states at the age of 7, comes from a family of artists, most with a penchant for all-things fashion, so its no wonder Ivy gravitated to her calling at the age of 15. She established her own brand at the tender age of 30 after having hit the ceiling perhaps a little too fast after working at places like Steve Madden, BCBGMAXAZRIA and Herve Leger. Without question, Ivy’s shoes have a very distinct look, one that’s all her own. She touches upon new silhouettes and has a knack for utilizing the most unexpected materials. Believe that in an Ivy Kirzhner design, you’re bound to get noticed. The designer invited SaksPOV to her very charming Soho studio to check out all her collections and to talk design.

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Shoe Designer Ivy Kirzhner

SAKSPOV: Was shoe-design always in your purview?

IVY KIRZHNER: I went to the FAME school and after that I did my two–year shoe training at FIT and the rest is history. I have family in fashion. Two of my older sisters are running this cute children’s-wear empire, I have an uncle that’s a big couturier in Asia and all my aunts are fashionistas – my dad is an architect and engineer – so I’ve always been surrounded by fashion. I always wanted to do something architectural.

Designer-Dispatch-Ivy-Kirzhner-Fan-Back-Calf-Hair-Pumps

Gorgeous From Every Angle

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For our latest Designer Dispatch, we met with the wonderfully talented shoe designer Ivy Kirzhner. Ivy, who was born in the Philippines and moved to the states at the age of 7, comes from a family of artists, most with a penchant for all-things fashion, so its no wonder Ivy gravitated to her calling at the age of 15. She established her own brand at the tender age of 30 after having hit the ceiling perhaps a little too fast after working at places like Steve Madden, BCBGMAXAZRIA and Herve Leger. Without question, Ivy’s shoes have a very distinct look, one that’s all her own. She touches upon new silhouettes and has a knack for utilizing the most unexpected materials. Believe that in an Ivy Kirzhner design, you’re bound to get noticed. The designer invited SaksPOV to her very charming Soho studio to check out all her collections and to talk design.

Designer-Dispatch-Ivy-Kirzhner-designer-portrait

Shoe Designer Ivy Kirzhner

SAKSPOV: Was shoe-design always in your purview?

IVY KIRZHNER: I went to the FAME school and after that I did my two–year shoe training at FIT and the rest is history. I have family in fashion. Two of my older sisters are running this cute children’s-wear empire, I have an uncle that’s a big couturier in Asia and all my aunts are fashionistas – my dad is an architect and engineer – so I’ve always been surrounded by fashion. I always wanted to do something architectural.

Designer-Dispatch-Ivy-Kirzhner-Fan-Back-Calf-Hair-Pumps

Gorgeous From Every Angle

Fan-Back Calf Hair Pumps

So if you had wanted to become a doctor you would’ve been the black-sheep of the family.

IVY: Totally. They’d be like “Where did you come from?” I wanted to do something that was fashion-related, but was technical, engineer-driven and something that really opens up a more cerebral aspect of my creativity. I’ve known I wanted to do shoes since I was about 15 years old.

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Ivy Kirzhner’s Soho Offices

Do you ever tackle things you hate, design-wise, as a way of conquering fears?

IVY: There are challenges. There’s not a lot of things I hate. There are principles I don’t like. We used to use fur and shearling and as I learned more about it – I told myself – no, we can’t use “fur” fur. Also, principles – there’s something wrong with overpriced plastic shoes. It’s been a big trend for the past few seasons and I think there’s something seriously wrong with that. It’s plastic, you guys. Why are you paying thousands of dollars for plastic? To me that’s insane. One of the biggest reasons I started this business is that I saw the void for a product that is very well made and built with a lot of integrity – but I don’t plan to cheat you with my prices.

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Gotta Have a Tough Skin

Velentin Mixed Media Studded Calf Hair & Leather Cutout Sandals

Who is the Ivy Kirzhner woman?

IVY: I have a specific girl in mind, I see her all around me and I love her to death. She’s my muse and I follow her around, but I also have to preempt her. I like to think she’s very cultured and passionate about arts and culture. She loves to dress up and travel and integrate motifs and artifacts she picks up from her travels into her lifestyle.

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Edison Bulbs for Days

Is there a particular Ivy Kirzhner calling-card in your shoe designs?

IVY: I love metal, so you’ll see a lot of metallic elements. I love using not-so-traditional components in shoes, like cabashaw and Austrian crystals in my embellishments. The inspiration for spring 2015 has a Moroccan/Tunisian elements to it. A North-African vibe. I really try to explore a different region of the world for each collection. I concentrate, I study the fabrics, weaving-techniques. I always use weaving in my collections, but because of the regions I explore, the type of weaving is different each time.

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Tipped in Gold

Aguila Leather Embellished Ankle Boots

Do you make it a point to wear your own shoes?

IVY: All the time. The only other shoes I wear that aren’t mine are sneakers, I wear Converse all the time. I have to study my shoes so I have to constantly test them out. I have to see how they fit and how relevant they are with a typical woman’s wardrobe. To me it’s important to be able to see that.

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Ivy Kirzhner and Company

When you expand your business, where do you foresee yourself taking it?

IVY:  I don’t want to dive into the apparel market because so many talented people that are already doing a phenomenal job at it. Buy the shoes from me, buy the clothes from them. I kind of want to get into lifestyle more than anything. I’d probably do candles or maybe champagne. Collaborate with the Coppolas and their winery. Handbags? No. I’ll buy that from the other guys.

Get your Ivy Kirzhner shoe fix at Saks.com.


The Making of Christian Louboutin’s ‘Ballerina Ultima’

Watch how the Louboutin atelier brings a work of art to life.

If you caught David Lynch’s surrealist video for the launch of Rouge Louboutin Nail Colour last week, you probably noticed a particular moment in the film where the spiked heel of the ballet-inspired Ballerina Ultima shoe and a circular swatch from the red of the sole separated to create the already iconic nail varnish. If the message wasn’t clear enough, Rouge Louboutin Nail Colour’s groundbreaking packaging was inspired by the Ballerina Ultima shoe, the tallest heel Christian Louboutin ever created. Brings to mind that universal credo: “The higher the heel, the closer to heaven.” Take a glimpse at stills from the overall made-to-measure process in the designer’s French atelier and watch the video after the jump to see how Christian Louboutin’s artisans create one of the designer’s best know “objets d’art” in twelve steps: Forme, Patronage, Coupe, Shaping, Pattern, Cutting, Piquage, Stitching, Montage, Assembling, Bichonnage, Finishing Touches.

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Forme: First things first: The wooden form of the Ballerina Ultima.

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If you caught David Lynch’s surrealist video for the launch of Rouge Louboutin Nail Colour last week, you probably noticed a particular moment in the film where the spiked heel of the ballet-inspired Ballerina Ultima shoe and a circular swatch from the red of the sole separated to create the already iconic nail varnish. If the message wasn’t clear enough, Rouge Louboutin Nail Colour’s groundbreaking packaging was inspired by the Ballerina Ultima shoe, the tallest heel Christian Louboutin ever created. Brings to mind that universal credo: “The higher the heel, the closer to heaven.” Take a glimpse at stills from the overall made-to-measure process in the designer’s French atelier and watch the video after the jump to see how Christian Louboutin’s artisans create one of the designer’s best know “objets d’art” in twelve steps: Forme, Patronage, Coupe, Shaping, Pattern, Cutting, Piquage, Stitching, Montage, Assembling, Bichonnage, Finishing Touches.

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Forme: First things first: The wooden form of the Ballerina Ultima.

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Cutting: Once everything has been measured and sized to create the perfect pattern, the cutting process can begin.

 

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Assembling: Creating an “objet d’art” involves plenty of not-so-glamorous work. Pulling, ripping, nailing and hammering down all goes into creating an iconic figure.

 

Christian-Louboutin-Ballerina-Ultima-Atelier-Bichonnage

Bichonnage: Right before putting on the finishing touches, the Ballerina Ultima demands time for a little ‘bichonnage’ – namely, a chic French way of saying “sprucing up”, which this ultra-high heel is all about.

 

The Making of the Ballerina Ultima

Bask in the wonders that abound in the world of Christian Louboutin.


Tabitha Has Us Bewitched!

Photographed by Phillip Angert  Tabitha Simmons stopped by Saks Fifth Avenue on Tuesday to meet with clients and talk about one of our favorite subjects:  shoes. American Express and Saks hosted a private breakfast with the British Fashion Award-winning shoes designer and fashion stylist on Tuesday, followed by a tour of Shoe Obsession, the stunning shoe exhibition at The Museum at FIT. We took the opportunity to ask the woman who wears many hats — err, shoes, rather — about spring style. SaksPOV: It’s 830 am, and you seem fairly chipper… Tabitha Simmons: I wake up every day at 6am to get my kids ready for school, so this isn’t early for me at all! SaksPOV: And it finally feels like springtime in New York….

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Photographed by Phillip Angert 

Tabitha Simmons stopped by Saks Fifth Avenue on Tuesday to meet with clients and talk about one of our favorite subjects:  shoes. American Express and Saks hosted a private breakfast with the British Fashion Award-winning shoes designer and fashion stylist on Tuesday, followed by a tour of Shoe Obsession, the stunning shoe exhibition at The Museum at FIT. We took the opportunity to ask the woman who wears many hats — err, shoes, rather — about spring style.

SaksPOV: It’s 830 am, and you seem fairly chipper…
Tabitha Simmons: I wake up every day at 6am to get my kids ready for school, so this isn’t early for me at all!

SaksPOV: And it finally feels like springtime in New York. What is your favorite part of spring?
T.S.: The warm weather, absolutely! 

SaksPOV: What will you be wearing this spring? Do you have any favorite styles from your collection in mind?
T.S.: I’m just so excited to be able to wear lighter shoes. I’ve been in boots and ankle boots for so long now. I’m going to wear these striped oxfords a lot!

SaksPOV: What is it like when you meet with customers?
T.S.:  It’s the greatest thing, honestly. I used to work at a shoe store — it was my first Saturday job. I love seeing what people like.

SaksPOV: What do you think when you see someone wearing your shoes?
T.S.: I still get excited! When I see someone wearing my shoes on the street, I accost them and say, “I made those shoes!”

From left to right: Tabitha Simmons with Deb Curtis from American Express and Saks Fifth Avenue President Ron Frasch.

Tabitha Simmons shoes on display at 10022-SHOE

 

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See more photos from the event in the gallery. Which Tabitha Simmons shoes will you be buying this season? Tell us in the comments.