“Freedom lies in being bold,” luxury footwear designer Brian Atwood told BoF, quoting American poet Robert Frost. “That’s what I started the company with – never compromise what you really love to do.”
Atwood loves colourful, sexy, statement heels. And in a little over a decade, he has built an enviable reputation as the go-to label for just that. His shoes are sometimes over-the-top and almost always vertiginously high. Multi-coloured snakeskin sandals are finished with leather lacing and a five-inch stiletto, while latticed suede platform heels are intricately dotted with tiny studs.
With their verve and unabashed sensuality, Atwood’s designs have also captured the hearts of red carpet regulars. Indeed, the closely-followed website Red Carpet Fashion Awards named Atwood Shoe Designer of the Year in both 2010 and 2011, a nod to his popularity amongst instantly recognisable faces like Victoria Beckham, Zoe Saldana and his good friend, the superstylist Rachel Zoe.
In recent years, the Brian Atwood brand has expanded in a number of directions. A partnership first established with The Jones Group in 2010 led to the launch of contemporary shoe line B Brian Atwood. A bag collection, featuring embellished minaudieres and crocodile hobos, debuted last spring. And after The Jones Group acquired a majority stake in Brian Atwood, last summer, the company launched e-commerce, jewellery and its first flagship store, on New York’s Madison Avenue, in quick succession, with a bridal collection on the horizon.
“I think I always knew I would be a designer,” says Atwood, who grew up in Chicago, in a houseful of women, with his single mother and three sisters. “My mother was always dressing and into fashion,” he recalls. “I loved the element of what it did to a woman, how it changed what she felt like and the perspective people had of her.”
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