Womenwear shoe designers such as Nicholas Kirkwood, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin have expanded their business into men’s footwear, bringing the razzle dazzle ostentation that defines their women’s work — glitter, studs and animal print — across the great sex divide.
What’s with all the flamboyance?
“I don’t think ‘flamboyant’ is the right word,” says Kirkwood, who actually made men’s shoes before striking it big with women’s wear. “It can have negative connotations. But I certainly think men are more adventurous and daring.”
The 32-year-old adds: “When you look at men now, they’re wearing more sneakers which are brightly colored and they want that in their shoes. There’s a breakaway from classic brown and black brogues.”
This, coupled with man’s greatest style persuader, the girlfriend, makes for a ready market.
“I heard from one store that a lot of girls were buying shoes for their boyfriends because they like the womenswear styles," says Kirkwood. "So business has picked up in that respect.”