It’s warm and humid outside, and his London showroom doesn’t have air conditioning, but Alejandro Ingelmo somehow manages to look cool, clean and crisp in his white button-down shirt and tie as he walks us through his collection. His classic, slightly restrained, retro appearance is a bit deceptive, though. This is a man who makes shoes that ooze sex of the futuristic, rock ’n’ roll variety that appeal to megacelebrities like Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z, Madonna and Justin Timberlake. Women who frequent the mecca that is his New York store have claimed that his tall stilettos elicit visceral reactions like shortness of breath and heart palpitations. Lucky for you, his e-commerce shop will launch in a few weeks.
Has the fact that you come from such a long line of shoe cobblers helped your career?
Well I think I had a harder time. I went to Parsons and went in a totally different direction from my family. I didn’t get any help from them. My dad is proud of me, but he doesn’t understand what I do at all [laughs].
Are there any footwear faux pas you see on the street that make you wince?
I hate those platform shoes with the see-saw on the bottom. What are they called? They’re supposed to get rid of cellulite. But what’s the point of those things? They’re so bad, and they’re everywhere. And I know you girls like them, but Uggs are just Ugg-ly.
Are there any trends that you feel especially excited or bummed out about now?
I really wasn’t into the kitten heel at all. I’m like, either commit yourself to the high heel or just wear flats. The kitten heel is just not that sexy.
Do you think that shoes should make a woman look sexy?
I like for my shoes to make a woman not only feel sexy, but confident and strong. And it’s the same with my men’s shoes. When I wear the shoes, I want to feel sexy in them.
What are some mistakes women make when they buy heels?
Well, a lot of them should practice first. Don’t buy more height than you can handle. When a woman goes to the store, she should ask about the pitch of the shoe — that’s what really determines how high the shoe is. It’s not so much about the heel, it’s all about what’s happening inside. Make sure that the shoe can hold your foot in. You don’t want to be walking down the street with your toe slipping out.
You have a huge sneaker pimps following. The Tron style is very hot right now. Are you a big sci-fi fan?
Oh yeah. I had the Tron Atari game when I was young. It’s funny because when I opened my store in New York, I thought I’d have all women’s and just a little section of men’s shoes. But now it’s half women’s and half men’s. It’s fun designing for both.
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