Though Alexandre Vauthier might not be a household name just yet, his high-profile fans are just that. The Paris-based couturier, who opened his maison in 2009 after working under Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier, has whipped up titillating looks for Bella Hadid (at Cannes this year and last), Taylor Swift and Beyoncé.
In 2015, he expanded his collection to include shoes, enlisting help from footwear designer Amina Mauddi, who creates the collection with him and also moonlights as his shoe model. The resulting hardware and bijoux-spiked styles can be found at stores such as Just One Eye, Montaigne Market and Luisa Via Roma.
“I started [the shoe line] as an experiment, but each season we have grown by 30 to 50 percent,” Vauthier told FN during a recent visit to New York. “It’s a great extension to express my DNA. More than ever, shoes are the punctuation of an allure.” Below, he explains his head-to-toe approach to high-arch glamour.
You are known for your attention to detail. How does this apply to shoes?
“I work a lot on the stability. It’s important to have the girls walk very well on the runway. The arch must be right to make it super-feminine and chic. When I launched shoes, I did a campaign film of Amina walking on a treadmill in them.”
How did you and Amina come to work so closely?
“She is like my little sister. Years ago, she came to my showroom to try on clothes and then presented me with an idea of how we could do shoes together. It’s easy to work with her. We share the same sensibility.”
How would you describe your shoe style?
“Super-feminine, a little sexy, elegant and yet contemporary. I like to combine something couture with something a little bit sporty. It’s all about the mix. I am known for these high runway heels, but I also sell a lot of my sexy flats and combat boots. It’s well-rounded.”
When you first started your label, you collaborated with Christian Louboutin. What did you learn from that experience?
“I met him first when I was working with Jean Paul Gaultier on his couture. When I started my own company, I asked around to see who could support me with footwear for the shows. Christian said yes immediately. Working with him is an exchange of ideas. He is super attentive, precise and pays attention to all the little details. When I started to make my own shoes, he gave me a lot of encouragement.”
Why has your work resonated with such highly public women?
“I’m very surprised by what has happened. One day I could be dressing Rihanna and Beyoncé, the next Vanessa Paradis or Isabelle Huppert. They are all so different. But they all know what they want in life, are deeply honest and are real artists.”
Has there ever been a response to a red carpet look that surprised you?
“You never know what will cause a sensation. Last Cannes, when we were doing the fitting for Bella’s red dress, we were all so tired and thought it was just OK. But she loves to be sexy, so I worked on the angles so
that on one side she was perfectly covered and the other side, completely nude. It was a big moment for us and her.”
Of all your femmes fatales, who has been your greatest supporter?
“I have a particular emotion for Rihanna because when I started and had nothing, she was the first to wear me — and pay me. Since the second collection, I’ve worked with her a lot on album covers and red carpets. We’ve grown hand in hand, and she’s truly given me a chance to do my third and fourth collections.”