Harrods is going behind the scenes — and bringing shoppers along for the ride.
Venturing into the workspaces of some of Britain’s brightest design talents, the luxury retailer hopes to shed new light on Rupert Sanderson, Antonio Berardi, Matthew Williamson and Alice Temperley through the designers’ muses.
Here, FN talks to Sanderson, whose muse is model and TV presenter Jade Parfitt, to find out how he brings his Brit aesthetic to life.
1. Harrods comes to you and wants to give shoppers an all-access pass to your brand. What is your reaction? What was important for you to show?
It was a great opportunity to show people how we operate as a brand and for them to get a feel of the atmosphere inside our studio. Harrods is a valued part of our business, especially now that it’s home to the highest shoe department in London!
2. What is your starting point with a collection?
I always start by thinking of how I can build on the last collection and what can be a joining thread between each season.
3. Where do you look for inspiration each season?
Inspiration can come from anywhere and everywhere. A lot of the time it comes from the materials themselves, but it can be anything from a work of art or piece of music I’ve rediscovered. Perhaps even a shape I’ve noticed in the street might inspire a new heel shape.
4. Your brand is very active on social media. Do you find inspiration on social media or are you purely using it to get the brand message out there, or both?
In the digital world we live in, it’s definitely an important means through which to convey what we are doing — whether it’s a sneak peak at the latest collection sketches, an image of a VIP wearing our shoes or simply a beautiful product shot. Bloggers are becoming more influential and building names for themselves using social media. A top blogger Instagramming your shoes, for example, can lead to them selling out in hours.
5. Describe British fashion in three words:
Dandy, Strident & Cool
6. You’ve designed shoes for London Fashion Week (specifically, last season with Antonio Berardi). Can you tell us about that process and about working with the designer’s collection? What are the highlights from that experience?
There is an understanding that Antonio and I have reached that ensures that our combined creative powers are more than the sum of the constituent two parts. Our collaboration style is a wonderful testament to the work and design principles of both houses.
7. What’s in store for your spring collection? What are the key style(s) in the collection?
Building on elements of playfulness, two of the key stories for spring are ‘Art Icons of the 20th Century’ and ‘soda caps.’ Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol and Frida Kahlo are made recognizable as people, as faces, through simple, charming, slightly naïve, bead-headed portraits on the shoes. And with soda caps I wanted to make something fundamentally disposable into something precious that could be carried across a series of different silhouettes.