With a new pop-up at Level Shoe District and plans to expand with store openings in Hong Kong, Rupert Sanderson is thinking big.
On a sunny day in London (that just happened to be his birthday), the luxury footwear designer told FN, “There are so many elements of the business that occupy my time.”
With three children ages 2 to 8, Sanderson starts his day early. After breakfast, he hops on a bike for his morning commute. The trip takes 25 minutes from his North London home, with a stop at a local café. “It’s how I get myself prepped for the day and get my headspace right,” he says.
Sanderson arrives at his office and studio above the brand’s Bruton Place flagship. “If it’s an intense period, I’ll be in really early,” he says. “I work with the rhythm of the seasons.” It’s the middle of London Fashion Week, and he’s just presented another runway collab with Antonio Berardi that will sell exclusively on Net-a-Porter.com. “We used a jacquard from his ready-to-wear [for a bootie]. The design has a gaiter feel.”
The team is pinning images to the inspiration board for resort ’15. Starting points include vintage bathing caps and a new embellishment of “cartoon-like watersprays” done in mesh and sequins. Also, an archival pointed pump and skimmer from 2004 will influence the direction.
Sanderson often lunches at Bellamy’s Bruton Place. “It’s a London institution,” he says, noting that Queen Elizabeth is also a patron. Sanderson’s usual order? Artichoke hearts with a pea salad or Bellamy’s famous coffee service with minstrels. “It’s a fashion favorite,” he remarks. Since it’s Sanderson’s birthday, the manager sends over champagne.
Sanderson pops into his street-level shop. “[It seems] our pointed flats and signature pumps in various heel heights have been doing quite well,” says the designer, who helped create the wood-paneled space. “We were pleased to have found this little gem tucked away in Mayfair.” Loud construction outside heralds a retail boom in the area. “I suspect when all this renovation is done, they’ll knock on my door and say we’re doubling your rent,” he jokes.
Sanderson signs the shoe box of a loyal customer. “It’s a small thing I’m happy to do if they would like,” he says, somewhat bashfully. The avocado-colored packaging and branding were inspired by one of his mother’s placemats. “I like that it’s an off hue and not too precious.”
“The most productive time of my day is from 4 p.m. onward,” says Sanderson. “It’s an intense burst where I really get moving.” He loathes overly long meetings and uses a large hourglass to keep things ticking along. “As soon as it finishes, the meeting finishes.” Other curiosities on his shelves include a novelty men’s version of last fall’s bottle-cap loafers and gilded platforms designed for “a great diva” in “Aida” at the Royal Opera House. “I thought up these man-crusher shoes,” he laughs.
Work ends a little earlier than usual today so Sanderson can join his family for a celebratory dinner.