Neil J. Rodgers is bring- ing his red-carpet secrets to the shoe world. The L.A.-based stylist-turned-designer has launched a namesake footwear label for fall ’16 with a chic and modern interpretation of elegance.
“I love working with fashion, particularly shoes,” said Rodgers, who has dressed big-name stars such as Beyoncé and Anna Kendrick. “When I first started as a fashion assistant in London in the early 1990s, I visited the Manolo Blahnik store on Old Church Street and was mesmerized by the creations. I’d never seen shoes as beautiful as that.”
And footwear has continued to be an essential focus for him. “As a stylist, whether I’m building a look for an editorial shoot or a red-carpet appearance, I feel strongly that shoes are key in defin- ing and bringing a look together,” Rodgers said. “I want to create shoes that complement a woman’s cloth- ing, rather than upstage it.”
His collection of minimalist looks is produced in Italy and priced from $575 to $1,050. For spring ’17, he has turned to nature for inspiration.
“I imagined a heightened-reality version of a fantastical garden, inhabited by exotic creatures living among vividly colored flora and fauna,” Rodgers said. “I used that environment as the starting point for my color and material plans.”
His design style is already striking a chord. The brand’s first celebrity placement was a major one — on actress Daisy Ridley at the “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens” London premiere last winter. Since then, Rodgers’ looks have been spotted on Mila Kunis, Sofia Vergara, Lucy Liu and other stars.
“As a stylist living in Los Angeles, it gives me such a thrill to see my designs come to life on the red carpet,” he said.
Rodgers is now looking for retail placement for the brand and gearing up to launch an e-commerce site for fall. He believes the brand can stand out by sticking to one core idea: that less is more. “The temptation is to increase the volume by adding extra detail, material or color,” Rodgers said. “One of my key points of difference is that I resist that temptation.”