How to approach a luxury brand relaunch? Paul Andrew, who is coming back in focus with his namesake collection after a three-year hiatus, is starting from scratch.
“There’s [very little here] that’s reminiscent of the past,” said the designer, who left his post as Ferragamo’s creative director last May, and has used the break to plot a new path.
“It’s been an amazing time away from the distractions of the day to day, and it made me think about what I wanted to do next,” Andrew said at Paris Fashion Week today. “I missed my freedom, and I’m excited to be doing my own thing again.”
Andrew, who is self funding the venture, is making a comeback with a smaller, more tightly edited collection aimed at a more fashion-forward and younger woman than he was catering to in the past.
For the designer, the thought process behind the collection relates to his childhood experience watching his parents at work. “My father was the upholsterer to the Queen at Windsor. It was all about craft, tradition, handmade, artisanship and all of these amazing tools,” he recalled. “Then my mother was working in technology and it was completely different. It was about innovation, thinking outside the box, what does the future look like. This is the culmination of those two things together.”
Andrew’s sculptural heels were inspired by the work of Jean Arp and Constantin Brâncusi. Some are fashioned in chrome, thanks to the designer’s partnership with an Italian sports-car factory. Others are embellished with hand-applied pearls, rhinestones and bugle beads.
Plexiglass wedges have bouclé upholstery fabric uppers, while other styles feature patent leather injected with glitter. The designer also introduced a special embellishment — gemstone studs made from coral and turquoise.
While the heel-heavy collection dovetails with the shift back to dressier, glitzier styles, nothing in Andrew’s collection is above 95 millimeters. “I’m all about empowerment and not crippling people,” he joked.
While a number of big retailers are already eager to stock the new collection, Andrew — who is also relaunching his website — is determined to do things his own way.
“I want to grow the business slowly and intentionally, and build quality relationships with people,” It is way [fewer styles] than I had in the past — less but better,” he said.