They're the shoes you just can't take your eyes off. Worn by the two most experimental style icons of the moment - Daphne Guinness and Lady Gaga. Of course, we're talking about the gravity-defying heel-less platforms that have become the edgy style statement of 2010.
After weeks of pestering, Grazia Daily finally pinned down the woman behind the shoes, designer Natacha Marro, for a chat. And today, the designer launches a pop-up shop and exhibition, showcasing her fantastical pieces in
Grazia Daily How did you get into making shoes?
Natacha Marro It was a long process! I grew up in Nice and St Tropez in
G.D. Well, you can wear whatever you like in
N.M. Yes, it’s wonderful. I’m 41 so I’ve been here nearly 20 years and I feel more English than an English person now!
G.D. Tell us about your most famous client, Daphne Guinness. How you she get introduced to her?
N.M. I think people she knew,
Dancers in Shoes at Sadlers Wells
G.D. And have you had the call from Lady Gaga yet, to make her some shoes?
N.M. Yes I have made shoes for Gaga. They were like split-toe shoes, a bit like hooves! I make Alison Goldfrapp’s stage shoes, she comes in with her stylist Cathy Edwards and it takes us ages to get what she wants, but she is very cool. I also make [cross dressing Turner Prize winning artist] Grayson Perry’s shoes. He is so funny. He comes in with a sketch of exactly the shoes he wants then I make them for him. He always says “Natacha I fancy this or that or I fancy some clogs. (for example) Can you make them?” and I always say “Grayson, why not?” and then make him the clogs or whatever it is. In the past I’ve made shoes for David Bowie and Grace Jones. Ooh, and there’s a dance revue on at Sadler Wells called Shoes! I made quite a lot of the crazy shoes for that!
G.D. Your shoes are toweringly high and quite kinky looking! How comfortable would you say are?
N.M. Ha ha ha! A lot of work goes into making the shoes really wearable as well as beautiful. The stability of the shoe is really important. They have to be strong enough to be worn by a drunk person walking down stairs! I use screws inside the heel instead of nails. Next, I use a really soft leather to go around the foot. If I am making a glitter or a fabric shoe, I always make it just a tiny bit bigger than the person’s foot so there is room for the person’s foot to expand with the pressure of walking on high heels. Finally, I use an orthopedic insole with lots of cushioning. The inside can take as much work as the outside. The higher the shoe, the more padding there is inside. Daphne once said she can play tennis in my shoes which to me is the biggest compliment ever!
G.D. Yikes! (mental image of Daphne rushing around a tennis court in a diamond encrusted kit and 7" platforms) Where are the shoes made?
N.M. I make every single pair by hand. I don't have a factory. Everything is done bespoke to the customers specification and the measurements of their feet. The prices start at £300, so compared to other designer shoe brands, I really don't make any money. But I do absolutely love my job.
Victim Fashion St with Natacha Morro. Pics by Kadi Wang
G.D. Can you tell us about your latest project?
My friend and collaborator Meihui Liu and I are opening a Pop-up store
or telephone 07951 160 181 Monday to Friday
- Naomi Attwood