Award-winning shoe designer Sarah Zigrand has worked with leading fashion icons. Photo: Mike Zenari
As her spell as head of shoe design at Stella McCartney comes to an end (she is stepping down to refocus her career), Sarah Zigrand is still passionate about innovative footwear.
While engaged by Damir Doma in Paris, Zigrand was headhunted by McCartney five years despite having some trepidation about working with synthetic materials--McCartney has a strict vegetarian ethic. “Leather is my thing…the craft of shoemaking,” Zigrand says sitting in her home studio in Limpertsberg. “I saw it as a different challenge. We work with pineapple or coconut fibres and even mushrooms skins grown under pressure.”
Armed with a masters from the Royal College of Art, Zigrand has twice won the prestigious Manolo Blahnik award and has worked as head of department at Céline and Dries Van Noten. Shoe mania has died down since the heyday of Sex & The City, but Zigrand still travels regularly to the Veneto region of Italy which she says is home to the best shoe makers in the world.
She has also noted that all the young people coming through the industry have a sustainability ethic in the way they approach design. “They don’t even think in a different way, it’s incredible.” Stitching, for example, is an option that reduces reliability on toxic adhesives, she explains.
But the grand duchy has not yet moved to introduce fashion design courses into its further education. Which surprises Zigrand. “There are a lot of very creative people in Luxembourg, but they go away [to study] and then come back.” It would make sense to set up some sort of design school in Luxembourg, “because people have money to buy into design,” she argues.
Here are three trend tips Sarah Zigrand sees on the horizon for the upcoming season.