Cultured Magazine

April/May 2016

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Since launching his eponymous shoe line in 2013, Paul Andrew has become a young, prodigious name in women's accessories, beloved for his luxuriant footwear in intricate jacquards, verdant florals and jewel-toned splashes. From color-blocked sandals reminiscent of Constructivism to his ultra-lithe stilettos in chinoiserie motifs befitting a grand English manor house, Andrew—who cut his teeth working under Alexander McQueen and Donna Karan—maintains that he designs first and foremost with an architectural precision in mind. "There is a utilitarian necessity to shoes, much in the same way as design," he explains. "So the challenge of the designer becomes one of both aesthetics and engineering. How does one position and cantilever a heel so that the balance and comfort are optimal but you're also able to execute your artistic vision?" While traditional decorative styles may seem to have a strong influence on the designer, Andrew finds himself compelled by the rigors of mid-century art and architecture. "It may seem a little anachronistic because so many of my recent collections have sprung from centuries-old cultures, but the shapes and proportions are all heavily influenced by this much more architectural style," he says. He is known to scour the site 1stdibs and antique stores alike for pieces from the great masters of that tradition: Paul McCobb, Harvey Probber and Paul Evans. His aesthetic at home reflects his ethos in his line, belying what one might expect from his often ornate appeal. "I look for pieces that are timeless, clean and masculine, generally in muted tones, and I'll accent these more minimalist pieces with textural rugs, pillows or graphic artwork, much the same way you'd accessorize a simpler outfit or pieces you wear every day with a statement shoe." He designs his homes the way he conceives of his shoes—a punctuation to the otherwise practical. One needn't look further than Andrew's most admired artist, Richard Serra, to be convinced. "His Torqued Ellipse series remains my all-time favorite works of art. Serra has an incredible ability to use sculptural form to make space distinct—the capacity to set space in motion," he says. Andrew actually has a small piece of Serra's hanging in the entryway to his studio, but he has higher collecting ambitions. "It will always be a dream to have the space to have one of his monumental sculptures." There is a rigor beneath the designer's exuberant visual appeal. "Many shoe designers are vocal about their lack of interest in comfort, but to me that's missing the point, or rather the challenge, of designing luxury footwear," he observes. For Andrew, architectural integrity is where the joy lies: "I find a great deal of pleasure in meticulous attention to detail." Designer and CFDA winner Paul Andrew digs deep, turning to his cultural heroes Richard Serra and Paul Evans for inspiration. BY MIEKE TEN HAVE PORTRAIT BY BILLY FARRELL GOT SOLE? " It may seem a little anachronistic because so many of my recent collections have sprung from centuries-old cultures, but the shapes and proportions are all heavily influenced by architecture. " —Paul Andrew © BFA.COM 136 culturedmag.com

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