Style | Diary of a Somebody

Nicholas Kirkwood – Day 2

Mechanical pencil in hand, the footwear guru works on shoe and shop designs while dreaming of an elusive holiday

Nicholas Kirkwood – Day 2

Image: Sophie Delaporte

February 20 2013
Nicholas Kirkwood

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

I wake at 7am. My BlackBerry alerts me to a 9am meeting that will take place in my studio on Mount Street. I dress quickly, throwing together my usual uniform of dark trousers, a plain T-shirt and my Balenciaga sneakers, which my mum bought me for Christmas. I currently only own three pairs of shoes (a possible aversion due to my day job), but this will certainly change when production of my first men’s line arrives in early June – I have ordered one of each of the six styles, but am most looking forward to wearing the black leather and navy suede lace-ups.

My east London apartment still bears the signs of my not-so-recent move, with a few artworks – namely the Keith Haring piece that inspired a capsule collection of exclusive styles with Swarovski – strategically sat against my bedroom wall but yet to be hung. I really enjoyed working on this collaboration; its profits go to the Keith Haring Foundation, a charity that I am supportive of because of its work with those afflicted by the Aids virus. The collection just recently came back from being on show at the Nakamura Keith Haring Collection museum in Tokyo. I haven’t been able to visit it yet but Japan is high on my list of places to see this year (although I said that in 2012, too).

My taxi arrives at around 8.15am. On the way to the studio I pick up Christopher Suarez, my business partner and brand manager, and we catch up on the business that has come through from the United States overnight, namely details of an upcoming retail store that we are looking to open in June. It will be my third retail store globally and although I can’t give too much away, the location of this one is going to be quite impressive.

We arrive at the studio for our morning meeting with architect Mehrnoosh Khadivi, who I have been working with for a few years now. She has come over to chat about final production plans for the Pollini 60th anniversary exhibition, which we are holding at the Museo Minguzzi in Milan this coming Saturday, as well as to discuss the layout for the new retail store. Mehrnoosh designed my New York boutique, as well as working on numerous Pollini projects; she has a great eye and understands my aesthetic.

We have been working on the Unpacking Pollini collection and exhibition plans since November last year, so it will be a relief and joy to see it all come together on Saturday. We only have a day to set up once we access the space at the museum, so there are a few logistics to flesh out, including the delivery of all the materials from London to Milan and the assembly of the construction Mehrnoosh and the team have worked on.

After the meeting, I head upstairs to grab myself a milky tea, one of many I will have throughout the day, and wander through the office space. We are well and truly outgrowing the studio on Mount Street, as the business has grown from a staff of four to nearly 20 people in just a few years. Plus there are heaps of current and archive shoes lining the hallways. I am working to pull together all my archive styles from my first ever collection, which I handmade in my flat when I launched in 2005. One day I would love to do a reissue of all of them, this time made properly in my factories just outside Milan.

The studio is underneath the boutique, so on my way out to grab lunch at The Mount Street Deli, I walk through the store to check in and see how sales are doing for the day. The summer collection has just landed in store and is going well, particularly with all the fashion folk in town on the final day of London Fashion Week. My store manager, Antoine, who spends his time between London and NYC, always has everything under control.

The afternoon is spent locked away in my studio – my design and production team often hole me up in there, particularly when I am on deadline for the season. My inspiration boards are filled with swatches of new materials, including feathers, samples of embroidery, rabbit fur and jewel-toned python, so after gazing around the room with my mechanical pencil in hand (I can’t live without them), I realise I must refocus. But just as I begin to sketch, a knock at the door interrupts me; I have to complete an interview question about how I spend my time when I’m not working. I reminisce about a trip to Bali in 2011 (one of the few holidays I’ve taken since launching my brand), and realise the next trip is too far off. My mother has tried to persuade me to go on a family skiing trip in March, but I’m due to go to Dubai while simultaneously trying to finish the pre-spring collection, so have asked if we can move it forward by a week.

By now, it’s definitely time to head home, so I hail a cab and call it a night. I’ve got an early morning flight to the factory in Italy to finalise the men’s collection.