March 23 2011
As women’s shoes continue to soar in both height and cost, I’ve been on the lookout for chic, quirky, stylish, well-made everyday footwear. So far my stand-out favourite is F-Troupe, an independent brand that was started in 2003 by designer-owner Mick Hoyle, and which satisfies perfectly my desire for slightly offbeat English-eccentric glamour.
F-troupe mixes Victorian and Edwardian influences with a huge dollop of UK “street” style, although in fact I was introduced to it by a French stylist/photographer acquaintance, who always looks ridiculously chic in that perfectly groomed yet casual kind of way. Last winter, inspired by her look, I chose my first pair – shiny black patent leather brogues that have seen me through the past few months of daily walking around town perfectly. They are cute, attention-seeking in the best possible way, comfortable and lightweight, always elicit comments, and make one feel directional but not silly.
The new spring/summer collection continues on the brogues theme (F-troupe’s leitmotif is great boys’ shoes for girls, although they do boys’ shoes too), with a terrific blue suede and mesh two-tone lace-up (first picture), and suede lace-up flat booties. However, I’m particularly in love with its bow-fronted animal-print sandals, and have just invested in the Pony Leopard sandals (second picture, £105). F-Troupe also does heels, but not many of them; be warned, too, that the best styles often sell out extremely quickly.