As long as five years ago, the actress Gwyneth Paltrow, a great fan of Antonio Berardi’s style of modern glamour, was spotted wearing one of his dresses with high-heeled shoes by Rupert Sanderson, a designer with an equally contemporary yet luxurious aesthetic. Now, finally, we all have the chance to try this high-octane yet chic combination for festive evenings, as a strictly limited edition of three styles of shoe designed by the pair.
The more formal possibilities of a synergy between the two occurred to Berardi’s long-term stylist and friend Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou when they were planning accessories for his most recent show. She knew – but had not worked with – Sanderson, so she introduced the pair and sparked a genuine partnership. “The enjoyment of working with Antonio is that it is a true collaboration – it feels like a meeting of minds”, says Sanderson. To make life easier, he took potential components such as heels and lasts to the designer, but the final creations resulted from sketches the pair worked on in his studio. Berardi’s previous show shoes had not been commercial, but the pair were so thrilled with these that they approached Net-a-Porter.
The shoes (from £795) are, says Berardi, “super-chic, sexy and iconic, completely different and exciting”. High-cut, with soaring curves, each style balances suede with PVC for lightness, creating a barely there illusion. Heels are high but not unwearable. The simplest style is in vivid cobalt blue (first picture), while the other two feature the kind of adventurous handworked trims that Berardi uses on evening dresses: pale gold beading and fine chain reminiscent of zips, on black (second picture), or complex, slightly art-deco Swarovski crystals (third picture). They go online on Wednesday November 20 and numbers are expected to be limited, but if you miss them, do not despair. Net-a-Porter has bought the full spring range, too, and the designers are planning on an ongoing partnership.