Expert Eye: Kathryn Wilson

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A model wears a pair of Kathryn Wilson shoes. Photo / Supplied
A model wears a pair of Kathryn Wilson shoes. Photo / Supplied

Choosing to end her show with Beyonce's Girls (who run the world) seemed like an appropriate way to solidify local footwear designer Kathryn Wilson's girl power credentials when it comes to her brand and business.

As designer and director of Kathryn Wilson Shoes and Miss Wilson Footwear (a younger diffusion line introduced earlier this year), the rapid progression she has made since the former label's inception back in 2003 is astonishing.

Fast track to 2011 NZFW, closing the official Fashion Week show schedule with a much-hyped off site show that was free to the public, her ability to pull a crowd and win over her numerous sponsors only highlights the kind of media savvy and clever business acumen the designer has managed to discover over the years.

Last night's show highlighted a much bigger collection, and opened with a 20-minute video documenting Wilson's day-to-day running of the Kathryn Wilson brand, from shooting product look books and campaigns with local fashion photographer Stephen Tilley; to an inside look at one of her manufacturing facilities in China.

In a time where Chinese offshore manufacturing is giving local manufacturers a run for their money, it's admirable to see Wilson's willingness to be as transparent and up front about all aspects of her business to her customers as possible.

The show itself was high octane and camp, with models strutting out dressed in racy Pleasure State lingerie, ostrich feathers, leather gloves and heart tattoos, styled by Auckland based stylist Barry Betham; with big hair (creative directed by D+M Salon's Danny Pato) and equally full on makeup by Kiri O'Brien of M.A.C cosmetics.

Key pieces from the collection included burgundy velvet pumps, a pair of brown leather ankle brogue boots, 60s pony skin flats and a pair of monochromatic tweed pumps.

It was all the things women secretly desire: Mock croc, studded heels, patent leather and rich velvets, with Wilson choosing to challenge the ideals of what a sexy pair of shoes could and should be.

OUR ONE-WORD REVIEW: Sexy.

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