WORLD and Number One Shoes team up

BRONWYN WILLIAMS
Last updated 05:00 31/08/2011
Karl Drury

We interviewed Francis Hooper of WORLD earlier in the week to see how their preparation was going.

wORLD
SHOES GALORE: Fashion house WORLD has joined forces with Number One Shoes on a new footwear collection.

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Mad, colourful and wild, New Zealand fashion house WORLD is coming to the masses.

The high-end boutique has collaborated with Number One Shoes to create a small but perfectly formed collection of women's fashion footwear.

WORLD Made Me Do It, the original women's footwear collection for Summer 11/12, will be available at selected Number One Shoes stores across the country, on Saturday September 3 - the day after the collection debuts on the WORLD catwalk at New Zealand Fashion Week.

WORLD showcases its Winter 2012 clothing collection on Friday night, coinciding with the New Zealand's Next Top Model grand finale.

The NZNTM finale will be screened live to air on TV3 with the final contestants walking in the WORLD show and wearing the new WORLD Made Me Do It shoe collection.

There are six styles in the collection: flats, heels and a boot.

WORLD chief designer and director Francis Hooper, along with his team Denise L'Estrange Corbet and Benny Castles, drew inspiration from female style icons.

Each shoe is inspired by and named after a different woman: Dusty Springfield, Annie Lennox, Edie Sedgwick, Nancy Sinatra and Grace Jones.

» To see Francis talking about the shoes click here.

Q & A with Francis Hooper, chief designer and director of WORLD

Bronwyn Williams: After designing garments for so many years, was it a very different process designing footwear?

Francis Hooper: Yes it was difficult, but in a fantastic way! It took me out of my comfort zone, I had to really push the team to think about the shoe. It is such a fetish!

BW: How did the collaboration come about? Who approached who?

FH : The collaboration came about rather naturally. Benny and I have been customers of Number One Shoes [for shows] for years and love the team at Botany Downs. We approached Number One Shoes as we figured they might be interested in working with a fashion house to develop a cool collection of shoes for the New Zealand market. There is a massive gap in the market for fabulous shoes at charming prices. Number One Shoes loved the idea and here we are!

BW: Did you have to learn the basics of shoe design before embarking on this project?

FH: Yes, we had to look at how the shoe is constructed. The Number One Shoes team really mentored us. As usual the WORLD team broke pretty much every rule in shoe making! Why can't we have a 15cm heel on every shoe?!

BW: How closely did you work with the Number One team when it came to the actual design aesthetic?

FH : We worked very closely together and I have to say this collection is a true collaboration. We understand each business brings something very special to the table. So we listened to Number One Shoes throughout, whilst adding our ideas to the shoes you see. It is really important that our shoes excite and intrigue BUT most of all fly off the shelves and onto the feet of cool Kiwi woman.

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BW: Did you have a particular audience in mind when you designed the range?

FH : Everyone interested in fashion!

BW: Do you feel that the WORLD for Number One collection is synonymous with WORLD's image, or did you feel like you moved in a different direction for the footwear range?

FH: Our brand is very strong, independent and colourful. WORLD has the character to mix it up with Number One Shoes, and Number One Shoes has the retail muscle to deliver our brand uniqueness nationwide. Collaborations are all the rage, don't you know? It's a smart brand that chooses well, it's all about relationships and the team at Number One Shoes are professional, focused and really really cool! We love working and learning from each other. Work can be fun!

BW: Where did your inspirations come from when designing this range?

FH : We love shoes and had been closet shoe designers for years. Our inspiration came from all over. Not the least from the runway - the WORLD runway, that is!

BW: On the subject of collaborations, WORLD has now become one of the many boutique and luxury brands in the world that has collaborated with a larger, lower price point brand (eg Lanvin for H&M, Proenza Schouler for Target, Marc Jacobs for Vans). This can be seen by some as "lowering the brand's value" and by others as making it "accessible to everone". How do you feel about this move?

FH : Not at all, it allows so many more people to enjoy our character, to enjoy our fashion point of view and also to be introduced to WORLD. We are a humble design team and we never assume everyone knows what we do, so in branching out and designing a fantastic collection of shoes with Number One Shoes we are able to introduce thousands of woman to our way of thinking. And next time they are out shopping they can come and visit one of our exclusive boutiques to buy our fashion too!

BW: Is this collaboration a one-off or something that will be repeated again?

FH : This collaboration is the start of something big! We will be working with Number One Shoes for several seasons, building an even larger collection of women's and eventually men's shoe ranges.

BW: And finally - Benny, Denise and Francis: What's your favourite style in the collection?

Denise: the Edie Sedgwick

Benny: the Annie Lennox

Francis: the Nancy Sinatra

- Stuff

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