Eileen Shields, Irish by birth though decidedly New York in her blend of romance and pragmatism, has been designing covetable footwear under her namesake line since 2004. Her aesthetic is pure whimsy which she often tempers with hard elements like architectural heels and masculine shapes. She's been collaborating with Maria Cornejo on shoes for Cornejo's Zero line since spring 2008 and we've been coveting the beauties on Cornejo's runways ever since.
Based in New York now, Shields takes much of her inspiration from the city's streets.
TT: Your shoes have such a New York sensibility- New York glamour with a distinctly modern twist.
Has living and working in influenced your design process?
ES: I’m often obsessed with how the city influences every line and curve of every pair of shoes I design. New York has that old world historical, iconic feel and that deconstructed sophistication is always the essence of each collection. I always wish my press releases could just read “New York” but then we’d have nothing more to write about would we!
TT: Any particular areas of the city that you go to for inspiration?
ES: Downtown as always! Tiny boutiques, the Lower East Side, music venues and festivals (music people wear the coolest combinations). All Points West had an incredible panoramic feel!
TT: Post New York fashion week, once again, everyone buzzed about "It" shoes. Do you believe women are more willing than before to throw down for a great pair of stilettos?
ES: I don’t think they are as guilty as they used to be. An investment in great shoes is worth so much more than ten pairs of poorly made trendy pieces that get thrown out at the end of the season. Getting excessive amounts of product doesn’t actually make you feel good, but the perfect piece is like getting great, fresh food! You know you are worth it.
TT: What is your "must" from your Fall 2010 collection?
ES: Cut-out short ankle stiletto bootie (ed note: pictured at left) or Knee-hi Stretch Nappa in Black.
TT: How has your collaboration with Maria Cornejo progressed over the past few seasons? Will you continue working with the designer?
ES: More on that to come but Spring 2010 was the best season we did. I love love love the Half Boot called TATE.
TT: Tell us about some trends you see emerging in footwear that you love?
ES: Comfort, simplicity, beautiful textures, wood heels, lower heels, no platforms.