When the English-born New York-based designer Paul Andrew was made creative director at Salvatore Ferragamo in 2019—a promotion from his previous three years’ responsibilities there—he elected to shutter his eponymous shoe brand whose buzz had attracted the historic Italian house in the first place. He’d launched Paul Andrew in 2012, and in 2014 became the first footwear designer to win the CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund, but there was just too much work to do in Florence.
Now Paul Andrew the man and Paul Andrew the brand are back in New York. Nearly a year after his exit from Florence and Ferragamo, Andrew started this week to host the first few appointments to reveal his comeback collection. And next week he will travel to Paris to host editors there.
“My experience at Ferragamo has taught me so much, on so many levels,” he said on a call. “And the time I’ve had to think and reflect since leaving last May has given me the chance to plan how I want to spend my time and energy going forward, and what the market needs right now.”
The result is a concise collection of sleekly structural footwear. It reflects Andrew’s minimalist modernist sensibility and explores the discourse between tech and craft that comes naturally to him: his mother worked in the computer industry and his father was a furniture restorer to the British royal family. Of the pieces, Andrew said: “They’re not exactly party shoes, but they are shoes you’d want to go out in.”
Andrew’s recently deepened expertise in the world that is Italian manufacture has led him to work with some interesting new partners. Brancusi-inspired heels have a galvanized chrome metal finish applied by a sports car manufacturer—“I love this idea that they look like a Ferrari,” said Andrew. These are sometimes presented with hand-applied rhinestones, pearls and bugle beads for extra oomph. Hand poured plexiglass, injected rubber, and boucle sourced from a supplier of furniture fabrics also used by his father’s royal employer combine to make some striking open wedges.
Only one design, said the designer, is revived from Paul Andrew’s first period of operation. “Or at least it’s the one style that is sort of similar. It’s a peep-toed mule that Lauren Santo Domingo, who used to be a great customer and friend of the brand, had like ten of in different colors,” said Andrew. “And every time she’d wear them we’d get messages asking us for them—so I thought that was definitely worth reviving.”