There are certain shoe designers who are have been red carpet staples for decades, and their styles are classics for a reason. But this awards season, there are some fresh names who are hot on their heels (pun intended). The five designers below have created some of the most coveted and current red carpet shoe styles around, and this awards season, we can pretty much guarantee they’ll be having Cinderella moments on the feet of the many A-listers who love them. Below, here’s your cheat sheet to five of the hottest “shoecomers,” so you’ll be all caught up before the first star steps into the Golden Globes shoe cam.
STYLE PROFILE: NEIL J. RODGERS
The former stylist got his start dressing Anna Kendrick, who used to wear one pair of shoes for the red carpet and then change into one she could stand in for the rest of the night. His mission: to make one pair of shoes beautiful (and comfortable) enough to fill both roles. He launched his namesake line in fall 2016 and had his first red carpet sighting on Daisy Ridley at the London Star Wars premiere (above right). Her style, the Stella, remains one of his most popular and top-selling. Since then he’s been seen on stars including Viola Davis, Lucy Liu and, most recently, Octavia Spencer. Says Ridley’s stylist Petra Flannery, “Neil Rodgers shoes have a fresh take on the classics. I love his modern, strappy Mary Janes and clear-accented sandals.”
Q&A with Neil
What do you think makes the perfect red carpet shoe? The perfect red carpet shoe has to be beautiful and comfortable. It should complete the look rather than upstage it or direct attention away from the actress or the dress.
What was your reaction the first time you saw your designs on the red carpet? Thrilled! I was in a cab in N.Y.C. when I got the call. We weren’t even aware that the shoes had gone out to fittings yet.
What’s the most fun thing about designing a shoe for the red carpet? Imagining the look that it’s going to become part of and who may wear it. L.A. is home to the world’s best red carpet stylists. Seeing how they present runway looks on their clients in this context is really interesting to me.
What style are you most excited to see on stars this awards season? I’m excited to see new styles from my “Red Carpet Capsule Collection” worn, specifically the Brooke and the Lena. Both are chic, strappy sandals. The Brooke features some unique cut-out details while the Lena is a modern look on Old Hollywood glamour.
What’s the secret to standing in heels all night? Invest in a brand that builds in comfort.
What’s been a major moment for you so far? While I was idly perusing Instagram, I saw that Lupita Nyong’o had posted the Stella sandals on her feed. She had worn them the night before to an event. I was so surprised and touched – it was so thoughtful of her.
STYLE PROFILE: STELLA LUNA
The brand was started in 2006, but started to pick up major red carpet traction in the second half of 2016 – Reese Witherspoon, Nina Dobrev and Katy Perry all wore its sharp and sweet ankle-strap heels in November and December. For awards season, you can expect to see lots of the Stella buckle sandal seen on Michelle Monaghan last night!
Says Ilaria Urbinati, who put Dobrev in the brand’s crystal-buckled pump for the American Music Awards, “I liked the shoe for Nina with this outfit because the shape is really flattering, I find the little V on the front of the shoe to be really sexy and elongating. And the outfit needed a simple shoe, but I love that this one had the little sparkly clasp that went perfectly with the outfit.”
STYLE PROFILE: SOPHIA WEBSTER
The British designer launched her signature whimsical, girlie designs in 2012 and by that summer, had outfitted Chloë Moretz in her quirky Yayoi polka-dot sandals. By 2015 her designs were featured in London’s Victoria & Albert museum, and you’ve seen her crystal-studded Rosalind sandal (seen on Carly Chaikin, above) on Jennifer Lawrence, Blake Lively and Michelle Dockery. Her Mila over-the-knee sandal is a bestseller thanks to Kendall Jenner’s affection; other celebrity fans include Naomie Harris and Maisie Williams (not to mention Hailee Steinfeld, who wore the Nicole last night). Williams’ stylist, Harriet Byczok, explains the designer’s appeal thusly: “[Her designs] allow stylists to tear away from the typical plain strappy shoe, as she adds details like an amazing flamingo heel. With my styling I love using accessories to make the outfit unique to my talents personal style and Sophia stops the main focus being just the dress and adds something extra … My clients ask for something different and not too traditional which is why they love Sophia Webster.”
Q&A with Sophia
What do you think makes the perfect red carpet shoe? Nudes, metallic and blacks work well on a red carpet, with ornate details such as crystal embellishments. Anything that catches the camera flash!
What was your reaction the first time you saw your designs on the red carpet? So much excitement- to this day, it blows my mind to see A-list celebrities wearing my shoes!
What’s the most fun thing about designing a shoe for the red carpet? I design shoes to be powerful from a 360º perspective, which makes them particularly eye-catching from all angles for shoe cams at awards ceremonies! I really enjoy designing details to appear in unexpected places on the shoe.
What style are you most excited to see on stars this awards season? I have reimagined some of my signature red carpet favorites to offer something new this awards season, be it a different colorway or special detail. I’m excited to see these for the first time on the red carpet!
What’s the secret to standing in heels all night? Wearing a heel that is made well!
STYLE PROFILE: SARAH FLINT
The designer – only 24 when she launched her line in 2013 – saw almost overnight success when Heidi Klum, Jessica Alba and Blake Lively (in the Tara, above right) became early evangelists. She’s known for cool and comfortable flats, but her pretty, elegant heels have earned her major red carpet acclaim from stars who also include Mila Kunis and Shiri Appleby. The star’s Emma pumps are a favorite of Amal Clooney, and, Flint says, they are “amazed by the impact” Clooney has: “Amal is such a wonderful woman to have in my shoes because I believe she is the epitome of the Sarah Flint woman; philanthropic, successful, beautiful and always effortless.” And good for sales: “Since releasing the style, we haven’t been able to keep them in stock!”
Q&A with Sarah
What do you think makes the perfect red carpet shoe? I think the perfect red carpet shoe is elegant and standout but also allows the star to move gracefully and command the room.
What was your reaction the first time you saw your designs on the red carpet? I was ecstatic! The screen sirens and glamour of old Hollywood are among my biggest inspirations. To see my designs on women like Blake Lively, Mila Kunis and Meghan Markle is surreal.
What’s the most fun thing about designing a shoe for the red carpet? The red carpet is a true fairytale moment. I like to have fun with it and add a unique twist to classic silhouettes! It’s also the peak of luxury, I always incorporate the best materials and focus on beautiful craftsmanship.
What style are you most excited to see on stars this awards season? I’m loving the idea of jewelry for shoes, whether it’s a gorgeous Swarovski embellishment like our Luisas or a interchangeable shoe clip like our Harpers. I’m looking forward to seeing how the stars will push the trend on the carpet! Shoes can do way more than compliment an outfit- they can be the showstopping moment.
What’s the secret to standing in heels all night? My shoes are 100mm or under, keeping the look sophisticated and still wearable. Anything higher is torture, especially for a long night out. I also make sure the shoe is made with padding inside and have rubber islands built into the sole so there is no risk of slipping!
What’s been a favorite moment so far? I’ve been a huge fan of Meghan Markle for a long time because of Suits. We’ve had the pleasure of dressing her for a couple years right now. Seeing Meghan on red carpets and at events in Sarah Flint was definitely a highlight of 2016.
STYLE PROFILE: PAUL ANDREW
He’s a British designer with a truly cross-continental appeal; one of his most popular designs is inspired by the Chrysler building (another is his classic-with-a-twist Zenadia pump). He launched his brand in 2012 and was on the Emmys red carpet by 2014, and has had a steady stream of A-list fans (including Lupita Nyong’o, Gemma Arterton and Ruth Negga, above, and Maggie Gyllenhaal earlier this week) ever since. 2o14 was also the year he became the youngest designer to win the CFDA Fashion Fund award, and earlier this year, he was given the CFDA Swarovski Award for Accessory Design and chosen to be Ferragamo’s creative director of shoes.
Whose designs are you most excited to see on the red carpet this season?