Brand spotlight Creating shoes that can hold their own against ‘the dress’ has been a lifelong passion for Emily Scarterfield. The designer’s bespoke wedding footwear is now in demand even among Royal brides and appointments at her Islington ‘Emmy Boutique’ are constantly in demand. Out On A Limb found out more.
How bridal shoes gave Emily a foot in the door EMMY Scarterfield studied footwear design at Cordwainers before going on to work for many of the most influential fashion houses in Italy, including Giorgio Armani, Bottege Veneta, Pringle and Mulberry. She returned to the UK to start freelancing for several fashion companies, creating new footwear and accessory lines, before deciding to launch her own collection. She said: “I was very keen to focus on my own designs – however, I had seen several of my peers bring out fashion lines that had been well received, but weren’t viable in the long run. “I wanted to focus on something more niche to make sure that I had an audience and that I would be able to create a long term business. “I looked into various options including children’s footwear, but at that time a lot of my friends were getting married and they kept asking me to help them find the right shoes.
“This also means a lot of them will choose designs in metallic leathers or subtle suedes that will match and complement the dress, but that can also be worn again.”
“I found that most of them were having to compromise as they couldn’t find what they wanted and was shocked by the lack of choice and variety available.
The chance to design a personalised pair of shoes has proved very popular and last year Emmy even created a pair for Autumn Kelly for her wedding to Peter Phillips, the Queen’s eldest grandchild.
“So by the time the third friend was disappointed in her search I offered to make them myself.” The company started out small with just five shapes in the range and Emmy came up with the concept of getting the brides to choose the different elements to make the shoe unique.
She has also been involved in several collaborations with wedding dress designer Jenny Packham and the pair are currently working on a new ready to wear shoe collection.
The boutique works on an appointment system and brides come along, usually once they have chosen their dress, to talk about the style they want. They can then try on different designs and heel heights and choose from the range of colours and detailing, and the final shoe takes 14 to 15 weeks to make. Emmy added: “Brides love this system because it is so open to interpretation – we can merge or tweak any of the designs, so they get the opportunity to create something really original.
“I think that bridal wear has evolved ISSUE 54 AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2009
Emmy added: “I now think that the brand is ready to move on to the next level.
dramatically over the last few years and the designs have become much more fashion led, however up until now I think that the footwear had been left behind, and that is what I want to change. “I think more and more brides these days know exactly what look they are trying to create and it really helps to have specially designed footwear and accessories.” Emmy’s design service is also very
popular with mothers of the bride and bridesmaids who are also looking for comfortable footwear. She also makes made to order clutch bags, which can be altered to match the shoes. She added: “Lots of our brides say that the experience of thinking up and designing the shoes is a big part of the whole wedding experience – it is a one off for most people and they like to have that indulgence.
“It has built up a following and has a strong, unique style, so I think the time has come to move more into the mainstream – we are established now, so we have the opportunity to take more risks. “I am hoping to introduce some of our signature styles, in a range of different colours, into ready to wear retail. “The project is still at a very early stage, but it is definitely the direction that I want to develop in for the future.”