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Well-heeled means a flash of gold

Updated: 2012-07-23 14:48
By Kitty Go in Hong Kong ( China Daily)

Well-heeled means a flash of gold

Well-heeled means a flash of gold

Where does individuality come in when major brands are selling almost identical merchandise in almost every major city in the world? How does a fashionable woman put her best foot forward, knowing she has something that fits right and stands out beyond colored soles or logos? Enter the fashionable London cobbler Rupert Sanderson, in partnership with retail entrepreneur Bertrand Mak in Hong Kong, who just may have the solutions for the savvy Asian woman seeking to express personal style. Last spring, Mak introduced a court shoe christened "Hong Kong", which is basically the brand's best-selling "Winona" shoe with an Asian fit, catering to the well-heeled women who patronize the Rupert Sanderson flagship boutique on chic On Lan Street in the city's Central district.

The Winona is a classic 4-inch court shoe with an almond-shaped toe that Sanderson himself hails "the perfect shoe". It was this shoe that sparked Mak's interest in the brand.

A year after the March 2010 opening, Mak introduced the Hong Kong with its exclusive Asian shape in beautiful colors, including a spring hue aptly named "Bertrand Blue".

Well-heeled means a flash of gold

"Selling a pair of shoes to a woman is an extremely personal service and we value every customer's feedback," explains Mak. "We managed to build a reservoir of knowledge and were able to gather that the feet of our customers are generally rather thin compared to their Western counterparts and that greater support at the arch is very desired."

While from a technical standpoint the construction of the Winona may be perfect, the fit was fine-tuned to requirements of customers in Hong Kong.

Like every pair of Rupert Sanderson shoes, the Hong Kong is named after a British daffodil. "An entirely new shoe form has been constructed for the style Hong Kong and every aesthetic element of the Winona has been retained, staying true to the original," said Rupert Sanderson.

This summer, the duo presented another Hong Kong exclusive, The Gold Collection, a limited edition of Rupert Sanderson classics with 23k-gold gilded heels.

This collection carries the Asian fit that was perfected with the Hong Kong shoe. It features elegant flats, classic court shoes in varying heights, sexy peep-toes and sky-high statement shoes.

Buyers can choose not only the iconic styles but options in materials like tulle and nappa, and unusual colors in patent leather such as navy, purple, bright red, pearl pink, fuschia, lilac, forest green and teal blue.

Every shoe is made in Bologna, Italy at a factory directly owned by Rupert Sanderson. There are over 120 steps that go into the production of a single pair of shoes, not including gilding.

It took six months before Sanderson and Mak were happy with the first prototype. The biggest challenge lay in finding a technique and lacquer that would be strong enough to protect the delicate gold leaves from scrapes yet translucent enough to keep the beautiful "leaf veins" visible.

Working with gold leaf is a painstaking process that requires specialized skills, extreme patience and a great deal of time. Needless to say, this "final touch of glamour" is performed entirely by hand.

Shaping the gold sheets on the heels, smoothing them while maintaining the "veins" and keeping the sheen consistent requires an experienced artisan.

Gold leaf has a precious nature and unique luster, Mak explains. "The gold heels act as a beacon of light, if you like."