Disney have been teasing us with sketches of Cinderella's iconic glass slipper as re-imagined by some of the best shoe designers of our time. From Nicholas Kirkwood to Jimmy Choo, Louboutin and more, the designers tried their hand at re-inventing the shoe ahead of the release of the film adaptation, out next month. If you follow us on Instagram (which you totally should, by the way) you may have noticed we flew to Berlin this weekend to bear witness to the unveiling of the lustworthy works of art - from shoes to costumes - ahead of the premiere of the film.
We spoke to everyone from Disney footwear director (what an awesome job that must be!) David Lee, costume designer Sandy Powell and some of the designers themselves. Here are eight things we learned...
1. Everyone was super excited to be involved
"The key thing was we wanted some of the best designers in the world, which we've managed to achieve," said Disney footwear director David Lee. And with a strong focus on variety, the nine final reinterpretations were exactly what he had in mind. "It wasn't about having a number of shoes that were all exactly the same -and you can see that they're not - it's an amazing collection of shoes; very true both to the individual designers but also very true to the glass slipper and Cinderella." Does he have a favourite? "You can't ask me that! That's like asking for my favourite child."
And the designers were equally as excited to work with the iconic brand. "As a shoe designer you're obviously going to be inspired by the Cinderella moment," said Jerome Rousseau. "It's a chance that you can't pass up." But boy was the pressure on! "It was very difficult at the beginning as the competition is quite fierce... Disney asked the most prestigious accessory houses to reinvent the Cinderella shoe," said Salvatore Ferragamo Creative Director Massimiliano Giornetti.
2. The shoes make the lady - and the story!
"The story of a shoe that can transform a woman into a princess was extremely exciting," said Massimiliano. "I didn't have the fortune to work with Salvatore Ferragamo but from reading his autobiography [I learnt] his desire was to transform every woman into a princess." And these shoe designers really love their shoes! "The Cinderella story is really about the shoes that took her somewhere else and opened a life, a future, completed a dream," said Jimmy Choo Creative Director Sandra Choi. "It makes everything okay," she continued, on the importance of having the right footwear. "If you've got the right shoes, you can go to the ball. I think if you don't have the right shoes you don't feel completed in your look. The shoes you're wearing transforms ones thinking from the way you act to even how you carry yourself."
3. The modern day Cinderella can come in many forms
'When I think about the femininity of Marilyn [Monroe], to me it's the idea of a modern day Cinderella," said Massimiliano. Meanwhile, for Jerome Rousseau the modern day Cinderella comes in the form of Gossip Girl actress Roxane Mesquida. "Roxane has become a muse for me," he said, of the French actress and model who has fronted three of his campaigns. "I would say she's a modern day Cinderella, I hope the shoe I make will fit her foot. I wish I was her prince, actually." N'aaaww! And of course *someone *was bound to mention Grazia fave Jennifer Lawrence. "I just think she's great," said Nicholas Kirkwood.
4. Designing costumes is a lot like designing a fashion collection
"I think it's impossible to design a costume without knowing who the actors are," said Cinderella costume designer Sandy Powell. But it's not quite as simple as just envisioning the characters. "[After reading the script] I start looking at images and compiling references and research material - a bit like fashion designers - you have to compile mood boards and all the rest of it. I look at a lot of fashion, a lot of period things; I also look at a lot of contemporary fashion, mix it all up then start thinking 'okay, what are these costumes going to be?'"
5. 'Good' is harder than 'evil'
"Doing the good characters are actually very difficult," explained Sandy Powell. "I tried to keep [Cinderella's] colours pure. With the stepmother obviously it's all strong colours, there's a lot of black but I didn't want her to be all in black - it's black with lots of strong colours, evil greens... I tried to use unfriendly colours on her even though they're the colours I love."
6. There were some challenges though, namely Heathrow security!
"I think probably the most challenging [part] was getting them through security at Heathrow [the night before the unveiling in Berlin]," laughed footwear director David Lee. "I had to unpack them all and security were basically like 'What are you doing with all these shoes!?'"
7. It's always important to dream
"All the designers are busy doing collections, we're all in the same game and we all love what we do but it's quite nice to actually get out of our normal work and dream of a character," said Sandra Choi. "It just makes me feel like 'ohh!' she adds, swooning. Nicholas Kirkwood dreams big and looks to the future, adding that the Disney character he'd most like to design for is the ever so iconic Cruella Deville. "It would just be so badass!" he says. "We could have chinchilla and all the wrong things on there, have PETA knocking down the door. It would be so un pc!"
8. Some of the key players aren't even all that big on Disney
"I have to confess I don't know many Disney stories, I'm not that big on fairytales myself," said Sandy Powell. "I wasn't brought up on them, I was more interested in Top Of The Pops and fashion." But, of course, many are and it's often the glittering footwear that's attracted them from a young age. "It's split between The Wizard of Oz and Cinderella," said Jerome Rousseau. "And both of them have great shoe moments! I find it amazing that these two great stories capture some of the most iconic moments in footwear. As a young shoe designer that loves glamour I certainly connect to that aesthetic."
***Disney's Cinderella is out March 27th. ***
***The limited edition Cinderella inspired shoes are available to purchase exclusively from Harrods. ***