London-based designer Charlotte Olympia has made a mark with elegant heels that are go-to occasion wear for many stylish stars. And now she has ventured into new shoe territory by launching her first-ever collection of sneakers.
"My goal was to create an everyday staple that is glamorous enough to be dressed up or down," the designer tells InStyle. "It depends on the wearer. Some people feel very comfortable wearing sneakers with a dressed up outfit. It's very much an attitude."
The capsule collection, which lands in her U.S. stores and online today, is made up of five styles that come in both low- and high-top and she reinterpreted the classic silhouettes in luxury materials. Each model incorporates one of the brand's most popular motifs; for example, the Purrrfect sneakers and Purrrfect high-tops, available in leopard ponyskin as well as red or black velvet, feature Olympia's playful "Kitty face" embroidered on the shoe's tongue.
"The Kitty flat was initially designed for my fall 2011 'To Die For' collection inspired by Agatha Christie novels set in the 1930s," she said. "The idea was to create a shoe inspired by men's smoking slippers of the time, but more feminine and flirty. I turned the traditionally high cut vamp into ears and replaced the classic embroidered monogram with a feline face. The 'Kitty' is now a signature style and returns each season updated to suit the mood of the collection."
A gold metallic version of the designer's trademark spider's web adorns the Web sneakers (the children's classic Charlotte's Web "was a favorite of mine growing up and of course the protagonist shares my name," Olympia said) and they come in black canvas and blush silk satin. And if you want to send a message, a pair of luscious red lips on the toe cap stand out against the black or white nappa leather of the Kiss Me sneakers.
Olympia's motto is to dress from the feet up. "I believe that you can determine the day ahead by the shoes that you choose to wear on your feet," she said. "When I know I'm going to have a day out with my three boys I reach for my kitty sneakers, but when I feel like conquering the world I put on my highest heels!"
The kicks start at $560 and are available in stores and charlotteolympia.com.