Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Retail Therapy: Heather Williams

It's always nice speaking to new designers because they have great taste but success hasn't tainted their value logic. Shoe designer extraordinaire, Heather Williams neatly falls into that category. Her fantastic shoe designs for her brand, H. Williams can be found in Saks but Marc Jacobs isn't throwing dresses at her... yet!

Heather started her career designing sneakers at Reebok, where she earned her badges by understanding the architecture and core skeleton of the foot while making intricate molds. Her design prowess was fully realized at Calvin Klein where she was charged with directing shoe designs across the brand, from high to low.

The H. Williams shoe combines lux materials and fine Italian craftsmanship with a fresh take on the power heel. (Kicking ass is just a day job.) We thought it would be fun to catch up with Heather --who has quickly become one of our favorite new footwear designers-- and find out how she fashions her personal style on a new designer budget.

What's your most prized deal?
I love vintage shopping. I will buy anything from a size 26 to a size two and just have it tailored. In Milan, I found a $3,000 sleek and sexy Jil Sander shift dress for €200. I had the size 12 dress totally rebuilt. I took in more than six inches from each side. Mostly everything I own I have tailored.

Biggest regret that you didn't purchase?
I am not into all the whimsy of Moschino but I was shopping in the Madison Avenue store and happend to find a coat that I really loved but it was too big. I was afraid that if the sleeves were taken in, the coat wouldn't fit right. The sales person was rude and refused to call any other stores to help me find the right size.

It was a full priced coat, but because she was treating me so poorly, I left. My plan was to buy it in Milan but it was sold out. I really loved that coat but I don't like being treated poorly.

This season you are looking for...
I am trying to control myself. In the Summer you can get away spending a lot less. I like wearing lots of dresses because they show off the shoes.

What's your number one shopping tip?
Don't get caught up in trends. Know your body and buy things you will wear. If you're not sure of a look, go to H&M and give it a try. You will find out if you're going to get use out of it very quickly.

What's your biggest weakness?
It used to be accessories but since I started making my own its become dresses. I love the draping, the cut, the fit. I appreciate it all. Dresses and coats are two items that I'm not afraid to spend money on.

Is there an item for which a shopper should never mind paying full price?
Coats. A great coat can last at least five years. You should also always buy high quality leather goods. An educated consumer knows that cheap leather never looks good.

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