Lucinda Rose Constable • 3 October 2012

Karen Walker has forged a long-term collaboration with footwear designer Carrie Cooper, of label Beau Coops. The pair met several years ago and working together – like most good things in life – came naturally. They have been designing the shoes together ever since. The style is normally quite androgynous looking, even if it is a heel. Every Karen Walker fan has fallen in love with her great two-tone brogues and flat lace-up styles. SS2013’s styles combine a mixture of patent and pastel leather, all contrasted with a stacked wooden sole. Karen and Carrie were kind enough to divulge some of their favourite shoes and the inspiration for this collection.

Carrie – how did the collaboration with Karen Walker first come about?
I met Karen while I was working in London at 6. – a footwear studio that at the time was designing YMC, B Store, Eley Kishimoto, & Bernhard Willhelm. Karen’s collection was being stocked at our then Conduit Street B store. At that time we started chatting about the idea of putting a collection together. The timing seemed right later when I had launched Beau Coops.

How do you go about your design process each season?
With any collaboration the product (Beau Coops) translates its form to a the brief of another designer. So each season Karen briefed me in on her inspiration, and mood / theme they are researching. I go away with their ideas, translate that into a footwear version, then it’s a skype and email game of ping pong, as we bounce the options through until the collection is finished. It sounds a lot more complicated that the reality. In fact, it’s a really fantastic way to work for me.

What was your inspiration for S2013?
The two main draw-cards I took from Karen’s brief was to adapt a footwear collection using her prints, as they are such a huge part of her collection and brand. And also to utilise ‘fashion styling’ in footwear, for example the ruffles that are gathered and punched in leather to look like the garments collars.

Do you have an ultimate favourite shoe, across any of your collections?
We have just shown the latest collection in New York, Fantastique Magnifique and the style Titan in ‘Mint / Pumice’ is rather a fave, and definitely going into my Fall ’13 wardrobe.

Karen – What was your inspiration for the SS2013 collection?
1950s optimism mixed with all things celestial.

How do you decide what kind of shoes you want to style the collection with each season?
We start with the inspiration for the range, how that’s translating into silhouette, colour and materials. Together we go from there.

How come you think the collaboration with Beau Coops works so well for the Karen Walker brand?
I think our fans like the fact that the shoes manage to combine bravery, elegance and fun.

Do you have an ultimate favourite shoe, across any of your collections?
I always love the most recent collection best!