Mood: Relaxed animal-print Antipodium maxi and moochi belt on a balmy Sunday morning. Havaianas compulsory.
There aren’t many New Zealand shoe designers of note out there, so I lamented the disappearance of Sarah Riley and her sexy stilettos from the local scene in 2008. She claimed it was a case of not having the financial means to fund her next collection due to a money dispute with stockist Trelise Cooper. The latter defended their position, stating that payment to Sarah Riley had been withheld on the basis that the shoes they received had been were not of a saleable quality.
The jury’s out on what happened. But it was a huge blow to Sarah, so much so that she could not continue business. It also highlights how difficult it is to be a shoe designer in a market as small as New Zealand. For the most part it’s cost prohibitive to manufacture locally, yet extremely difficult to control production quality offshore. It only takes one dud delivery to sink a business, and evidently in this instance it did.
Or did it? After a break of nearly 3 years, Sarah Riley pressed go on her new online boutique in January. The site showcases her comeback collection of embellished heels, flats and boots. There’s a plethora of textures and animal patterns going on – suede, frills and no shortage of her signature snakeskin. My favourite has to be the Koru heel in gold and brown (first up below). Elegant and original.
It’s always heartwarming to see someone bounce back after a fall – and it’s also great to see another (re)addition to the diminutive group of New Zealand shoe designers. Welcome back Sarah!