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When it comes to red carpets, Brian Atwood is as dominant a force as Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin. A former male model who started his design career at Versace, Atwood has a firm grasp on what kind of sex appeal celebrities like to exude every season — and he delivers, often creating custom footwear for his clients. And for this Oscars, the designer made a showing on the ceremony carpet, with his shoes appearing on the feet of Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga. Pret-a-Reporter had a chance to catch up with the designer to find out just how high Gaga’s platforms really were, not to mention why slightly more manageable platform stilettos will never die.
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Brian, you are the preeminent shoe designer for awards season — why do you think celebrities turn to your styles again and again?
I believe there are three reasons we are a red-carpet go-to. First and foremost: the designs. I always try to create shoes that make women feel sexy and glamorous, a feeling all women want for the big night (the sex is in the heel!). Second, I am not afraid of height. We always offer very high heels and platforms that give a statuesque appearance. And finally, I know that comfort is key. My shoes are able to be worn continuously throughout the night. We all remember Emma Thompson cursing about her stilettos which she eventually had to take off when accepting her Golden Globe. No one want to see movie stars walking around barefoot.
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You noted on your Twitter that platforms are indeed not dead! What is it about a platform that is always so compelling, no matter what era?
Yes, season after season there’s always a debate among editors and stylists whether the platform is in or out. When it comes to dressing Hollywood, the platform is key to making women taller. When a women is 5 feet tall and wearing a gown with a train, they need the platform to pull off the look. The key is to make a shoe that is super tall and that the woman is able to walk in and still look beautiful. You have to know how to keep proportions correct and elements that enhance the shape. That is where I work my magic.
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How high were Lady Gaga’s shoes? How do you get them that high — what’s the process in customizing?
Gaga takes it to a whole other level — literally. The heel on the shoe she wore to the Oscars was 9 inches high. We collaborate in advance and I take into consideration what she’s wearing and we come up with a skyscraper height for the shoe. She’s amazing what she can walk in. My favorite custom Brian Atwood for Gaga was the boot we made for her perfume launch. I love designing for Lady Gaga because I know we can pull out all the stops — and keep in mind that, with her, size matters.
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