Shoe Designer Sophia Webster On Butterflies And Becoming An Author

3 min read

Ahead of her appearance at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature next month, luxury shoe designer Sophia Webster speaks to MOJEH about creating her first-ever book — one where footwear is naturally the focus

Just a few months before covid-19 lockdowns were implemented in the UK, British luxury shoe designer Sophia Webster embarked on a sketching challenge. On New Year’s Eve 2020, she set a goal for herself: to draw one shoe from her archive on her iPad every day, for 365 days. “Revisiting my designs from the past was like rummaging through a box of old photos,” she tells MOJEH. “Each shoe I sketched brought back its own memories of life, love, lessons learned and the entrepreneurial rollercoaster that I’d been on for the last decade.”

Oh My Gosh, I Love Your Shoes! is as bold as Sophia Webster’s designs

Sophia then added another dimension to the project — writing down her thoughts for each shoe. As she penned pages of reflections, it became evident that this project had sprung legs of its own, and would be best encapsulated as a physical book. 50,000 words later, she had a memoir, illustrated by her own sketches and photos of her favourite moments starring her sensational shoes.

Oh My Gosh, I Love Your Shoes! took two years to complete, and Sophia will be in Dubai this month at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature to discuss her journey creating it. The conversation- starting coffee table book flaunts a bright magenta cover with bold yellow text, and a photo of colour-coordinated stilettos and block heels inspired by one of Sophia’s best-ever performing Instagram posts: her shoe shelves. She tells MOJEH that to complete the 360-degree pink appearance, even the sides of the book — the ends of the pages — were spray painted in the same magenta shade.

The cover features one of Sophia Webster’s most-liked Instagram photos: her shoe shelf!

Reading about the designer’s career and personal life in her candid, colloquial tone is just as spellbinding as seeing the glorious photographs of her fashion week presentations and countless celebrity moments. One that stands out was the time when Oprah Winfrey wore her Coco crystal pumps to deliver an iconic speech honouring the #MeToo movement at the 2018 Golden Globes Awards. “It is such an important event in culture but on a personal level, as a female entrepreneur in a male dominated industry, the words really resonated with me,” says Sophia, adding that those shoes have since been donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture for an exhibition called Watching Oprah!.

One of Sophia Webster’s most iconic silhouettes comes adorned in delicate butterflies

But the shoe that has truly become a signature Sophia Webster creation is Chiara, which features her iconic butterflies — a marriage between sleek sophistication and whimsical charm. She once created exclusive colourways of these best-selling heels for Level Shoes in Dubai. “To me, the quintessential Dubai woman has this innate elegance and femininity that I love to design for, whether that’s sexy strappy heels or a chic pump,” says Sophia. Butterflies are naturally present, through images as well as witty literary devices, throughout the pages of the book, which will make a beautiful addition to the bookshelves and coffee tables of women who, like Sophia, appreciate the special connection that exists between shoes and storytelling. “Shoe purchases are often fuelled by feelings, and I believe that women use their emotions to accessorise,” says Sophia. “Whether it’s accessorising with courage, resilience or passion, your shoes tell your story.” Sophia Webster will appear at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on February 4. Book your tickets here.

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  • Interview by Hafsa Lodi
  • Images courtesy of Sophia Webster