N.D.C. made by hand, a Belgian line on our close watch for the last few seasons, continues to captivate with their distressed sensibility. The worn-in theme ruled at Premiere Classe for several seasons, and while others have moved on to capture fleeting trends, N.D.C. have stuck to this design sense, creating subtle tweaks to avoid static.
The label, which stands for nom de code, comes from Enrique Corbi and Arnaud Zannier, friends and veterans of the footwear business who’ve worked collectively over ten years in design and marketing for Kickers, Catepillar, Paul Smith and Stride. Since 2001, the duo’s own line has offered handmade shoes for men and women, with an emphasis on classics. Brogues and oxfords have beautiful patinas — they appear to have aged over time — and look as though they’ve been folded and sat on for a malleable, pliable effect. The leathers and suedes are baby’s-bottom soft; try them on and it’s comfort beyond. The freshness is not only in quality; the line is subtly experimenting with materials that sit well with their lived-in theme. For fall, their pointy-toed Oxford Gullit and Oxford Kristal series come in a super modern-looking metallic sheen of gold, bronze and purple, and in mustard and black patent leather. They look crushed, wrinkled and gorgeous.
Nicholas Kirkwood, a two-season-old London-based designer, was the buzz among buyers and editors for a focused capsule collection. The Cordwainers and Central Saint Martins alum and former sales associate for Philip Treacy limited his selection to under a dozen styles and started with the heel. Finding stilettos “a bit dated; they’ve been around for like a hundred years,” he went for wood and stacked leather heels that give the sex appeal of the vertiginous without the tart. Black, purple, and blush-pink leather and suede Mary Janes are one part rock ‘n roll and the other part mid-century inspired (think Maud Frizon), in sync with the period-precision mood of the season.
The designer also caught on the fur-trimmed trend (a thread that ran through the accessories collection). Pearl-colored sandals and booties with a top buckle came trimmed in white mink that didn’t look misplaced (like some of the fur adornments we witnessed for fall). Also working with a light theme that plays with the illusion of layers, a stringray appears to be cropping up from beneath lizard and nappa skins for a sleek, streamlined effect that says timeless, not trendy.
Photos: 1-3 N.D.C
4-5 Nicholas Kirkwood