Following several collaborations with Manolo Blahnik, designer Jonathan Simkhai officially launched his first footwear collection in Hollywood last week with a Nutcracker-themed dinner hosted by Saks. L.A. Friends of the designer, including Sydney Sweeney, Alexandra Shipp, Alessandra Ambrosio, Tori Kelly, Stella Banderas Griffith, Grace Johnson, and Tomi Adeyemi, gathered to toast the launch of the collection - all designed and produced under the Jonathan Simkhai label.
“After I won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2016, I was talking to Anna Wintour, Stephen Kolb, and Diane von Furstenberg about what I was going to do with the prize money,” said Simkhai. “They suggested footwear, but I wasn’t ready as I was so focused on ready-to-wear. Now, nearly six years later, I’ve done it.” Presented in a palette of soft, dreamlike colors, stand-out styles include a thong sandal, a square-toed mule, and a two-tone ankle boot - all of which feature a signature square heel that took 18 months to perfect. “My design philosophy is all about juxtaposition,” said Simkhai. “The colors are soft and feminine, but the silhouettes are architectural and linear.”
The event was held at an unfinished loft—all raw concrete and floor-to-ceiling windows affording a view of the twinkling Hollywood Hills, made all the more magical with dozens of candles illuminating the space. Upon arrival, guests were treated to cocktails followed by a multi-course dinner which took place at a long, also candlelit, table topped with floral “clouds” designed by longtime Simkhai collaborator The Empty Vase. In a nod to the impending holiday, the evening ended with a surprise performance over by the American Contemporary Ballet to the delight of the crowd. “The company was performing The Nutcracker was in the same building so I asked if they would do something for us,” said Simkhai. Wearing the designer’s Cleo balloon dresses, the dancers brought some winter magic to the event, sprinkling ‘snow’ over the table en pointe to the sounds of the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy. The performance finished with the ballerinas swapping out their slippers for Simkhai heels, at which point they collectively swooned. A reaction Simkhai’s devotees will surely have too. \
Read the original article on Vogue.com | by Racbel Marlowe | Photo credit: