The name Patricia Rosales may not be known by many, but mark my words it will soon be on every fashionista's wishlist. Yesterday I met with the couture shoe designer who is currently in Dubai showcasing her latest shoe collection. This is her first collection to be sold in stores, although she has designed 3 collections prior to this one, they have only been available to VIP clients. When I say VIP I mean she creates custom made designs for the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Penelope Cruz, Heidi Klum and a whole lot of Arab royals.
Sitting in a suite in Meydan hotel, surrounded by her incredible designs, Patricia comes off instantly as a totally down to earth person. If I hadn't known better I would have mistaken her for a newcomer to the industry by how nice she was, but the reality is I was sitting in the company of one of the most talented shoe designers of our time, and one that has some seriously cool clients too. So with my little Spanish (Hola, como estas?), her little English and the help of a translator we quickly started chatting about everything shoes. (I realised at this point, when two people passionate about shoes get together they really don't need to speak the same language, they just get each other!)
Patricia studied Economics and later got 2 masters degrees in Marketing and Graphic Design. Then she realised her love of shoes was greater than she thought and she decided to pack up and move to Alicante to learn the art of shoe making from the local craftsmen. Of course I instantly started to relate, although I have never thought I could design a shoe, I do have a Marketing degree, so you see in my head I thought I could do the same. Intrigued, I asked her how long it took to learn? "6 months!" My god, that's it!! She laughed and said "but I learn something new everyday, with every design and every client request, I still have more to learn" At this point I think I fell in love.
So why shoes? She went on to explain to me that she believes shoes are a sign of liberty, then she pulled out her necklace to show me that it has a small silver shoe pendant and said she's had it since she was 7. Cute, but why liberty? "Slaves didn't get to wear shoes, it wasn't until they were granted their freedom that they wore them, I think when you have a dream that you're walking without shoes it means someone's preventing you from being free, just like the slaves"... Deep! I like that.She said a shoes can tell you a lot about a woman. "High heels say I feel confident with high self esteem while flats exude calmness and a low cut front showing toe cleavage, well that's just sexy".. I could not possibly agree more.
So what inspires these shoe designs? For her 3rd collection, in which she incorporated her new found knowledge of gemmology, she was inspired by Ancient Egypt, while for her latest collection she was inspired by Chinese culture, specifically their foot binding customs also called lotus feet. Then without warning she pulled out her iphone, took a seat next to me and started to show me photos of old Chinese women and their feet, while slightly disturbing to look at it was also beautiful to see how this inspired her.
I obviously didn't leave a shoe in sight without holding it up, flipping it over and letting out a small sigh, in this process I noticed that most of the heels had half a pearl dug into the inner sole. What's with the pearl? "That's my signature thing" she laughed as though she's shy to admit it "An old friend and client noticed I always wore pearl earrings and told me I should have them in all my shoes".
Just as I thought I couldn't love her and her designs anymore, she got up and grabbed her laptop, squeezed herself right next to me and asked if I wanted to see how she comes up with her designs, which she likes to call "Patricios". YES PLEASE! She opened Illustrator and started designing a shoe, right there and then, explaining every step of the way. Although she explained it all in Spanish I understood every word because she was speaking the magical shoe language.
Patricia uses the latest technologies to perfectly execute each design, she actually does a digital foot scan which allows her to study each foot and design a shoe that will fit it perfectly. She uses the finest exotic leathers including snake, crocodile, nappa, eel and stingray. Her shoes wouldn't be complete without some bedazzling and she likes to use diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. While she's a big fan of utilising new technology, she says nothing is quite like the hand stitched pieces or the handmade Swarovski encrusted designs.
An hour has passed at this point, when she starts modelling the shoes for me to see what they look like worn and we laugh about how obsessed I am with all the shoes adorned with studs and spikes. I know it's time to leave as I can no longer control the urge to try packing as many of these beauties as possible into my bag. So I take her business card, tell her to expect my call when I find a husband so she can design my wedding shoe, and head out back into the real world.
Here are some of the shoes that caught my eye