From London With Love

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Published October 29, 2009

“You’ve got to do what you’ve got do—and at the moment everyone wants five inches,” laughs British-born, New York-based shoe designer Deborah Lyons, 26. Her debut label, Mechante of London, is garnering attention amongst the fashion set with Olivia Inge and Agyness Deyn as notable fans. I managed somehow to catch a moment with Lyons post S/S 10 trunk shows in London, Paris, and New York. So far, so good, as Harrods, Matches and Dover Street Market are all supporters. “The Brit market are so good to their own; they’re more experimental and really know how to dress around their accessories,” she says, adding that support in the Middle East is steadily growing.

With a background in both fine art and fashion design, and a degree from Parsons, Lyons traveled to Italy to spend time in the factories learning how to “actually, manually make the shoe” by working with the artisans themselves. She also attributes her skill and taste to a cross-continental youth, “which gave me an idea of what luxury means.”

For Spring, Lyons turned to the unstoppable formula of Bond movies for inspiration. That means an inspiration board full of images of the Caribbean seashore, bright white speed boats, and gun metal Aston-Martins translated into captivating high platforms with suggestive cutaways in snakeskin, suede, and silks. Beyond danger-chic, Lyons designs are surprisingly comfortable, “Come to think of it, I actually cater for a woman like myself—one continuously on the move!” She says. She’s hoping that type of mobility, upward or otherwise, follows from the economy: “I think people have moved from bags, shoes are now being seen as the affordable luxury.” She hopes that leading the It-shoe bandwagon will take her into her own point of sale online, and expanded stockists, noting Bergdorf Goodman in particular. But, for Lyon, nothing will ever beat the kick she gets from passing someone on the street in a pair-whereever on the continent that may be.