Mary-Kyri Shoes are so hot, their heels leave little puffs of smoke in their wake and I had the absolute honour of scoring a sit down interview with this amazingly gifted Shoe Queen; even though she was really tired, having been out late the night before at Australia’s Next Top Model finale and just landing from a whirlwind international eight cities fly-around in 2.5 weeks, she still gas bagged with me about shoes, glorious shoes.
Mary-Kyri (aka MK for this story) is a force to be reckoned with, she’s focused, determined, has an incredible amount of energy and did I say totally gifted?Â Like any entrepreneur, MK works long and hard but she’s so passionate about what she does, and like any entrepreneur the sacrifices are worth it and don’t really feel like sacrifices to her.
For those of you who aren’t aware of MK’s amazing story, her shoe designs started in the bedroom of her home in Adelaide and now grace international catwalks and celebrity feet in just over three years.Â The first celebrity foot to be photographed wearing her Signature Shoe design, Elisav (below), was Kylie Minogue, and celebrity coveting has just snowballed from there to Kate Moss, Jade Jagger, Fergie, P!nk, Paris Hilton, the Kardashian’s and the Queen of Shoe Queens herself, Sarah-Jessica Parker.
Sassi Interrupt: of course my favourite is going to be this Elisav Spring/Summer 2009 pink design!
MK has built a reputation of creating beautiful and unique, high fashion shoes.Â Unique is hard to do these days but MK does it and I had to find out her secret.Â I quizzed her on her creative processes and her secret isÂ … I’ll let you know soon (hehe).Â A quick backtrack, at the end of 2005 on a complete impulse MK sold her car and flew across to Italy (she’d never been overseas before and couldn’t speak Italian), secured meetings with the manufacturers that create footwear for brands such as Burberry, Prada and Versace and she worked on the factory floor learning every aspect there was in shoe making and launched her first collection ‘Virago’ in 2006.Â That takes so much guts and self belief, I’m totally in awe.
Sassi Interrupt: My other favourite is the Luigu in the Lilac, hot, hot, hot!
MK is inspired by shapes, architecture, colours and nature.Â She is completely fascinated (and a little bit obsessed, we all have our obsessions you know) with architecture.Â Her fascination started when she was a little girl, her mother used to take her walking around the streets for hours admiring all the beautiful buildings and their intricate details.Â This season’s Spring/Summer 09 Collection â€“ Icena – was photographed at her God-father’s cliff side home in Adelaide … it’s so Grecian holiday!
And this season, MK developed the new â€˜Mary-Kyri Sportz\’ collection, a range of highly fashionable sneakers made entirely in Italy which display the same design lines and leathers as the stilettos.Â And of course there’s a twist to the design of these shoes too … there is a little wedge inside the sneaker to give women a small lift without having to balance on a heel – created for women who can’t wear high heels.Â MK loved creating this range, “it was so much fun and wasn’t hard at all she said.Â “When I’mÂ creating my stiletto’s I’m in work mode, the sneakers were a completely different process and experience for me.”
So back to her creative secrets, the reason why I asked this was because when shoe lines (and fashion) come out, they all look similar because the designers are focused on matching the on-trend theme for that season and I wanted to know how MK created her collection maintaining her individuality but still being ‘on-trend’.
“I never look at other designers and what they are doing, she said.Â “My creative process is all about feelings and emotions that I get from a theme.Â For example, a voodoo theme, I write down what feelings, emotions and colours that theme conjures in me.Â “From there I will hand draw around 100 shoe designs in a couple of days” (I know, I know crazily gifted woman!).Â From there she culls and adapts and next stop the drawings and MK get on a big bird and fly to Italy where she spends a couple of weeks working the most insane hours to source her materials and that includes, buckles, heels, straps, etc creating the prototypes and from there the samples are made (in the leather) and then in a few months they are photographed, priced and her lookbook is sent out to her boutiques for ordering and onto the shelves and feet they go. Every collection MK does is a continual learning curve for her, she is a big ‘why’ person – another entrepreneurial sign.
As usual in my interviews, I have to ask some girlie questions and MK shares her answers to those now:
What five favourite things can’t you live without?
My family and partner; my stiletto’s; my passion; my phone and my lipstick.
Which Sassi Moment best describes you?
I’m definitely a bit of all of them; when I was an 18 y/o I would have definitely said being Shopwrecked, but now I’m a Just in Case gal.Â I’m always travelling and my bags are ALWAYS overweight. I have been seen sitting on my luggage on the airport floor trying to get it closed just like Sassi does.
What is your favourite fun and girlie thing you like to do?
I absolutely adore window shopping but I don’t have much time for that anymore.Â When I do get some downtime (which isn’t very often) I enjoy being pampered with a facial, massage and a mani and pedicure.
Who would you like to have at a girl’s night in and why?
It would definitely have to be Sarah Jessica Parker, she’s such a fashion icon and Bette Midler, she’s so funny and gorgeous.Â I’ve seen her live and I grew up watching her and I just love her to bits.
So what’s next for MK?Â I see handbags and gorgeous ballet flats … and … we will be seeing some ballet flats, flat boots and 5cm heels (her heels are currently 9cm-11cm) in her Winter 2010 Solaz Collection (in-stores February).Â Summer 2010 samples are winging their way to MK’s office now, I can’t wait to see them.
MK’s Spring/Summer 2009 collection are in-store nationally in David Jones now.Â Go find your favourite.