Somewhere in England this month, a few very, very lucky women received an envelope like this. Hand-embroidered, the gift certificate it contains entitles the bearer to one pair of exquisite, custom-designed and custom-fitted shoes.
The cost? Well, those beautiful little gift certifcates start at 2,500 English pounds.
The designer and shoemaker is Caroline Groves, well known in the U.K. for her "bespoke" shoes, each pair made entirely by hand out of luxe materials, including not just leather, suede and velvet, but vintage silks, antique buckles, and unusual embellishments like bird feathers.
I admire Caroline's work for its exquisite detail, and I wanted to give her to you as a New Year's present. That is, give you some photos of her work and some links you can follow to see more shoes and more details.
May they inspire your own shoe (and handbag) design in the year to come!
Want to see more, or see really good closeups of the details? Visit Caroline's Gallery pages, or — if you have a Facebook, Google, Twitter or Pinterest account — go salivate over the photos on her Pinterest boards.
There are also links to some good articles by and about Caroline on her Press page. My favorite piece is entitled "A foot in theatreland: From taxidermy to Victoriana skulls, Caroline Groves’s bespoke shoes mix history, skill and one-of-a-kind drama."