Shoe designer Neil Tan-Middlebrough has opened Sprezzatura London on Porchester Place, bringing together celebrated British textiles and London craftspeople.
Neil’s shoe business was born in his native Philippines but when marriage brought him to the UK, he was determined to use heritage British fabrics in his designs.
“This is my country now so I am going to push for “Made in England””, says Neil. Currently featured is an exquisite toile de Jouy fabric by Manuel Canovas for Colefax and Fowler showing a 19th century British couple among tigers and elephants, made into a pointed flat evening slipper which Neil says appeals to the many women who no longer want to wear heels.
Next up will be shoes made using silks from the Gainsborough mill in Sudbury, Suffolk, which has a royal warrant for its century-old production of brocade. The components – sock, heel, sole, lining – can only be found in Spain but the shoe is constructed in east London.
Neil is working with Hong Kong promoters and others to appeal to the Chinese market, where he says people no longer find the internationally distributed big brands exclusive enough. “They want their friends to look at what they bought and say: “Oh you went to London?””