Terry de Havilland, iconic shoes, copies and the comeback

16 Sep

Terry de Havilland shoes are flamboyant, attention-grabbing, ‘look-at-me’ shoes with some very British wit. His idiosyncratic (please look up the meaning of this word and you will understand it’s perfect to describe what I mean) use of colour, materials and decoration combined with that distinctly Seventies take on exaggeration. His father was a shoemaker too and made shoes for the Windmill girls during the war, that’s why ‘platforms and ankle straps are in my psyche’, Terry explained.

Terry de Havilland cut his first pair of shoes in 1957, for the family business, designed his first pair in 1960 and in 1964 his career kicked off  when he became a hit with the buyers and his designs were featured in fashion magazine Queen. In 1969 he designed his coloured snakeskin three-tiered wedges which made him the favorite shoe designer by many stars like Bianca Jagger and Bette Midler.

In 1972 ‘Cobblers to the world’, Terry de Havilland first store, was opened and the Margaux wedge was born. Everyone rich and famous found their way to the store and in 1980 De Havilland was making over 800 pairs of shoes a day for worldwide sales…He also set up a new label called Kamikazi, which was designed especially for Punks and Goths.

But then Terry’s work and name fell into obscurity.

Here is where the documentary ‘Trouble at the top ‘starts, which tells the story of Terry’s comeback and Miu-Miu having copied his designs for the s/s 2003 collection. You can find at it further ahead in this post. Don’t miss it!!!!!

Terry de Havilland also designed for some well-known movie characters, like Tim Curry in the Rocky Horror Show, Angelina Jolie’s boots for Tomb Raider and footwear for the BAFTA-award winning film The Velvet Goldmine. Some fashion designers asked De Havilland to design for their runway shows, like Zandra Rhodes in the past and lately Paco Rabanne and Anna Sui.

In 2006 Terry was nominated as the Accessory Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards and in June 2010 he was awarded with the Draper’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Terry is also a professor at the University of Arts in London.

Last year Selfridges celebrated 50 years of his artistry with a month-long exhibition in its Shoe Galleries and presented four exclusive anniversary models: the Dragon (silk-screen printed, red and gold wedge), Leyla (emerald lace mule), Dagger (leather ankle boot with silver dagger heel) and Lola (gold wedge, worn by Alison Goldfrapp on her album cover…see bottom of this page).

Today Terry de Havilland shoes are as loved and appreciated as back in the 70ties. Kate Moss, a good friend and customer of de Havilland, got a special pair of Margaux’s designed  for her honeymoon and Kylie Minogue, Sienna Miller and Dita Von Teese are often spotted on a pair of De Havillands. They follow in the footsteps of Twiggy, David Bowie, Bianca Jagger, Rudolf Nureyev (python knee boots) and Jackie Onassis (black leather thigh boots lined in red satin with risqué drawstrings).


Watch the BBC documentary ‘Trouble at the Top’ which is cut into 4 short episodes of about 10 minutes each…..

part 1

part 2

part 3

part 4

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