Shoe stylists keeping busy

For shoe designers Peter and Linda Fox, life is a series of airplane rides interspersed by periods of intense work.

The couple divide their time between a home in Vancouver, where they design footwear, and a seaside Italian apartment, where they oversee manufacture of their line.

Peter Fox’s reputation as an avant-garde shoe designer has brought him into the international limelight. But it was not an overnight success.

After training as a sculptor in England, he was studying merchandising at Harrod’s department store in London when he met the owner of a Vancouver shoe store who encouraged Fox to come to work for him.

Fox arrived in British Columbia in 1956 and after 15 years he started a retail store with partner John Fluevog. Five years ago, Fox sold his interests in four Fox and Fluevog stores and in 1981 opened a shoe boutique in New York City.

Fox’s reason for setting up the Peter Fox store was that he wanted to sell his line of shoes, made for him by some of the finest shoe factories in Italy, to leading department stores in the United States and Europe. “You must let the stores discover you,” says Fox.

By opening his retail outlet under the noses of New York buyers, he was able to lure them when he showed his first wholesale collection in August 1982.

The line of 35 designs was a success thanks to Fox’s ability to predict the changing taste of thefashion elite. “Designing is not a great skill,” he says. The difficulty is understanding what is possible and then pairing the ideas with the resources.

His wife, Linda, is the unsung second half of the design team. She was trained by her husband as a shoe buyer and now assists him in turning tantasies on paper into reality.

The two travel to annual shoe shows in New York and Milan and spend the remainder of the year in Porto Santo Giorgia on the Adriatic coast of Italy, close to the shoe manufacturing.

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