My Life In Shoes: Gabriele Hackworthy

With a decorated career as a Fashion Director of Vogue Japan, China and Australia as well as Senior Vice President of Marketing at Jimmy Choo, luxury brand consultant Gabriele Hackworthy’s shoe collection is enviable to say the least – just look at her ‘#FeetUpFriday’ posts on Instagram for proof. Naturally, we’ve been dying to quiz her on all things footwear – from her all-time favourite designs to her everyday staples, here she talks us through her highlights…

My love of shoes started in my teens. While I was still in high school, I had a weekend sales assistant job at a designer shoe store in Sydney, and it was then that I fell in love with the design and craftsmanship of great footwear.

My first pair of designer shoes was a pair of winkle picker-style slingbacks by a French designer called Michel Perry, who was popular during the late 80s. Sadly, I don’t still have them, but if I did, I would definitely still wear them. They were so cool. 

I probably own about 100 pairs of shoes. Generally, I try not to hoard, so I give lots away to charity, as well as using resale sites and eBay to sell them on. A hundred is still too many in my opinion, but I’m keeping them archived for my daughter who wants to be a fashion designer – I figure she might need them one day.

My all-time favourite pair of shoes aren’t actually a pair of heels. It’s tough to decide on just one pair, but I’d have to go for comfort. My Gabrielle Chanel 17B Coco Logo mid-calf are probably my favourites, which are black suede with a satin toe cap. 

The shoes with most sentimental value are a pair of Balenciaga runway sandals from S/S 2003. I was living in New York and having the time of my life working as Fashion Director of Japanese Vogue. I had a satellite office at the famous and now defunct Conde Nast building at 4 Times Square, and whenever Anna Wintour got into the elevator, we wouldn’t dare make eye contact – everyone just looked down at their shoes. I was happy to be wearing those Balenciagas, for that reason!

When it comes to wedding guest shoes, I always choose style over comfort and will suffer wearing sky-high heels through the ceremony and the first part of the evening for pictures. However, my party trick is always to bring a pair of flats with me and keep them in the cloak room until needed, so I can dance until dawn. 

Day-to-day, I pretty much only wear flats. I love a classic loafer or a Mary Jane – Tabitha Simmons’ ‘Hermione’ is my favourite style.

There are so many different brands in my shoe collection. YSL for the sexy attitude, Chanel for timeless style, and Isabel Marant for the casual off-duty nonchalance the French Vogue girls do so well. Some of the best shoe designers are women because they design footwear with comfort in mind, which I don’t always think men do. I love Tabitha Simmons, Gabriela Hearst and The Olsen sisters for The Row

I have many fond memories of my time at Jimmy Choo. In 2018, we brought Cindy Crawford and her family to sit on the Jimmy Choo table at the British Fashion Awards and the same evening her daughter Kaia Gerber (our campaign star at the time) won Model of the Year – that was a great night. I was also responsible for creating a new cohort of Jimmy Choo fans by dressing some of the world’s most stylish women in the shoes – Kate Moss, Dua Lipa, Beyonce and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley all started wearing the brand frequently, both on and off the red carpet.

Some of the best shoe designers are women because they design footwear with comfort in mind. My favourites are Tabitha Simmons, Gabriela Hearst and The Olsen sisters for The Row.

If I could design a pair of shoes they would be boots for sure. I live in them. They’d be both a little sexy and a bit rock n’ roll, but on a 65mm heel, as I can’t manage 100mm heels all day anymore. 

My last purchase was a pair of Celine, flat over the knee ‘pirate’ boots, which I bought on sale. I’ve always loved that look. 

Follow @GabrieleHackworthy

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