“Flats were not an option,” states Nanna Liv, designer and founder of London-based shoe line Sargossa, referring to her past life in sales when she pounded the trade show floor for brands like Pandora. “I wanted to wear heels as part of my professional appearance.” Slowly, all that time spent in stilettos started to take its toll. “Shockingly, I found nothing on the market that appealed to the stylish yet practical nature of my style,” Liv recalls.
Her inner entrepreneur quickly came up with a solution: Why not make her own? “From the inception of the idea I spent several years thoroughly researching everything that would help create a stylish, comfortable stiletto, from optimum decline to the structure of the foot, and the piece de resistance was working out how to fully integrate our patent pending insole.” Sargossa launched last February, and Liv notes that “the style, the unique colorways and feminine styles have earned a following of their own.” Next spring’s collection, meanwhile, is inspired by a “great summer escape fused with the relentless life of a slick city woman,” she says, adding, “Everything is luxury, from our hand-picked leather to our hand-cut shoeboxes but we’ve kept our price competitive.”
FP: What is your first shoe memory? NL: Like many young girls I was always playing in (and falling out of) my mum’s stilettos.
FP: Who is your style icon? NL: I think Elle MacPherson has such a gorgeous laid-back style, and at the other end of the spectrum I love Oprah. She has so much panache! I like women who are true to their personalities and not slaves to their style.
FP: Which celebrities or famous people would you love to see in one of your designs? NL: I would love someone like Victoria Beckham to try a pair and see how comfortable they can be. And of course Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge. Her elegant, sophisticated style is the epitome of Sargossa and more than any woman I’m sure she would appreciate comfortable heels, especially when on a Royal Tour or on an official engagement. She spends so many hours on her feet so I’m sure our super soft heels would be a dream for her.
FP: Where do you like to shop? NL: My quick fix is always online: mywardrobe.com and Net-a-Porter are my weaknesses. Sandro and Maje in Paris are amongst my favorites, and I love Whistles and Zara for high street staples.
FP: Which shoes in your closet are getting the most wear? NL: Momentum is my favorite because I like the loose fit around my ankle. It’s easily dressed up or down and it’s so flattering on the leg. We made the ankles loose deliberately to give the illusion of a slimmer leg.
FP: What shoe must every woman have in her closet? NL: A really gorgeous black stiletto is a must–something like our Supreme in black–a gorgeous go-with-anything statement style that will always perk up an ensemble yet is still office appropriate.
FP: Which trends do you hope to never see again? NL: Jelly shoes or Buffalo shoes. I almost don’t know which are worse.
FP: Which designer do you admire the most? NL: I like Karl Lagerfeld. He’s so creative in so many outlets. And I really admire Victoria Beckham for really overcoming her critics to create something that is strong and successful. Yes she had her name but it was almost a hindrance. And you can’t help but admire Diane von Furstenberg for the wrap dress–one iconic idea that just propelled her career and I love that she’s stuck to it.
FP: What is your favorite part of your job? NL: I love the time when I’m just designing and in the zone. I love being amongst our positive team and seeing the reactions to our new styles.
FP: If you weren’t designing shoes, what would you be doing? NL: Still walking around in painful stilettos probably! I think this is definitely my calling so I cannot imagine doing anything else. There is no Plan B–only Plan Sargossa.