Kendall Miles Fall/Winter 2017

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Now it’s true, in general, that I’m more of a Samantha, and that my second favorite character was actually always Charlotte. But on Wednesday, with the perfect storm of fashion and friends, I was a Carrie. I caught myself sipping an exotic cocktail of pineapple and mezcal. I got a chance to make friends with the awesome photographer Hannah, and to ever so slightly envy Ericka, my younger competition. I hit it off with a major investment banker at a pre-New York Fashion Week label launch, although for the record she was the designer’s mom and much much nicer than Big. Most crucially, of course, I found myself surrounded by shoes.

They were all from the Kendall Miles Fall / Winter 2017 line, and even the story of how they got to be on display in a Tribeca design loft itself warrants attention. Just over a year ago, there was no label. There weren’t even any shoes. There was only Kendall Reynolds, a senior at USC with a lifelong passion and drive for elegance. She had sketched designs almost as a hobby, something to keep her sane between a break-up and moving between Chicago, Italy, and Southern California. But the more she thought about it, and the more she realized that she didn’t want to go into the daily grind of finance or law, the more seriously Kendall started to take her work. She approached her parents, who operate one of the largest minority-owned investment banks in the world, to see if they thought her dream had any commercial potential. Of course, they did, and from there it was all systems go and I really mean that.

Despite only being out of school for six months, this is the third line Kendall released, and already we can see some of her label’s features defining themselves. Quality becomes a statement, with every square inch of every shoe crafted in Italy. That statement alone makes the Kendall Miles label immune from critiques of craftsmanship, even if many of the designs are at a price point too high to justify. There are too many shoes in this line; the Symphony and Lovesick styles, in particular, felt underwhelmingly corporate, as if they were only meant to be worn by the ground floor mannequins at Nordstrom.

This doesn’t make the label boring. After tremendous success with last year’s designs, Kendall is doubling down on oxblood, a maroon so juicy that you will never want to wear leather in another shade again. She’s also working with finer, more delicate lines, and the gilded rim of Infinity accentuates the base of the shoe so wondrously that the whole thing echoes Forbidden City in miniature, a work of art to be approached and touched only with reverence. Even more impressively, Kendall manages to make the mysterious and the rarefied to play well together. Mink, suede, silver fox, and rex blend seamlessly into Xotiq Blush, the perfect shoe for Russian debutantes, modern Amazons, and queens looking to put their foot down.

So really, this is just one step in Kendall Miles journey to innovate on luxury. From what I hear, gym shoes and casual wear might be next up. Of course, it’s going to be tough for a brand which defines itself by glamour and craftsmanship to branch out into a market defined by functionality and comfort. But I have faith, I think they can do it. I’m optimistic, you know because whatever I am I’m definitely not a Miranda.