Emma Hope was part of the flowering of talent in British shoe design in the late 1980s.

Emma Hope grew up in Singapore and England.

She trained at Cordwainers Technical College in London's Hackney along with successful contemporaries Christine Ahrens, Elizabeth Stuart-Smith, and Patrick Cox.

There she received a thorough technical grounding that enabled her to design free, fanciful shoes that are also practical and comfortable to wear. Her first collection was sold to shops in London and America in 1984.

From 1987 Hope began exhibiting collections under her own name; in the same year, her work was featured in the 22 different styles of boots and shoes accepted by the Design Council for their footwear selection.

When Hope started her business, her shoes were made to her specifications in London by skilled craftspeople, but this method became increasingly difficult and in 1995 she moved production of all her shoes to Italy.She produced shoes for leading fashion designers such as Jean Muir, Bill Gibb, John Flett, Betty Jackson, and Joe Casely-Hayford.

Emma Hope has recently launched a new collection of sneaker's for men and women. The sneakers have an old school feeling and are made in ponyskin, velvets or python and are calf lined.

The first Emma Hope flagship store in Japan opened in 2003 in Roppongi Hills, a leading shopping area in Tokyo. Her shoes and bags are in over 150 stores worldwide including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods.

CNN recently made a lifestyle and work documentary on Emma, following her to South Africa, learning to play polo, surfing and making beaded bags with Monkey Biz, meeting their beaders in their workshop in the township of Khayelitsha which supports an aids wellness clinic in the centre of Cape Town.

Emma Hope has been commissioned by Vogue, Elle, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and Country Life to write and photograph articles about inspiration, music festivals, surfing, hunting, voodoo, fortune telling and cowboys.

Emma Hope has won five Design Council Awards, the Martini Style Award, the Harpers & Queen Design Award, and the Clothes Show TV and D.T.I. accessories award.

In 2004 Emma Hope spoke at the Oxford Union against the motion 'High Fashion - do we pay too high a price?' defending quality and design against high street mass manufacturing.

The Look

She produce designs that were more straightforward and wearable and has described her shoes as "regalia for feet," decorative and distinctive but with comfort being an important feature. Inspiration comes from historical sources studied in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Shoe Museum in Northampton. Paintings and Greek and Roman statues have been explored for source material as well. Louis heels and elongated toes were often seen in her work.

Who Wears It

Frank Lampard, Kevin Spacey, Susan Sarandon, Bobby Gillespie, Uma Thurman, Kiera Knightly, Rosamund Pike,

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