Patrick Cox was born in Edmonton, Canada in 1963. An early interest in British fashion, brought him to Cordwainer's College, London where he studied from 1983 to 1985.
While a student, he designed a line of footwear for Vivienne WESTWOOD's Witches collection, notably gold platform shoes with large knots. He was subsequently invited to design for the young British design house Bodymap and also for John GALLIANO. He actually started his career making shoes in 1985. He started using the fleur-de-lis as his Logo.
Cox quickly became known for wittily incorporating materials such as chain mesh, silk fringes and crucifixes into classic womens shoe silhouettes. Gradually he refined his style into one of increased classicism. He now sells strappy sandals, kitten heels and calfskin pumps as well as his outrageous designs.
In 1991, he opened his own store in London, which showcases his footwear designs alongside antique furniture. His first success was a customized Dr. Marten shoe, with its toe stripped to reveal a steel toe cap.
In 1993, he introduced his "Wannabe" loafers. These are flat and stacked-heeled shoes of bulky, exaggerated proportions that appeal to both sexes. This Wannabe model is made of python skin. Customers besieged his shop to buy these shoes, even attempting bribery. The Wannabe shoe has inspired essays in serious newspapers and he has sold 400,000 pairs. They come in 20 new colours each season.
In 1993, he launched PC's, a cheaper diffusion range of high fashion "fun" shoes which revitalized and repopularised the jelly sandal.
The Wannabe madness led to Cox opening a second London store in 1995. But life isn't all a scream for Cox, he works too hard to have a social life, spends 6 months of the year in Italy getting his shoes made, and countless days on planes. But this is the price he has to pay for his success. He has retail stores in the USA, England and France and has also created a Wannabe line of clothing for men and women, as well as purse and small accessories.
The launch of his own London shop in 1991 gave Cox the opportunity to show his collections as a whole, displaying the brash alongside the sophisticated. His audience soon came from both the devotees of the off-the-wall fashion experimentation of King's Road and the classic chic of the Sloane Square debutante. Cleverly, his shop was geographically situated between the two.
As of 1999 the designer's wholly owned business, Patrick Cox International, had annual turnover of L19 million ($30 million), earned not only from his flagship footwear line but from apparel, jewelry, bags, and ties. That same year, Cox was widely criticized for a two-page spread in the glossy men's magazine FHM, showing the feet of a man who appeared to have hung himself. Critics called the suicide-themed depiction "tasteless."
Cox announced his first fragrance line for men and women, "High," in partnership with Paris-based IFF in 2000. It debuted at the upscale British department store Harvey Nichols before being introduced into Asian markets. The scent typifies the Cox image: fun, addictive, and "of the moment."
For his ad campaign 2002, Cox enlisted model Sophie Dahl, who made news as the naked girl advertising YSL Opium pefume in 2001. Cox has managed to persuade Sophie to take her clothes off again, for his shoe campaign.
In 2003, Patrick Cox has been tapped as the designer of French shoe house Charles Jourdan. Since he spent his childhood in West Africa, he speaks fluent French so fits in well with the great French shoe house. He has immersed himself in the Charles Jourdan archives and is confident of making contemporary shoes as successful as in the past.
Patrick's advertisements for 2003 have featured popular model Sophie Dahl. He can usually persuade her to take most of her clothes off so that the viewer can concentrate on her feet and see his shoes well.
In no time at all he was designing shoes to accompany the collections of the young English designers who were then flavor of the month on the international fashion circuit. Cox shod the feet to fit the willful perversities of Bodymap, the calculated eccentricity of John Galliano, and the ladies-who-lunch chic of Alistair Blair. Cox went on to design his own label collections with such delightfully named styles as Chain Reaction, Rasta, and Crucifix Court. These were typical, hard-edged classic women's silhouettes given the Cox treatment—chain mesh, silk fringes and crucifixes suspended from the heels. Witty and amusing as these styles were, they had limited appeal and Cox would not have attained his current prominence had he not sought a larger audience. Selling shoes alongside antiques was a novelty that appealed to the press and boosted Cox's profile. There was something delightful in the presentation of shoes balanced on the arms of Louis XVI gilt chairs or popping out of the drawers of beautiful old dressers. The shoes gained an aura of respectability; a sense of belonging to some tradition, which perfectly complemented Cox's reinterpretation of classic themes. No longer was there a typical Cox customer; they were the young and not so young. Cox took great delight when elderly ladies appreciated his more subtle styling; his women's shoes even rivaled those of Manolo Blahnik in their sophistication—a calculated move. Cox is the shoe designer who admits there is little you can do with shoes. The very nature of footwear imposes constraints upon the designer, where there are fewer problems for the clothing designer. Cox sees shoes as more architectural than clothes; a free standing form with an inside and out. Yet these restrictions do not stop him producing fresh contemporary styles which still work within the perceived framework of what a classic silhouette should be.