clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Chatting With Kristin Cavallari, Chicago's Newest Shoe Designer

New, 3 comments

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Image via Grouperly

We were lucky enough to snag an interview with a great new Chicago-based shoe designer. Maybe you've heard of her? Her name is Kristin Cavallari.

The former teen queen of Laguna Beach became a designer in her own right when she launched a line in collaboration with Chinese Laundry. Want to know about how she started designing, where she shops in Chicago, and whether she prefers Manolos or Loubs? Read on.

R:What made you decide to bring out a shoe collection?
Kristin Cavallari: Well I have been wanting a shoe line or years so this really has been a dream come true for me. I started doing online fashion blogging with Chinese Laundry a couple years ago and I just really enjoyed working with them and it was a great fit. From that it turned into my own line. I couldn't be more excited by it.

R: What's your favorite piece in your shoe collection?
K.C.: That's hard. Gosh, it's really hard. If I had to pick one I'd probably say the bootie is my favorite because I love booties and the bootie I have out now— it initially came out in January but you can actually wear it through spring and summer. It's a year-round bootie so you get great use out of it.

R: What are your favorite shoes in your closet right now (other than the ones from your collection!)
K.C.: Let's see...I mean, I don't know. I guess because of the weather in Chicago...I have a pair of YSL boots, they're black suede boots that I live in. I love them.

R: Have you noticed a big difference in the shoe style among all the cities you've lived in?
K.C.: I definitely think you can get away with a higher heel in LA. You know, I think Chicago...I don't know. When I wear my really, really high heels in Chicago I definitely get some looks, same with Nashville. I'd say that Nashville and Chicago are just a little bit...well, LA you can definitely take more risks, I'd say.

R: How would you describe shoe style in Chicago?
K.C.: Definitely more functional than fashionabale. I think that's with any city, when you're walking around you're more concerned with how comfortable your feet are going to be than how they look. You also have to dress for the snow or the rain. You have to dress for the weather.

R: What are five must have shoes for any woman?
K.C.: I think every woman should have a classic black heel, a classic nude heel, a great bootie, a great pair of boots and a great flat.

R: Do you remember the first pair of high-end designer shoes you bought?
K.C.: Yes! They were a pair of very simple black peep-toe Louboutins. I still have them but they are so trashed. I should take them in and get them fixed because they've just been worn so much. But I still have them and I still remember them so that's a big deal.

R: Do you remember when you got them?
K.C.: I got those...I was 18 or 19.

R: Does Jay prefer you in high heels or flats?
K.C.: He loves it when I wear heels because he's so much taller than me. He's almost 6'4" so if I'm in flats there's quite a big difference. There's about a foot in between us, so obviously heels make it a little bit easier for us to kiss I guess.

R: What are some great shoes Jay has in his closet?
K.C.: Well Jay lives in Nikes and then he also loves these boat shoes, which I actually like. I think boat shoes on guys are really cute and he loves them.

R: What are some of your favorite places to shop for shoes in Chicago?
K.C.: I just love Intermix. That's my favorite store all around. Barney's has a good shoe selection. To be honest, I haven't gone shoe shopping since I've had my own shoe line. I don't need to, I have my own shoe line. There's no real reason for me to go shoe shopping.

R: Do you have a favorite shoe designer? Other than yourself:
K.C.: Besides me? I love YSL shoes.

R: Do you have any advice for girls who aren't great at walking in heels?
K.C.: If you're not great at walking in heels I would say...don't try. Don't buy the highest heels. You can find really cute shoes that are in the middle. Actually a lot of my shoes aren't as high as most shoes are, which I actually like because they're more comfortable. But I would say if you're not good at walking in heels don't try because you're going to look silly and risk falling on your face. It's just not worth it.

R: Since shoes look so much better over a reat pedicure, what color polish would you request for your toes if you were going to get a pedicure today?
K.C.: I would probably request "Ballet Slippers" by Essie.

R: We have a little survey, if you will. It's kind of a "would you rather" where we're just going to shoot off two options and you tell me which you prefer for shoes. So heels or flats?
K.C.: Oh, man. Heels.

R: Booties or tall boots?
K.C.: Oh my gosh. Booties.

R: Stilettos or wedges?
K.C.: It depends on the time of year! Stilletos.

R: Closed toe or peep toe?
K.C.: Peep-toe.

R: Suede or leather?
K.C.: Suede

R: Neutral or bright colors?
K.C.: These are really tough questions. I would go neutral if I had to pick one.

R: Manolos or Louboutins?
K.C.: Louboutins.

R: Round toe or pointed toe?
K.C.: I would say...pointed. No, wait. Yeah, I'm going to say pointed.
· Chinese Laundry [Official Site]