Versace’s chief designer of women’s accessories. The Red Carpet Fashion Awards’ Shoe Designer of the Year in 2010 and 2011. The founder of an eponymous footwear brand worn by Zendaya, Victoria Beckham, Sofia Richie Grainge, and Jennifer Lopez. These are just a few of Brian Atwood’s successes throughout his decades-long career in fashion—specifically in shoes. Now, the former model who was hired by Gianni Versace himself has another completely casual achievement to add to his résumé: creative director of footwear at Express.
On Tuesday, American giant Express announced Atwood’s new position at the helm of its shoe department as well as his debut line for the brand, Brian Atwood for Express. “I grew up with sisters, so Express has been in my life, even since an early age,” Atwood says. “Working with such a huge company, one that has national mass appeal, was exciting and also challenging.” Never one to say no to a difficult feat—according to an interview in Coveteur, Versace once asked him out of the blue to try his hand at haute couture footwear for one of his collections—Atwood says he was intrigued by the opportunity to elevate the brand’s current assortment and bring its loyal customers something new and unexpected using his immense knowledge of shoe design.
For his first collection for Express, his goal was simple: great shoes. “Shoes should have a timeless nature to them, and that’s exactly what I have created with this collection,” he says. “Classic styles that women are going to want to wear and keep forever.” Of course, at the same time, he wanted to ensure that the collection had a bit of fashion in it. “I think the materials and colors are gorgeous, and with each design, we are giving the Express customer something they haven’t had from the brand before,” he explains. According to Atwood, Express let him do his thing. He adds, “They know my expertise and where I can help.”
Shop the first of many Brian Atwood for Express collections, which range in price from $41 to $119, below.