All girls love shoes, goes the saying. And perhaps none more so than Kari Sigerson and Miranda Morrison, the New York duo who have been designing their eponymous line of hipster-chic kicks since 1991, after having met as students at FIT.
Their shared design philosophy is, simply, “style, rather than fashion, is key” and it’s an ethos can be seen in their gladiator sandals, peep-toe boots and tough luxe flats, which have been spotted on celebs such as Reese Witherspoon, Naomi Watts and Sarah Jessica Parker, who sported a pair of mod Sigerson Morrison booties in the “Sex and the City” movie.
The Fashion Informer caught up with Madames Sigerson and Morrison just before the launch of their limited edition Target collection, which re-imagines their signature styles at more recession-friendly prices, thankyouverymuch, and will be available through December 26.
So, Kari and Miranda…
What is your favorite off-duty activity?
SIGERSON: Shopping for modern design.
MORRISON: Schmoozing my daughters, cooking, and/or puttering round my house and neighborhood (Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.)
When you were 9, what did you want to be when you grew up?
SIGERSON: An Olympic gymnast.
MORRISON: A painter and inventor.
What's your idea of a perfect day?
SIGERSON: Sleep late, slip into a bikini, and stumble down to the beach with family to meet friends.
MORRISON: It would start with a swim, maybe in a glassy sea. Then there would be a large swathe of work or purposeful activity. All followed by a massive party. I like a very full day, whenever possible.
Beverage of choice?
MORRISON: Red, white or pink. Still or bubbly. WINE! Close second: a good cup of Orange Pekoe with milk and about three grains of sugar.
When was the last time you rode the subway?
SIGERSON: The 6 train uptown to Spring Street on my way to work this morning.
MORRISON: I ride the F train morning and evening, to and from Brooklyn and Nolita. I'm a subway addict, because I love to people watch, strap hang and do crossword puzzles, none of which you can do in taxis.
What's the best/worst thing about living and working in NYC?
SIGERSON: This is the hardest working town on earth. Anything and everything is possible. This is the 'big show.’ It's all up to you. You have to take the plunge and make every minute count.
MORRISON: NYC is well known to be the center of the known universe, and that cocky charm still makes me never want to live anywhere else. The worst thing is that we almost never stop for a civilized lunch.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a designer - and why accessories?
SIGERSON: I was 14, living in Omaha, Nebraska, and my Dad sent me a course catalogue for classes at FIT. I think I thought there was something exotic about shoe design. Clothing was relatively easy to understand how they were made and put together, but shoes??!! Shoes were a mystery; only the coolest people knew how shoes were made!
MORRISON: In my early twenties, when it finally occurred to me that a painter/inventor might actually be called a designer. Shoes are perhaps the ultimate Man-Product love affair, which is part of why they are so gratifying to design.
What is your favorite holiday?
SIGERSON: I love the 4th of July - warm summer nights with spectacular fireworks lighting the sky.
MORRISON: I do love Christmas. From buying the first presents to eating cold turkey the day after. I love to cook, I am a total gift-wrap geek (yes, I get a lot of the supplies at Target), and since I love parties too, it's hands down my favorite holiday.
Tell me about your most memorable Halloween costume.
SIGERSON: A couple of years ago, my husband and daughter and I were invited to a party and we got all dressed in our costumes - I was Elvis (white velvet flares, gold loafers, white cape with gold buttons, Elvis eyewear, black scratchy Elvis wig) – and we headed out the door and down the block and suddenly realized we were a day early for the party. We quickly scrabbled home laughing all the way.
MORRISON: One year I made my older daughter a giant high-top sneaker costume. Then her little sister wanted to be the foot that fit the sneaker. They were hilarious.
What is the greatest lesson your parents taught you?
SIGERSON: That I could do anything - you just have to take the plunge and swim like hell.
MORRISON: To find humor in the absurdities of everyday life. To work at what you love. To see one's friends often. To open wine while you make the dinner.
Tell me about your best friend.
SIGERSON: My best friend is my business partner, Miranda. We are like sisters. We work so hard, but we have so much fun. We have everything and nothing, in common - it's kind of perfect.
MORRISON: Ah, how many of us get to work with our BFF? Kari and I have the longest-running jokes, the most polar-opposite temperaments and possibly the most complementary taste of any shoe design duo.
If you had the chance to ask God one question (assuming s/he exists), what would it be?
SIGERSON: So, what about that Fountain of Youth?
MORRISON: Were you kidding?
Please look up from wherever you are answering these questions and describe what you see around you.
SIGERSON: An incredibly messy design office, with loads of amazing things for inspiration for our next collection. Leathers, heels, prototypes, funny co-workers, tons of activity.
MORRISON: The still-startlingly-new surroundings of my renovated ground floor in Brooklyn. I am slowly deciding on where to hang the pictures, and what to add and take away. It is very light and airy, and opens onto a deck and a garden. It's a very happy work in progress!
What freaks you out?
SIGERSON: Heaping plates of food - we are making ourselves sick with our mindless over eating. And pee on toilet seats.
MORRISON: Not too much. I'm very not squeamish! When I am an uncontrollably late, I do freak out.
When are you happiest?
SIGERSON On an airplane, surrounded by my family, and we are off on a new adventure together.
MORRISON: It would be between any of the following: Waking up in my new bedroom, eating and laughing with family and friends, reading an engrossing novel, making things, mooching round a good hardware store.
Photos courtesy of Target