Seeing any fashion business close down is sad. Seeing a 10-year-old shoe business, which had become my go-to brand for size 35 heels, close down, is doubly sad.
Beatrix Ong stepped down from her brand in early April, to little media attention. Neil Craven at ThisIsMoney.co.uk first reported the news on 7 April, explaining she was spending time abroad. Craven also stated her Pavilion Road store, where I’ve spent many happy hours, was to closed down within two weeks (in fact it’s already closed). Ong has since denied on Twitter she was abroad. A Drapers commentator argues instead that Harold Tilman, the majority owner of the business since 2008, “was late and in some cases not paying suppliers and that this was the reason she resigned as a director”.
According to ThisIsMoney, Ong’s shoes and accessories will now be sold via Tilman’s Jaeger fashion stores. Assuming they are real Ong designs, with the quality and imagination she’s accustomed us to, rather than a Lacroix-like licensing operation, I really hope so.
I’ve spent the past two years in Ong’s heels, after discovering she sold size 35 shoes small enough for me. As promised on her Neal Murran-designed, Dante-reminiscent shoe box, “the journey of a thousand miles begins by finding your shoes”. Hers have taken me around a very fashionable office, from a christening to a Christmas party without so much as a blister, but with some slight tumbles. With heels averaging 12cm high, I wouldn’t expect less. Her shoes are this holy grail of fashion editorial, a beheld promise that your legs look longer, your confidence is boosted, your outfit chicer and your footwear noticed, whether you’re in a provincial fair or working a London Fashion Week catwalk.
I have no doubt her talent will take her to some new fashion places, the earlier the better. ‘Til then, I’m left with ten pairs of shoes, an eBay alert and a rather happy banker.
Still life picture by Charlotte Tolhurst Photography and from twenty-6.co.uk For more Beatrix Ong iconography, please visit my themed Pinterest board, Beatrix Ong