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Rayne Shoes gets royal seal of approval

Being adored by the rich and famous is one thing, but having a royal warrant as a brand really takes you to another level and shouts out to the world that there is something about your product that is more luxurious than that of your competitors.

Royal warrant have been around for centuries but are certainly not easy to come by with only the Queen, Prince Charles and the Duke of Edinburgh able to bestow the honourable mark of prestige in the UK. With only 800 warrant holders, it goes without saying that a proportion of those are from the world of fashion and Rayne Shoes who previously held warrants from Her Majesty Queen Mary and The Queen Mother are now back on that list for the fourth time.

Rayne Shop Front
Henry and Mary Rayne founded Rayne Shoes in London

Originally concentrating on theatrical shoes in the 1880s, Rayne soon became a much loved fashion shoe within British high society and was loved for its luxurious quality shoes, that carried the charm of old British aristocracy but yet managed to stay bold and fashionably eccentric. Having been chosen in 1947 to make the wedding shoes of the then Princess Elizabeth, it is no surprise that Rayne became the favourite British shoe designer of many actor’s and dancers, and by leading ladies of the time including Elizabeth Taylor, Bridgette Bardot and Marlene Dietrich.

Rayne London has always been known for its fine handcrafted shoes and has had a large and loyal following with clientele ranging from European Royals all the way through to those of Asian Royalty and Heads of State and influential leaders such as Margret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto and Mary Rockefeller. The late Princess Diana was also a huge fan of the British brand and famously chose to wear Rayne when she met Mother Theresa in 1997.

Rayne London’s core design values are femininity of form and the use of innovative, luxurious and comfortable materials in the process of fabrication

Today after an almost 25 year hiatus, Rayne has been resurrected by Nicholas, the great grandson of its founders Henry and Mary Rayne, and is following in the footsteps of his grandfather Sir Edward Rayne (who once served as chairman on the board of Harvey Nichols and was responsible for putting London Fashion Week on the map with the international fashion community). In fact when he sadly passed in 1992, Sir Edward’s obituary in the Guardian read “If any single man persuaded American fashion buyers and correspondents to take London Fashion Week seriously, it was Rayne”.

Despite being born in America, he established himself as a high profile ambassador for British Fashion following the opening of his magnificent Bond Street store in 1920 and floating the company in 1928.

Rayne vintage Wedgewood shoes
The brand’s vintage Wedgewood shoes

Having entered into partnership with Giuesseppe Baiardo whose company CDivertiamo also houses international luxury brands such as Alain Tondowski Paris (formally at YSL, Dior, Nina Ricci and Chloe), production has now moved to Italy in a bid to discover new materials and manufacturing techniques. This said, clearly the idea is to maintain and nurture the sophistication of 100 years of inspirational footwear.

Along with wife Lulu, Nicholas also set up the leading children’s shoe brand Step2step in 2007 which thanks to its fashionable and edgy designs, now has a huge presence around the world and can be found in leading department stores in the UK such as Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and Fenwick.

In the 1950s, the brand was being worn by many leading actresses of the time, such as Vivien Leigh, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich

We spoke to Nicolas Rayne who told us: “It has been wonderful to revive the Rayne Shoes brand and see it going from strength-to-strength with a new generation of women able to enjoy the shoes. Today the shoes are made in an artisan factory in Italy which is known for its craftsmanship so the shoes are as comfortable as they are beautiful. Rayne remains a luxury brand with a contemporary twist.

Next summer’s collection is particularly exciting as it features influences from the Mary Quant exhibition currently showing at the V&A. In fact Mary Quant was one of many of Rayne’s guest designers alongside other fashion stalwarts including Roger Vivier and most recently Laurance Dacade.”

I for one am very excited about the new collection.

Follow Nicola Ziff on Instagram: @mamalovesshoes1