Rupert Sanderson: The Malaysian-Born British Shoe Designer Who Conquers the World of Luxury Footwear

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When a shoe designer reaches fame and fortune with their brand, we consider it a modern Cinderella story.

Rupert Sanderson is a Malaysian-born British shoe designer who launched his eponymous footwear brand in 2001. After twenty years in the making, this brand is seen as a symbol of understated British elegance.

One of Rupert Sanderson's luxury footwear stores in Shanghai, ChinaOne of Rupert Sanderson’s luxury footwear stores in Shanghai, China (Credit: TonyV3112 / Shutterstock)

We’re looking at how Sanderson’s shoes made him famous. You’ll also learn everything you need about this luxury footwear brand.

If you’re a fan of British celebrities and royalty, you’ll be no stranger to Rupert Sanderson’s elegant footwear.

Meet Rupert Sanderson

Sanderson has an unconventional background as a footwear designer.

He left a successful career in advertising to study at Cordwainers College before traveling to Italy to immerse himself in the home of luxury footwear.

Carey Mulligan shows off her feet in Rupert Sanderson Estelle cut-out satin heelsCarey Mulligan shows off her feet in Rupert Sanderson Estelle cut-out satin heels (Credit: Bill Davila / Startraksphoto)

Sanderson worked for Sergio Rossi and Bruno Magli, learning the tradition of Italian footwear before returning to London to launch his eponymous brand in 2001.

He launched with just 15 shoes and a ‘less is more’ mentality. He strived to create the perfect silhouette, drawing inspiration from vintage fashion and using the finest materials and leather.

Lea Michele shows off her feet in metallic silver Rupert Sanderson Teoni high heel sandalsLea Michele shows off her feet in metallic silver Rupert Sanderson Teoni high-heel sandals (Credit: Daniel Robertson / Startraksphoto)

As a tribute to the brand’s British origins, each shoe is named after a daffodil.

What Rupert Sanderson Is Famous For?

Rupert Sanderson is famous for having collaborated with Antonio Berardi and Karl Lagerfeld. He also worked on the shoes for the Royal Opera House’s production of Aida.

Chloë Grace Moretz shows off her feet in Rupert Sanderson open-toe booties at the 2012 Women In Film Crystal + Lucy AwardsChloë Grace Moretz shows off her feet in Rupert Sanderson open-toe booties at the 2012 Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards (Credit: Tony DiMaio / Startraksphoto)

He collaborated with the Minions film franchise to launch a range of limited-edition shoes that sold out ahead of the film’s release after being worn by Sandra Bullock.

Sandra Bullock's Minion-inspired Rupert Sanderson heelsSandra Bullock’s Minion-inspired Rupert Sanderson heels (Credit: Lionel Hahn / AbacaUSA / Startraksphoto)

Sanderson’s brand has several high-profile clients, from ballet stars to royalty and Oscar-winning actresses.

He’s one of the go-to designers for the Duchess of Cambridge and counts Emmy Rossum, Victoria Beckham, and Brit Marling amongst his clientele.

Where Are Rupert Sanderson Shoes Made?

While Rupert Sanderson’s shoes encapsulate British elegance, they have a ‘Made in Italy’ tagline. These shoes are completely handmade in homage to traditional Italian craftsmanship.

Cody Horn shows off her feet in strappy Rupert Sanderson shoes at the 2012 Young Hollywood AwardsCody Horn shows off her feet in strappy Rupert Sanderson shoes at the 2012 Young Hollywood Awards (Credit: Tony DiMaio / Startraksphoto)

It’s no surprise that Sanderson chose Italy as the location to manufacture his shoes after learning from some of the country’s most famous craftsmen.

These shoes are made in studios near Bologna and Florence, while the Rupert Sanderson bags are manufactured in France.

Is Rupert Sanderson a Luxury Brand?

Rupert Sanderson is a luxury brand comparable to household names like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, and Aquazzura.

Although Rupert Sanderson is a luxury brand, they don’t have a large presence of independent boutiques.

Kyra Sedgwick displays her sunflower ankle tattoo and Rupert Sanderson high heels for a Closer press conference in Tokyo in 2012Kyra Sedgwick displays her sunflower ankle tattoo and Rupert Sanderson high heels for a Closer press conference in Tokyo in 2012 (Credit: Aflo / Startraksphoto)

The brand’s flagship store is in Mayfair, London, with the shoes stocked in over 150 stores internationally.

Ellie Kemper shows off her feet in silver metallic Rupert Sanderson ‘Jacoba’ peep-toe sandalsEllie Kemper shows off her feet in silver metallic Rupert Sanderson ‘Jacoba’ peep-toe sandals (Credit: Sara De Boer / Startraksphoto)

Although these shoes can come with an eyewatering price tag, you will often find previous season styles on sale.

Rupert Sanderson shoes are found through popular online retailers, such as Farfetch, The Outnet, and Rupert Sanderson.

Freida Pinto Looks Stunning in Blue Amanda Wakeley Dress at Innovators for a Healthy Planet Gala

Freida Pinto looked resplendent in Amanda Wakeley's "Pixel" dress from her Resort 2017 collection at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Gala for Innovators for a Healthy PlanetFreida Pinto looked resplendent in Amanda Wakeley’s “Pixel” dress from her Resort 2017 collection at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Gala for Innovators for a Healthy Planet held at the Beverly Hills home of Jeanne and Tony Pritzker in Los Angeles, California, on March 13, 2017 (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

Freida Pinto looked lovely in blue as she sauntered down the green carpet for UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Gala.

She joined Christina Hendricks and many other celebrities in honoring environmental game-changers Paul G. Allen and Toyota.

Freida Pinto's knee-length cap-sleeve dress boasted a figure-hugging silhouette with striking black contrasting panels, a split neckline, and an exposed rear zip closureFreida Pinto’s knee-length cap-sleeve dress boasted a figure-hugging silhouette with striking black contrasting panels, a split neckline, and an exposed rear zip closure (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

The then-32-year-old actress wore the “Pixel” dress from Amanda Wakeley’s Resort 2017 collection.

This knee-length cap-sleeve dress featured a fitted silhouette, black contrasting panels, a split neckline, and an exposed rear zip closure.

Freida Pinto's beauty was accentuated as she elegantly swept her hair back into a long braid, showcasing her radiant face adorned with warm makeup shadesFreida Pinto’s beauty was accentuated as she elegantly swept her hair back into a long braid, showcasing her radiant face adorned with warm makeup shades (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

Freida swept her hair back into a long braid to show off her gorgeous face and warm makeup shades.

Freida Pinto accessorized with a black clutch and an array of exquisite jewelsFreida Pinto accessorized with a black clutch and an array of exquisite jewels (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

She also accessorized with a black choker, a black clutch, and an assortment of jewels.

Freida Pinto's outfit was perfected with a pair of navy satin pumps from Rupert SandersonFreida Pinto’s outfit was perfected with a pair of navy satin pumps from Rupert Sanderson (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

A pair of navy satin pumps from Rupert Sanderson completed her ensemble.

Freida Pinto's shoes feature smooth navy satin, pointy toes, and an oversized patent buckleFreida Pinto’s shoes feature smooth navy satin, pointy toes, and an oversized patent buckle (Credit: FayesVision / WENN)

The “Etienne” pumps from Rupert Sanderson are finished with a smooth navy satin, pointy toes, and an oversized patent buckle. They added understated elegance to Freida’s simple yet chic look.

Rupert Sanderson “Etienne” Moonlight Embellished Satin Pumps

Rupert Sanderson “Etienne” Moonlight Embellished Satin Pumps

Rupert Sanderson “Etienne” Moonlight Embellished Satin Pumps

Rupert Sanderson “Etienne” Moonlight Embellished Satin PumpsRupert Sanderson “Etienne” Moonlight Embellished Satin Pumps, $635

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