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Rachel Roy: "A Shoe That Is 100% Sexy Isn't Modern"

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Rachel Roy via Getty

Like her mentor Manolo Blahnik, Rachel Roy likes to play with materials and textures when it comes to footwear. For her first Rachel Roy shoe collection (not to be confused with the lower-priced Roy line), the designer mixes materials like wool, suede, and snakeskin with bold prints like animal, polka dots, and gingham. We sat down with Roy to discuss the collection, which, of course, led to her ideas on Blahnik, her definition of sexy, and why your shouldn't wear shoes that hurt. Here are some highlights.—Alison Brownrigg

On the importance of shoes that don't hurt: "Shoes provide structure. They can carry your outfit. How your shoes makes you feel literally, physically, is how you then carry yourself and how you treat people. We can have on an amazingly beautiful pair of shoes, but as soon as our feet hurt, we shut down. You can only last so long when you're that uncomfortable."

On sexy shoes: "For me, shoes should be equal parts strong and sexy. I'm not interested in just a sexy shoes and I'm also not interested in just a strong shoe. I think that the combination of both really speaks to women and the many hats that we wear throughout the day in our personal and professional life. That balance is really important to me. I don't believe you're modern unless you mix. A shoe that is 100% sexy, in my opinion, isn't modern. Women who are truly sexy have balance."

On respect: "I started my collection in 2005 and when you start literally at the bottom and work your way up, it's a combination of feeling very thankful for the next step, and being used to hearing 'no.' Manolo Blahnik created shoes for my very first collection. I was a total unknown and he was my number one choice on a very short list. When he said yes, I gained so much admiration and respect for his generosity. Mr. Blahnik sticks to his strong point of view and gives women what he can do best and what he believes in. One season I wanted platforms and Mr. Blahnik doesn't do platforms. There was a compromise with our collaboration that taught me to have that strength of integrity. No matter what trends are going on, don't buy into them unless they're truly you."

On integrity in design: "Rachel Roy is the woman that I aspire to be. We have our best days—I design for those, and sometimes the clothes help me get there. I want women to know that when I'm designing I try to have as much integrity as I can. I try everything on myself. I only put out there what I believe will make people feel good—like three layers of padding in the shoes."

Rachel Roy Collection shoes are available at Nordstrom and on

· Rachel Roy Follows in Mentor Manolo Blahnik's Footsteps, Introduces Shoe Line [Racked]
· Rachel Roy Suggests that You Take it Easy for Spring 2013 [Racked]
· Buyer's Remorse: Rachel Roy Really Hopes No One Has Photos of Her Wearing These [Racked]