* 07.02.1942, Swiss, Shoe designer
I meet Walter Steiger in his showroom on Avenue Matignon in Paris. He is in high spirits, as he always is, wearing a black sweater with black pants and his signature glasses he designed himself with the thick black frame. He talks about his beginnings and confesses that the only reason he became a shoe designer was because he was so very bad at school and did not have any other options. He laughs when he says this but wants me to believe it by repeating it three times. Walter left his home country at the age of twenty to live in Paris and later London. He tells me that he always had a ‘very good life’, an ‘easy life’, a life that he enjoyed very much. I like to believe that by deciding to spend his time on things he loved and cared about, his life was not a struggle, but a pleasant and creative journey through the great decades of the 20th century.
Walter Steiger was born on February 7th, 1942 in Geneva, eldest son of Walter Steiger Senior, a talented shoemaker, specialized in ski boots. He expressed an interest in art and design and started working with his father at a very young age. In 1958, he became an apprentice at the prestigious house of Molnar Bottier to learn the traditional techniques. Walter moved to Paris in 1962 to work for Bally Design and relocated one year later to ‘Swinging London’ where he designed for Mary Quant and collaborated with Helmut Newton, Lady Rendelsham, Vogue, Harper’s and Michelangelo Antonioni for his iconic film "Blow Up".
In 1967, Steiger returned to Paris to present his first collection. Its success led him to collaborate with Ungaro, Nina Ricci, Sonia Rykiel, Maison Chloé, Calvin Klein, Claude Montana, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass, Kenzo, Alaïa, Karl Lagerfeld, Akris and Victoria Beckham.
Walter Steiger's aesthetic sensibility has mainly been influenced by the “Swinging London” of the 1960’s which contributed to his constant desire for novelty and modernism, and lead him to search for the most effortlessly elegant designs. His artistic philosophy consists in researching the most harmonious proportions in a shoe to produce iconic timeless creations.
Walter Steiger is widowed, has two sons, one daughter and lives in Ferrara, Italy.