Terry de Havilland
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Terrence Higgins (21 March 1938 – 27 November 2019), known professionally as Terry de Havilland, was an English shoe designer, often cited as the ‘Rock n Roll Cobbler of the 1970s’ and is most famed for his key part in the ‘Swinging London’ fashion scene, with clients including Marianne Faithfull, Led Zeppelin, Bianca Jagger and David Bowie. His platforms are still worn today by the likes of Kate Moss.
Terry de Havilland
21 March 1938
|Died||27 November 2019 (aged 81)|
|Terry de Havilland|
|Spouse(s)||Liz de Havilland|
Terry de Havilland was born in London into a family of cobblers and was quite young when his parents started their own company, Waverley Shoes. He was already assisting in the workshop at the age of five. Their company catered to wealthy West End clientele and showgirls from the city’s busy theatres, producing highly popular winklepickers that were selling faster than his father could make them.
In 1960, while Terry de Havilland was living in Rome and working as an actor with a new stage name, he was called back to help with the business. His first pair of self-designed shoes came to the attention of a boutique on the Kings Road in 1964, where they were spotted on the feet of his girlfriend at the time, model Perin Lewis, at a photoshoot. They caught the eye of Queen editor Annie Traherne, who featured them in the magazine and launched the career of de Havilland as a designer.
A regular at the hotspots of late 1960s London, de Havilland was caught up in the new and exciting world of the creative scene; a blur of mind-altering drugs. After rifling through his father’s attic, he discovered a pair of three-tiered wedges that were so familiar to him from his childhood. He took the design and began to make up new pairs in psychedelic snakeskin colours, which aligned with the ‘trippy’ fashions of the era. His snakeskin shoes helped to bring the top models and movie stars to Kensington Market. The Jolly Boy stall sold the fabulous shoes and as quickly as they were picked up from the factory they were sold.
On 4 May 1970, his father was killed after being accidentally electrocuted in his factory. de Havilland did not abandon the brand, but went on to open his own store ‘Cobblers to the World’ on the Kings Road in 1972, with the company doing fourteen trade shows a year. He was making shoes for everyone from Tim Curry in The Rocky Horror Picture Show to leather thigh high boots for Jackie O.
The company was forced into liquidiation in 1979. Inspired by the emerging subculture of Punks and Goths, de Havilland set up a new label entitled ‘Kamikazi’ in 1980, providing street-style shoes featuring skulls, studs and spikes. After the collapse of ‘Kamikaze’ in 1988, the Terry de Havilland name went on to take the guise of ‘Magic Shoes’, featuring platform styles and latex boots that proved popular with the clubbers of the 1990s. de Havilland met his future wife Liz in 1990, a textile designer, who helped to build up the brand which by the mid 90s was being stocked by major UK retailers. The company was forced into liquidation, again, in 1999, unable to compete on the global marketplace.
The de Havillands then opened ‘Cobblers to the World’ in Camden Stables Market; a reimagination of the de Havilland seventies heyday combined with a fetish touch, that was visited by stylists, costume designers and eclectic clientele. The company was now producing shoes for international fashion publications and blockbuster film productions, but Terry de Havilland suffered a minor heart attack on Christmas Eve in 2001, and the shop was closed the following February to ensure he could focus on editorial work and rebuild the de Havilland brand.
Terry de Havilland opened a pop-up flagship store in London in 2013.
de Havilland died aged 81 on November 27, 2019.
In 2006, Terry de Havilland was nominated as Accessory Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards and in 2010 was awarded a Drapers Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to footwear design over the last fifty years.
- "Terry de Havilland, the 'rock'n'roll cobbler', dies aged 81". The Guardian. 29 November 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
- "Terry de Havilland arrives in Carnaby". Carnaby News.
- Betts, Hannah (11 July 2011). "Terry de Havilland interview". Telegraph. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
- Wiseman, Eva (28 April 2013). "High society: shoe designer Terry de Havilland". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
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- Boucher, Caroline (7 October 2006). "What I know about women: Terry de Havilland, shoe designer". the Guardian. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
- "Who's Who: Terry de Havilland". Vogue. 11 May 2011.
- Davies, Katie (12 December 2014). "Terry de Havilland looks back at glittering career after opening Newcastle store". The Journal. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
- "Terry de Havilland Interview". Drapers. 29 May 2010.