In fashion, Britta Kröger has seen and done it all. The statuesque beauty, born in a small village in Germany, modelled in Paris for designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and founded a high-end apparel line before becoming a fashion buyer for the Canadian department store chain La Maison Simons for many years.
A true style-setter and an avid collector of beautiful footwear, Kröger was the ideal candidate to road test Kiki Price’s Alternative Energy pump. Its colourful oil-wash print and distinctive, embroidered design is an ideal fit with her confident approach to fashion and eye-catching personal aesthetic.
Ahead, Kröger styles our signature heels with favourite pieces from her own wardrobe, and shares stories and tips from her storied career in fashion.
What are you wearing with your new Kiki Price shoes?
“I adore these pumps because they are going to go with anything from my wardrobe—I could wear them with a pair of Bermuda jeans, a beautiful dress, or khaki-coloured overalls. Here, I’ve easily pulled together three looks. For the casual look I am wearing a Simons button up by Icône and jeans by Contemporaine, the casual-chic belted dress is LEMAIRE and my chic cocktail dress is by MARNI, both from Simons.
What makes a great shoe, in your opinion?
“I have about 200 pairs of shoes in my closet, and there are a lot of shoes in there I cannot wear anymore. I just look at them, like a museum. Shoes are a love story for me, for sure. When I lived in Paris, in the morning I would choose my shoes first and then I will choose my outfit for the day. For other people, the shoe finishes—for me, my wardrobe starts with the shoe. I'm looking forward to getting back to this.
“As I’ve gotten older, my feet have changed. And I can’t wear the same shoes anymore; some heels are too uncomfortable. With Kiki Price, I saw that the different designs are fun, which is nice because pumps can be so boring and really ugly. With these, everything's perfect, because it creates a long, slim foot and the heel is perfection. And the comfort is important, because you don't want to wear shoes that you want to throw at the wall after an hour.”
Did you always appreciate fashion growing up?
“I don't know where my interest in fashion came from, but it was definitely a calling. I grew up in a little tiny town of 27,000 inhabitants, a real village. And my mother was a very beautiful woman, who would always be compared to Grace Kelly when she was young. She was very classic and elegant, but she appreciated the little things.
“Also, I just always liked fashion magazines. And because we didn't have many shops with funky clothes, I just bought fabric and sewed clothes for myself. It was the Fiorucci era, and so I would go and find fabric with huge turquoise and gray houndstooth patterns and make large pants out of it.”
How would you describe your style?
“I don't have a very specific style, it’s actually quite eclectic. I always say I'm a fashion victim, and I'm very proud to be one. Some women stick with a very precise style. Me, I'm amazed at anything new, and am very much into really fashionable things. I love fun, colourful and eccentric fashion, but there has to also be some elegance.
“I'm not shy. One of my fashion icons is definitely Iris Apfel, and she's totally over-the-top but it's great. I’m the person telling my friends to always pack an evening dress for travel, because you never know! My philosophy with fashion is just to go for it, and don’t worry about what other people might think.
“I worked in fashion for 35 years, so I do enjoy making a little statement when I dress up. Not to stick out, but when I wear something, I'm actually celebrating fashion. For me, fashion is an art, so I like to celebrate it and wear it. When you work in fashion, you shouldn’t be afraid of looking ridiculous or going overboard.”
Are there designers that you’re quite drawn to?
“The one designer which over the years I've always liked, because I think he designs for taller women as he's from Belgium, is Dries Van Noten. I also really like Lemaire. I actually watched his career evolve when he started in Paris. And then he worked for Hermes, where he really got the education of quality. Since then, his own brand has become much stronger.
“I like Marimekko as well, because it's very cool. It's summery and the prints are amazing and colourful. You can wear their designs with sandals or heeled boots or running shoes. It’s rare to find brands where you can do this and still have the outfit look special, because their prints are so amazing.”
You’ve worked in so many roles in the fashion industry—as a model, designer and buyer—how have these experiences influenced your approach to fashion?
“I’ve always held a commercial approach, thinking of fashion as something that should be wearable and also affordable. As a model in Paris, I worked for Jean Paul Gaultier, for example, for several seasons. And even back then I would always show clients like Joyce Ma, who founded Joyce in Hong Kong, different ways to mix the pret-a-porter and have fun with the clothes.
“And when I met my former husband, whose family was one of the biggest fabric wholesalers in Paris, he encouraged me to open my own line and private design label. He said, ‘Listen, you have great taste, a good sense of business, and a good eye. Why don't you just go for it.’ And so I did, and my work was picked up by stores like Harrods, Bloomingdales, Henri Bendel, and even Joyce.”
Is there a style tip you’ve received that has always stuck with you?
“The one thing you have to have in your wardrobe is a great trench coat. I have at least six. Burberry, 3.1 Phillip Lim, an old one from Valentino and a Jean Paul Gaultier one with removable sleeves. I have an amazing one from Cédric Charlier that I haven’t worn yet because I bought it in 2019; it looks a little bit like the trench coat of Sherlock Holmes, with a huge cape over it.”
“Personally, I am quite tall, so I love large pants and awesome prints. But if I wear bottoms with a big print on it, for example, I might balance the look with a black sweater, to tone it down av bit.”
“Confidence pulls any look together. I never shy away from what I feel like wearing and my husband Peter is my biggest fan, he supports all my little eccentricities. One of the many reasons I love him so much!”