Former Toronto resident Tanya Heath has created a revolutionary adjustable height shoe and removable heel system that allows women to swap out the heel on their shoes to suit their day. All pieces are made in Paris, where Heath is based, but she always stays connected to Toronto.
What inspired your trademark removable heel?
I’m not an engineer and I knew nothing about shoes. I didn’t even know if it would be possible to make a multi-height shoe. In the beginning, it wasn’t even clear to me that the heel would be removable. The removable heel imposed itself early on as the most fashionable way of doing this.
How have the collections evolved?
For our very first collection all of the heels exactly matched the leathers. This was until one of our customers called us and said that she loved the shoes but found the heels boring. She wanted a pink heel. I remember taking a heel into the courtyard and spray-painting it pink. To this day, I can’t get enough of all the shoe/heel combinations.
Why do you make all the shoes in France?
The shoes are very complicated and take longer to make than regular shoes. I also insist on French and Italian leathers, both for quality and ethical reasons. I also visit the factories frequently. Last summer I bought France’s leading heel factory, which is located near Angers.
What is your go-to shoe?
For the summer collection, my favourite shoes are Beya and Blondie. Beya is a dance-inspired salomé that I can walk everywhere in. Blondie is a super comfortable sandal that is versatile enough to wear to the office or a weekend around town. I love the way Blondie can be dressed up or down with a heel click, and it’s easy to colour block the heels.
Where can your shoes be found in Toronto?
At the Tanya Heath Paris boutique in Yorkville at 138 Cumberland Lane. We just won the Canada Retail Challenge, and for the month of May we have a pop-up store in Yorkdale mall right across from Coach.
When did you first become interested in fashion?
My great grandmother was at the head of a fashion empire. She created suits and coats and her sister created dresses. They sold their clothes throughout Europe and North America. Knowing that two young girls from Alsace had successfully created a fashion empire inspired me.