Oscar's stars will have jeweled feet. Footwear designer Sonda Choy explains how the nominees get shod and what trends are hot this year
Kate Winslet
Credit: Kate Winslet: Adam Houghton/Anita Weber/Capital Pictures/Retna

For the past few weeks, it’s been all about which actress will win what, which director was snubbed, and what studio marketed its nominees better. But now that the Oscars are just a few hours away, let’s get down to the real issue: shoes. Great dress, hair, and makeup? They’re nothing without the appropriate footwear. Enter Sonda Choy, head designer for Jimmy Choo who flies in once a year to Los Angeles for a marathon week of celeb consulting. We caught up with her for a few minutes between foot fittings at the Peninsula Hotel where she holds court during the week.

What will we be seeing that’s different this year?
Last year was all about painting the shoes, and this year we’ve upgraded. We’re playing with sparkly numbers. Everyone is talking diamonds and semi-precious stones. People want the real thing. The idea of doing shoe jewelry has been floating around for ages between [Choo owner] Tamara Mellon and myself. But we could never find the right match until we found jeweler Sasha Ratiu. She’s coordinating all the jewelry.

You’re giving away shoes with diamonds on them?
We’re not giving away. We’re loaning away. People who borrow shoes with diamonds have to return them. Hopefully afterwards we’ll auction them off at charity events — so there’s a good cause.

Do you know yet who’ll be wearing your shoes?
We don’t know yet, but in the past so many people have worn them. Hillary Swank, Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry, all the Kates — Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Kate Hudson.

What’s the process for an actress getting her shoes?
She comes in here or her stylist comes in. We see the color of the dress, the length, the jewelry she’s gotten, the handbag. It all needs to be discussed. She might not want jewelry on her feet — maybe only on her necklace. She might not want her toes to be showing. Plus, the weather is going to be bad this year so people have issues with that. Then, there’s how many outfits she’s got. The big ones have five, and the second tier usually have three options. We’re here to do a service and help them find the right shoe.

When does the insanity officially begin for you?
It started this morning. It was 11 a.m., and next thing I knew it was 3:30. I was invited to a party on Saturday, and I just said, I don’t think so. Saturday will be an all-nighter for me. I’ll be here with this amazing man, Jack, who will help us with changing heel heights, sewing on stones, and fixing straps.

And Monday morning when all this is over?
After all the diamonds are returned? I’m going shopping.