French architect Jean Nouvel unveiled a pair of leather and rubber boots in Milan last week. The architect calls the shoes “Pure” and states that the design “reduces the concept of a shoe to its purest form”.
I would argue that this is not the purest form a shoe can take. Different shoes come with different intentions, meanings, and uses, and to say that this is the only pure concept of footwear is a little naive.
Shoes are no longer utilitarian in nature. I appreciate what Nouvel has done here, even though this was a very masculine viewpoint to take. I love a good flat shoe, and I love a good minimalist approach. But many women would agree that a shoe in its purest form is not a monochromatic heavy-soled rubber/leather bootie.
Shoes have evolved along with culture. Just the other day I was writing about the history of the platform shoe, and how both practicality and ego played key roles in developing over hundreds of years what could now be written off as just a fad.
My point is simply that shoes have more meanings than Nouvel addressed with thie project, and many shoes have a long history that shaped them into what they are now.
Creative though they may be, Nouvel’s shoes are not the penultimate representation of footwear.