Marla Marchant. Bridges to other worlds.
Classic shapes, repulsive beauty and stunning creativity in footwear.
Welcome to Shoe Pr0n.
You won't find any dainty strappy numbers, flip flops, or gladiator sandals here. If you think Uggs or Crocs are acceptable forms of footwear, we probably won't get along. There are a million shoe blogs out there, but as this one is curated by me it is obviously going to be full of fabulous things.
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.
A two-designer label launched in 2004 and based in Berlin, Miroike is the artchild of Ulrike Seidel and Ramiro Calderoan. The two studied under Dame V. Westwood, and their deconstructionist attitude towards footwear is a wonderful nod to her aesthetic sensibilities.
Until recently I hadn’t heard of them, but I’ll be keeping an eye on their work from now on.
I’m still trying to track down the original designer of these amazing shoes, but just like today, nameless designers work under a large brand that gets all the recognition.
These are from the 1940s, people. 1940s! And manufactuered by Shaftesbury Shoes Ltd. These look pretty innovative now; can you imagine how exciting they were in the 40s? Platform pellets of color. A sexy heel and peep toe.
McQueen. Better than a pearl necklace.
Not thrilled with the 90s heel shape, but the weight of the design and the square toe offset it enough to not look unbalanced.
Super high-heeled shoes in Exotique magazine, 1950s.
Wrapped and strapped.
The hidden platform inside the boot is the only reason you could walk in this. See the slight shadow of a heel shape on the red leather? I suspect there is a built up internal wedge, otherwise the lack of flexibility in the heady platform would make it impossible to do anything short of shuffle.