The S/S 09 collections saw shoes take a greater prominence than before, not least because of a few high profile wobbles (at Rodarte and Prada) that made the news. This season saw footwear designers stretch their imagination and creativity to the furthest limits, yielding treasures that were fetishistic, intimidating, fantastical, occasionally gravity-defying and ultimately elevated its wearer from mere mortal to warrior woman.
Dazed Digital got an exclusive preview of the S/S 09 collections from four of our favourite shoe designers.
When It girl Daisy Lowe, post breakup with Mark Ronson, declared that her Alejandro Ingelmo patent-leather heels were so hot, “you want to perform intercourse with them”, she was merely highlighting the sizzling sex appeal of the footwear of this Cuban-American designer. With a CFDA Vogue Fund nomination under his belt and a collaboration with Roksanda Illincic underway, S/S 09 sees Ingelmo take his femme fatale shoes to new extremes.
Why did you go into designing shoes?
I have a very strong family history in the shoe business. I come from 4 generations of shoe cobblers, so it is definitely in my blood. My grandfather built a shoe empire in pre-Castro Havana. My grandfather and I are very similar in a lot of ways, from our design view point to the way we both believe in fine hand craftsmanship. While attending Parson's, I enrolled in a shoe design class as an elective, and that was then that my passion for shoe design began. It just felt natural for me.
Tell us the inspiration for S/S 09.
The idea behind my spring collection was to create purely feminine silhouettes with a contrasting edge. I offered beautiful pumps, Mary Janes and peep toe sling back booties in nude, baby pink, baby blue and dove grey to give softness. I then gave these styles the edge by adding bullet hardware to all of the straps. My favorite silhouette in the collection is a 140 mm platform heel that literally forms to your foot like a cage. I love it because you are not sure what it is when you see it. Is it a boot? Is it a sandal? I call it the Preying Mantis because it really is a man eater shoe!
Tell us some of the materials you have used for the new season.
I always use leather, which is one thing I really stand by along with fine craftsmanship. I just feel like a shoe is not a shoe if it is not made from the best most luxurious leather. This season I used vitello leather, patent, a beautiful snake skin, and a woven metallic fabrication. The woven metallic is actually hand woven from two different metallic textures to give it double the dimension.
What kind of woman do you see wearing your shoes?
The AI girl is a working girl, she is out in the world making things happen. She is not at home baking cookies, she is powerful and confident in her own right.
How high is too high?
140 mm platform heels are my best selling classification! It is what I am becoming known for. To me, a woman looks best in a high silhouette because it elongates the legs. I make sure though when designing that the woman is comfortable in my platforms. Even though the platform is high, the pitch never goes past a 100 mm, so she never feels like she is falling forward. I also make sure the width of the platform itself is substantial so that the base feels completely supportive.