New Shoe Books for 2016. Each year some of the people who give me gifts uncover some of the best books about shoes. This year I got two great ones just in time for the winter weather. Grab a hot cuppa, cozy up inside, peruse and dream. Heavenly.
Shoe Innovations A Visual Celebration of 60 Styles by Caroline Cox explores the history of shoe design through 60 iconic styles. Each style features a written contextualization and photo catalog. Great for learning styles, understanding the fashion cycle and inspiration.
Everyone knows about Louboutin’s signature red sole, but check out these artful renditions soles that feed your soul. Decorated soles are ephemeral delights for the wearer. When they are gone, they are gone, or maybe not.
My first pair of shoes with decorated soles are by Morenatom, a brazilian shoe design company. Aside from the fantastic sustainable colored and textured uppers and a wooden heel, this sole features several sperm on an egg hunt. This little surprise gives me a giggle everytime I wear them. The bonus? Sometimes others get a peek when I cross my legs.
Various methods and approaches are used to create the sole – dying, painting, color blocking, etching, carving, patina. Петр Пилипук a hand-made shoe designer carved and added patina to these. These are delightful together and apart. I love the addition of leather to the shoe bag as well. A great package.
You can add an interesting sole, or replace one as well. Worn to Reborn is the vision of a young English decorative shoe repairman who will resole your shoes with your personal vision. Spiderman, Shrek, Bilbo Baggins, no problem. He concentrates his efforts on the waist of the shoe so you can keep most of the design. No website, but you can follow him on instagram if you like.
Irregular Choice has been one of the most inspired and unique shoe companies since 1999. Offering creative shoes at an affordable price, influenced by fantasy and travel, predominantly in Asia and Japan, Dan Sullivan hit the news wire this week with the introduction of the Star Wars collection featuring styles that reference the Jedi, Darth Vadar, the Death Star, Chewbacca, C-P30, Yoda and more. Many styles are sold out. Get what’s left while they last.
Sullivan doesn’t follow fashion trends or competitive brands. His philosophy is to be original and create stand out shoes. Using ornate heels (like the R2D2 featured on the Star Wars shoe), charms, and interesting color and textural combinations, Sullivan creates over 600 styles each year.
Irregular Choice is one of my favorite brands for statement shoes. I own a couple of booties that suit my style. They invite comments whenever I wear them. They add a little Asian to my style. Let them work a little magic on yours.
Shoes that Grow is finally taking off. I found this story in one of my favorite trend reports, Springwise. I receive a weekly email and often find topics for my FashionMatters radio show. This past Sunday they got a great placement on the Today show. This is one that can make all shoe lovers feel good.
Director, Kenton Lee began working on this project while living and working in Kenya in 2007. He observed many children who had shoes that did not fit, or worse, no shoes at all. This lead to contraction of disease and improper foot development. He asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that would expand as a child grew?”
And then he answered. The result is an expandable shoe that will grow 5 sizes and last 5 years. They come in 2 initial sizes, Small for kids 5-9 and Large for kids 10-14. The sole is compressed Rubber. The shoe is made from leather with a series of snaps and a buckle that allow it to grow as the child’s feet grow. It is small and compact, making it easy to pack. 50 pairs of smalls fit in one suitcase and weighs 50 pounds.
There are many ways to get involved. You can buy a pair for $50 and the organization will donate 2 to children in need. You can fill a duffle, help fundraise, or just donate. This is “practical compassion” at its best. Make a donation in the name of each of your shoe loving friends this holiday season.
This week we return to my shoe making journey that is coming to an end and my shoe is born. With heels fixed we attached our soles. These are known as Louis soles as they cover the bottom of the shoe and wrap around the inside of the heel. The shoe is then finished with a heel cap.
I’d like to take a short aside here to note that I chose a kitten heel which is about 2″. The heel height is determined by the last, but you can push the height a bit giving you a range of heel options. My last was made for about at 3″ heel. My choice of 2″ heel gives my shoe more toe spring, meaning the toe angles up a bit. I personally like the look and feel of a bit more toe spring so this is a win for me.
With the lasting complete, we can take a good look at my pumps and see how I fared. You can really see the metallic leather wrinkling. That leather just did not want to become a shoe! This was a great lesson for me about hides and leathers. There are so many places where leather can go wrong. The animal could have had a poor hide. The tanning process could have contributed. The finishing process (adding the metallic) could have contributed. I was too far down the road in a structured class to fix it, so I will wear them proudly. I don’t think anyone will be on the floor checking them out that closely.
So ends this shoe making journey and my time in Ashland, Oregon with Bonney & Wills. I can’t wait to get into my studio and practice.