When my friend Tjasa rang me up to spread the word about the presentation of a new brand of footwear, bags and jewellery, she told me to expect an invitation by email. The name alone – ‘What’s More Alive Than You’ was enough to get me out of bed early so that I could be one of the first to see the collection of unusual footwear and accessories on show at Circolo della Stampa, a palatial old building on Corso Venezia in Milan.
Each unusual design was temptingly served up in the centre of a white plate on a long dinner table and it took me a few minutes to understand the concept and the collection which is in fact a gathering of designs by twelve talented young artists from around the world. Their originality and creative flair takes fine form in Italy where artisans hand produce each item to precision and renowned Italian quality just as the designer envisioned. Leaning strongly towards trendy and contemporary, these edgy pairs come in bold colour combinations of blue, red and even yellow leather cut into chunky geometric shapes.
French designer, Florance Giraud’s ‘Madame Guillotine’ pairs are every bit as fascinating as they are bizarre. The platform is chopped off underneath the toe and even the heel is sliced down the middle. You have to have pretty feet with perfect toes to step into the ‘Guardando il Muro’ pair by Italy’s Lucia Pontremoli. It has a two thin straps which allow the foot to be over-exposed and a 5cm heel upper which promises hours of easy walking. My choice awards go to Italian, Christian Barato, for his reinterpretation of the classic stiletto sandal as well as Swedish designer, Lisa Fredrika Åslund whose interesting heels are attached to open-toe sandals and a closed-toe decolette shoe. Lisa explained that her ‘Recycle Shoes’ were inspired by a chair outside her boyfriend’s apartment. Someone had tossed the crumbling chair out and the block pieces of wood opened the floodgate to ideas.
The collection will be available for purchase from January 2013 both online and in selected international stores.