Most of our readers must have remembered Dylan Cao, a young accessories designer based in New York, from our Inside Instagram feature. Now with a degree and the title Designer of The Year for Accessories Design from Parsons University, he is here again to showcase his awarded footwear collection. Simply coating in white, this series of minimal designs reflects the designer’s personal experience as a mental patient. The stark and pristine definition faithfully delivers the sterility of an institution; however in this case, sterility takes on many other layers of complexity. To contrast the monotony, the decision to include the metal heels, as a direct translation of the sterile stools at the facility, is rather clever. Not only that, but they also have a relation to the doctoral equipments, taking on different geometric shapes. The inclusion of screws creates machinery image while the interplay of leather panels gives a newness to the silhouettes. As a whole, it is an experimentation of form and structure, as well as color (or the lack thereof) and material. I especially enjoy the addition of the supporting leather strap on one of the sandals. Even without the apparent appearance of the metal legs, that line adds...
With a French name and a Catalan heart, Deux Souliers is a Barcelona-based footwear brand led by designer Nunu Solsona, who also shares the creative direction with Folch Studio. Deux Soulier advocates a slow fashion spirit and a contemporary craft ideology, prioritizing comfort, quality and responsible manufacturing (every shoe is handmade in Menorca, Spain). The Spring/Summer ’14 collection de-contextualizes classic shoe designs, featuring sandal-shaped and often unisex models with a sophisticated sport aesthetic, and materials like cowhide or clean cotton provide subtle texture to their neutral-toned color palette. Albert Folch, creative director of Folch Studio, shared with us a bit of insight into the process behind the brand’s aesthetics, which he described as reductionist in itself. Deux Souliers means Two Shoes in French – simple as that, a simplicity that is at the core of every byproduct of the brand – from beautifully crafted shoes to advertising campaigns, branding and online presence. The focus is the product, and every aesthetic decision revolves around featuring it in the most straightforward, best possible way. Nunu is also interested in maintaining open door sessions at their studio in order to maintain closeness with the client – in fact, it’s how I had the opportunity to experience first-hand the lovely ethos of the brand. Campaign photography by Teddy Iborra.
KIOMI is a newly established independent German fashion label with seasonal ready-to-wear collections produced throughout the year. Although their collections are not typically minimalistic in their aesthetic, I recently came across their exceptionally simple and stylish high-top shoes. Devoid of any external branding, the KIOMI mark is only featured on the inside sole of the shoe, maintaining a clean and essential appearance. I like this. Designed with 100% genuine leather, these high-tops are available in white, black and brown — the white certainly being the standout choice for me. There is not a lot more you can ask for when it comes to casual and comfortable minimalism in a shoe. Images courtesy of Zalando.
Designer Tom Dixon has collaborated with Adidas to produce an innovative collection known as The Capsule which consists of both apparel and accessories that are multifunctional, utilitarian and modern all at once. Recently featured at Pitti Uomo in Florence and London Design Festival, this project spawn from Dixon’s one experience of having to sleep on a park bench when he could not get a hotel one night in Milan. The idea of having the basic necessities that were transformable to climate and condition inspired this survival kit – being prepared for the unexpected. And what a sharp, smart looking kit it is. With its focus around two pieces of luggage – one hard and one soft, their multiple compartments hold the basic collection of minimal and utilitarian outfits of reversible tops, adjustable pants and customizable shirts where you can cut the hemlines to the desired length. Padded parkas can be turned into sleeping bags, separates that can be assembled by buttons into a one-piece suit, and shoes that come in two parts for ease of storage can be put together by PVC stitch tape. I love that the thought process that went into the function of each piece, and yet remains stylish....
Pure is a new shoe collection by the French architect, Jean Nouvel for the Italian brand, Ruco Line. The minimalist shoe was unveiled at this year’s Milan Design Week gaining great relevance, and strong opinion. This is Nouvel’s first footwear project as he looked for basic and essential lines to apply to the shoe design, which is a characteristic often seen in his architectural work. The result is an incredibly simplistic shoe with a strong identity. Pure is made up of high-quality calf leather with a rubber sole. The collection is available in a variety of colours, including; black, white, yellow and fuchsia. The shoe also features the abbreviated name of the design at the top along with its style, colour code, and date of production.
Australian designer Dion Lee’s 2013 Ready to Wear Fall collection is, in a word, beautiful. As an emerging talent, launched recently into the design scene, first in Australia, and now capturing fans globally, his work is modern verses classic, structured verses fluid, understated verses arresting. His most recent contribution to the world of adornment is his 2013 Ready To Wear Fall 2013 collection, which is a fusion of the evolution of him as designer thus far. Typically known for his feature of neoprene shapes, 3-dimensional printing, recently launching a line with glow-in-the-dark string dresses, this collection is said to have been not as flashy as the last one. However, I see the further experimentation, with the technique of felting wool into mesh, as a continuation of his aesthetic journey. I see the restraint as a obvious development also. He gave a bit of unexpected lift to certain silhouettes. Lee is a rigorous thinker. I am unashamedly in lust with Dion Lee’s work, and rightfully proud of his Australian roots also. Images Courtesy of Style.com
Kent Wang is a small company founded in Austin, Texas dedicated to making high-quality, classic menswear at reasonable prices. Founded in 2007 out of a frustration with the difficulty of finding even basic linen pocket squares at local retailers, they have since expanded into several product lines offering classic, timeless designs. One of my favorite products from their range is the Sneaker white. An absurdly clean design, beautifully finished in leather, make these sneakers into desireable pieces – even for girls! In the 1960-70s, shoemakers used to make simple, minimal shoes like these. Today, they only make excessively sporty designs plastered with logos. Let’s go back to a simpler time. A simpler time, indeed.
Lasso shoes, created by young French designer Gaspard Tiné-Berès, are a thing of simplicity that goes beyond the aesthetics. Made from a single piece of natural wool felt, they are shipped flat, which reduces shipping cost and storage space. The shoes acquire their 3D form through a simple 2D geometry and easy assembly. Here is how designer describes the concept: The slippers are delivered flat-packed for assembly by the user by “sewing” the seams with the standard laces supplied in a colour of their choice. The act of self-assembling the slippers increases the sense of ownership and emotional connection with them and allows for personalisation through the choice of laces used. The Lasso shapes are die-cut from sheets of 5mm thick felt with minimal and affordable tooling - making this product very suitable for small-scale local production. Simple design and simple business idea… A great example of shoestring wisdom! The Lasso shoes go on sale at the Tiné-Berès’ dedicated site starting this September.
The Mojito is a shoe from one single piece. Amazing! The designer, Londoner Julian Hakes, recognized that many parts of a show were unnecessary, as the foot itself has so much of the required strength and support built in. After many hours of sculpting around his own foot, Hakes ended with this single wrapped geometry, somewhat looking like of twist of lime skin – hence the name ‘Mojito’.