Dylan Cao’s Footwear Collection

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 a characteristic to a bounded foot, which fits the designer’s intention wonderfully:

[The collection] is meant to portray a feeling of constraint and the vision of someone being wrapped up in blankets and hospital gowns, with their limbs always bound up in devices.

Photography by Huy Luong