Insta-Finds: Mark O'Brien Recycled Cardboard Shoes For Folklore

If you haven't already noticed, I spend a lot of time on Instagram, more so than I have with this poor neglected blog (the 1 billion Facebook paid is well worth it in my opinion)! I'm always randomly coming across cool things on there that I've always thought of sharing, and these adorable cardboard oxfords by British artist Mark O'Brien really kicked me in the butt to start this feature.


Created out of recycled cardboard, as all his pieces are, artist Mark O'Brien made some incredible shoes that are in so many ways cooler than "real" ones. Not just because they're made of cardboard and look exactly like shoes, but his choice in materials with the random box prints make for very cool color swatches and corrugated texture that couldn't really be recreated with leather.



I found these photos on London-based housewares shop, Folklore's Instagram. An independent shop owned by married couple Rob and Danielle Reid, Folklore offers clean, minimal design pieces ranging from upcycled furniture, recycled glassware, hand-carved wood brushes, decor and everything you'd need for your chic, sustainable home and office. 




Mark O'Brien's cardboard shoes were specially made for Folklore for a giveaway contest to celebrate the shop's official opening. But we just missed it by a month! No bother, but these shoes brought me to fall in love with the shop--an eco-conscious, design savvy home decorator's dream. My own fantasy is to one day have not a scrap or screw from Ikea in my home and a couple pieces from Folklore. Now just have to find the right home...

Follow Folklore at "shopfolklore" on Instagram.

LOVE / LUST: Disco to Heavy Metal Heel-Less Platforms

LOVE:

gif animation maker
Rock Star Platforms by Jeffrey Campbell - $195.00 at Nastygal.com
I've been wanting to actually purchase some of these floating Gaga/Guinness-esque platforms for quite sometime, and I think these might be the ones! The metallics and patent leather makes this shoe an ease to drift back and forth between rock n' roll, disco and glam depending how you dress it.

As for my LUST...

LUST:

how to make a gif
The Shadow and Spike Bootie by Jeffrey Campbell - $264.00 at Karmaloop.com
I had to, I just had to. Look at this mess of spikes that's a certain rip-off of previously featured Japanese shoe artist (what he does is truly an art) Noritaka Tatehana. But the little goth teenager in me screams and my wallet starts to shake in fear! I like the patent version as opposed to the regular black leather version because with a design like this, you might as well go ALL THE WAY. I would strongly advise to not wear these with a maxi dress/skirt or long flowy pants since they're bound to get shredded--on the other hand that might be a cool look!

Ooo, experimenting with animated gifs, I like! Leave a comment if these seem a bit too much. :)

Iris Van Herpen's Fang-Soled Shoes and 3D Printed Dresses

Happy (grossly belated) New Year everyone!

I've been all too busy with things, but I had to take a moment aside to share the latest from Dutch visionary designer Iris van Herpen. I've written about how much I lust for her shoe designs, but have unfortunately overlooked her clothing designs. But now that she has my eye, I'm floored
 Here are some selects from van Herpen's SS12 couture collection that she just showed in Paris. If you can believe it, these ensembles are more subdued than her previous collections, but the unbelievable detail and structural ingenuity that van Herpen brings to her designs are nonetheless still present. 

But the real triumph of this collection are these teeth/fang-soled shoes!!
 Are you drooling yet?

Click through to see more

What designer Iris van Herpen seems to understand beyond futuristic colleagues like Gareth Pugh, Hussein Chalayan and Balenciaga (at times), is that the future does not necessarily mean space. Heavily influenced by the endless mysteries of the ocean, van Herpen draws upon the countless, bizarre creatures that live right here on our own planet.
 "Capriole" collection, 2011

 "Escapism" collection, 2011

While imagination depicts life beyond our solar system to be vastly different from ours, the organisms found in the deepest depths of Earth's oceans many times surpass even the most flagrantly wild imaginations. And with the NASA space shuttle launch program coming to an end last year, the vastly unexplored ocean may (and should) become the next frontier in the meantime.
 "Crystallization" collection, 2010

Herpen's collections doesn't come without an engineering mind--architect Daniel Widrig lent his skills to an ongoing collaboration with the designer to create the first 3D printed dresses seen on the runway. What a 3D printing machine does is take a 3D rendered image off the computer, and literally build it out of a plastic, polymer, plaster and other materials. It applies layers upon layers of liquid material until it takes the shape of the rendered image, thus "printing" the shape. Generally used to make machine parts, the process has found its way to fashion thanks to minds like van Herpen and Widrig. There is a plethora of information on how to make and operated your own DIY 3D printer!

These are certainly some jaw-dropping collections to return to fashion blogging for! I'll be more diligent about posting in the next couple weeks, including my 2012 forecast and review of my 2011 forecast; what I hoped would happen vs. how it turned out! And believe me, it did not come out the way I expected...

Check out the rest of Iris van Herpen's collections at her website: www.irisvanherpen.com, and the rest of her recently debuted SS '12 couture collection on A Shaded View of Fashion.



Day 2: Geniune Lady Gaga Platforms from Noritaka Tatehana

So, I started off writing the second of our "12 Days of Xmas" posts about a pair of shoes my friend Dominique of the stunning wedding photography duo Love Me Sailor and I recently saw ("we were ready to pull a bitch by her hair out of the dance cage at Rhondavous for wearing the shoes we had been lusting after"). But after some research, I've discovered something better. MUCH better. Behold, the work of platform shoe artist and Lady Gaga cobbler Noritaka Tatehana


If you can't control your boner for Tatehana's work like I can't...

Click through to read more:


Now, none of Noritaka Tatehana's shoes are for the faint of foot, but I like to think I've been working towards my platform blackbelt. Tatehana's shoes are stunning, gravity-defying explorations of fashion, whose conceptual designs are on the cusp of art. Archival pieces are currently being exhibited at the Comme des Garcons Trading Museum and shop in their Paris and Tokyo locations and Dover Street Market in London.

The young designer (a mere 26 years-old) was born in Japan and mentions his family came into money from the "centre of an entertainment and red-light district in Tokyo". The red-light district inspiration can certainly be seen in his work. Starting at 15, he taught himself fashion design and construction processes, later majoring in dyeing and weaving in college. Currently, every single one of his pieces are hand-executed by Tatehana himself! You can't ask for better craftsmanship for shoes ranging from $2,500 - $4,000. Many designer shoes are already in that price range, but can you imagine how much a shoe completely handmade by Christian Louboutin himself, or Karl Lagerfeld himself would cost??
The man himself, makin' your shoes


While no new collections are up for sale on his site, you can still special order pieces from the Tokyo  Trading Museum Comme des Garcons:

Opening hours AM11:00-PM6:00
2F GYRE Bldg 5-10-1 Jingumae Shibuya Tokyo 1500001, JAPAN
TEL +81 (0) 3 3486 8590 

Aaand for those of you who aren't quite up to task for Tatehana's shoes, or perhaps live in the real world and plan on walking on real streets, copy king Jeffrey Campbell's "Night Walker" shoe is a fantastic alternative for the much more affordable price of $170.00. While Tatehana's pieces are a crash course, Campbell's shoes are a nice, gentle beginner's lesson in footwear ergonomics without being ankle-breakingly dangerous (and nowhere near as gorgeous).

EDIT: My friend Joshua reminded me that Campbell's Night Walkers are a direct reproduction of another platform diva's go-to shoe designer Natacha Marro. That diva? Why self-styling fashion maven Ms. Daphne Guiness of course.


Nicolas Kirkwood Creates Keith Haring Shoe Collection

As respected, revered and repeated as Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat, artist Keith Haring's work has continued to grace us decades after the activist and pop graffiti artist's passing due to AIDs in 1990. His latest art/fashion straddling latest was created by shoe designer and Rodarte darling Nicolas Kirkwood. The English designer takes Haring's iconic interconnected patterns and figures and infuses them with both architectural and humorous shoe designs (knee-high roller skates anyone?).


The artist painting one of his signature patterns


Online fashion, arts and culture site Nowness conducted an interview with Kirkwood about Haring's influence and bringing his work to footwear.


Click through for more photos:




But this isn't Haring's first footwear collaboration. Just last spring Tommy Hilfiger released a capsule collection of sneakers and rainboots for men, women and children in collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation, which assists in AIDs-related and children's charities.


Check out some highlights from the Haring x Kirkwood collection from Kirkwood's boutique launch in London.




  
Personal fave

LOVE / LUST: Stacked Rainbow Platforms x Stud Saturated Boots

LOVE:
Oh Jeffrey, you never miss a beat. Instead of making another made-for-the-masses designer knockoff from the latest season, Campbell went all the way back to 1938, recreating a Ferragamo design made for Judy Garland. While the design may not be as famous as Garland's ruby red slippers rom the Wizard of Oz, the originals were still celebrated in an archival installation last year. I'm torn between Campbell's replicas and the Chica rainbow platforms, which is better?
The $2,500 original (obviously the best). I initially thought they were painted wood platforms, but they're actually wrapped in dyed suede. So posh!


Click through to see my LUST:






LUST:
Handmade Studded Booties - $3,500, Patricia Field
Patricia Field's shoe selection is KILLING it right now. I just about fell out of my chair when my friend Dominique from Love Me Sailor sent me a link to these boots. They're a total mess and practically unwearable and I lust for them like crazy! Perhaps not as violently chic as the Crystal Spike Shoe Harness, but has a post-apocalyptic, robotic glam worthy of Bowie himself (or Optimus Prime if he ever wanted to do runway). The "handmade" tag on these shoes makes my own craftiness start ticking, perhaps I'll be a one-woman Jeffrey Campbell and knock these off myself!

LOVE/LUST: Gaga-esque "Magic" Leopard Platforms

LOVE or LUST?
Magic Leopard Platform - $118, Nasty Gal
When I saw these booties, they just had to have their own LOVE/LUST feature. For $118, less than what most Jeffrey Campbell shoes sell for, it's a steal for the design. But what I'm unsure of is if I'd actually wear them? No doubt I like them, I'm absolutely nuts for them! But could $118 be better spent? With an EIGHT inch heel height, that makes out to $14.75/inch, while most mid-priced shoes would be double the price per inch.







My previous purchase of a 6.25'' platform wedge proved to be ill-made since the arch of the heel is still quite high. Basically when you walk, you have a constant feeling of falling forward. Despite how crazy I am about these shoes, I won't be able to get drunk in them:

"Mercer" by Michael Antonio Studio - $99, Amazon ($15.84/inch)

The "Magic" leopard platforms appear to have a lower arch, the equivalent of a 3.5'' heel (very low in my book). But there could be other difficulties with the "heel" of the sole being so far underneath the foot. I'm crossing my fingers I'll find these downtown in the cheap fashion district for half the price.

What are your thoughts: Would you wear the Magic Leopard Platforms (more than once)?

Style Breakdown: 9 of Spring's Strangest Heels

With the weather starting to warm up, designers are rolling their tan and toe-airing footwear. Scrolling through my trusty online shops, I've noticed an influx of interesting plaforms--some beauties, some beasts. Here's just a handful of Spring's strangest shoe styles.

Click through for more:


Frame by United Nude - $545.00, UnitedNude.com
United Nude has some of the most structually fascinating shoes on the market right now, and no wonder: The line was founded by an architect and shoemaker. I can easily imagine a 50 ft version of these installed in a public space. Modern buildings and modern heels are both in the business of defying gravity, right?
Two Hundred by Ego and Greed - $89.99, Solestruck.com
Dubbed the "flatform" I was surprised to see shoemakers return to the sole that ravers, Spice Girls and Misfits (think creepers) made popular back in 90s. In a sandal, it just feels like treatment for an orthopedic ailment.


Leopard Open Toe Platform by Estelle - $750.00, OpeningCeremony.com
An almost flatform, its not so much the shape as the colors that make me cringe. It's not so much leopard, as it is a block of melted, crispy cheese. Combined with the meaty/bacon-y silk ruffles and shiny surface, these shoes are more fit for a greasy diner than for an equally greasy disco.


Femmes by Gee Wa Wa - $219.95, SoleStruck.com
Despire the oppressively heavy looking platform and the fact it looks like a headless cat cartoon when you squint, this style has a wonderful balance between feminine and badass. Dubbed a "claw" heel, the cut out platform actually reminds me of the Shel Silverstein book The Missing Piece.


Ferme by Jeffrey Campbell - $222.00, Lulus.com
File these under "Are You Serious?" These are true platforms because they look like shoes from the Medieval Times costume closet standing on their own little stages. There's no attempt to blend the two pieces, at least have the suede part of the heel be wood? An awful case of leftovers being tossed together.


Space Wood Wedge Sandal by Minimarket - $369.95, SoleStruck.com
Finally, a stylish solution to Shape-Ups! Ok maybe not, but this salad bowl-round platform is a solution to the chucky wedge without being too clunky. A great Swedish brand, their sunglasses are worth checking out as well.


Monroe Python Wedge by Carin Wester - $348.00, PixieMarket.com
They may not seem strange now, but do a Google Image search on "foot binding" and you'll see why the color and placement of the platform notch weirds me out.



Skate by Jeffrey Campbell - $214.95, SoleStruck.com
I guess the idea was to look like an old fashioned ice skate or sled, but to me it looks like scraps from a rocking chair or door frame. Nice concept, but too This Old House in its execution. Again, another example of Jeffrey Campbell just slapping anything together.
Crystallization by Iris van Herpen x United Nude - $995.00, UnitedNude.com
LUST LUST LUST! We've featured the Iris van Herpen x United Nude Synthesia boot before and had to give props to their other collaboration design. Utterly sexy, utterly unique, this style comes in three colors and also with chains instead of leather laces woven all over. I'm dying, I'm dead.



LOVE / LUST: Patterned Collaboration Wedges For Spring

LOVE:
Julian Louie x Aldo Sobeslava Ikat Wedges - $125, Select Aldo locations (for now)
The tribal patterns blew up in last year's ethnic-inspired spring trends and looks like it's hanging on this year. A collaboration between Aldo and designer Julian Louie, whose reconstructed pieces don't usually favor patterns (think a color-blocked Proenza Schouler), the limited-edition collaboration launched today. Only one style is available online so far (but I'm getting a page error...) and the rest of the 8 styles are for sale at five Aldo flagship locations. The collection will be hitting the rest of stores and online starting April 18th. This is the first of three collaborations Louie has done with Aldo: The Fall 2011 collection in discussion for production and Louie already started on the Spring 2012 collaboration.



LUST:


Loeffler Randall x SUNO Erin Lace-Up Wedge - $645, LoefflerRandall.com
I mean, it's 5.3 inches high, of course this is the Lust! The Aldo wedges look about 4.5'', but no word on that yet. Another great collaboration, this time with shoe line Loeffler Randall and NY-based clothing line SUNO. Both designers have been around under five years and their low-key alliance for Spring 2011 matches well with anything from vintage daisy dukes to classic shirt dresses. Although it seems an unlikely collab, Randall's shy, feminine styles works wonders with SUNO's striking Kenyan-inspired prints.

Jeffrey Campbell 'Lita' Platform: Over The Moon Or Overkill?

Just an observation: Best friend to every girl (who can't afford the designer version), knock-off king Jeffrey Campbell is just cranking out the 'Lita' platform in any conceivable color, material and pattern. And the ladies are still eating them up almost a year since its debut. I could swear in the design room there's someone who said, "My aunt is pulling up her shag carpeting, let's just throw that in there," and voila! The styles shown aren't even all of them, there's probably a dozen more that sold out, then another dozen coming out most likely. It's a great silhouette for a base design, and if my legs were longer / ankles skinnier I'd be all over this style, but when is enough enough?

Click through to read more:



I would however overlook my leg situation for the original 'Dungeon' design (love that name) by clunky platform king Charles Anastase from his Fall 2009 collection. Still, Campbell makes the style much more accessible by toning down both the design and price. Although a quick search reveals the Dungeon shoe might not have even been available for sale. But isn't it just a little irking to see this knockoff being sold in every way possible, Charles?

I can't remember a fad this in-demand with girls across the board since those foam platform thong sandals with the bamboo insoles in middle school, or the Rocket Dog platform sneakers with that fat toe in high school. Sadly, I wasn't cool enough to have either of them, probably still not. I guess it's just smart business to just keep striking that iron to death if there's even a little smoke coming off it.

I made this color grid thanks to my go-to shoe shopping site SoleStruck.com. Click on the image to get a giant version for a desktop background if you so desire!

What are your thoughts on the 'Lita' saturation?

LOVE / LUST: Clear Spikes x McQueen Silhouettes

LOVE:

Sass and Bide Clear Spike Harness Top - $424, Pixie Market
Spring 2011 trend alert: delicate pastel fabrics and clear spikes. We're dying over this combination and the first conception of clear spikes we've seen. That bag of Lite Brite pegs should be put to good use, they're pointy on one side, right? Utter bliss for the femmextremist in all of us, just put the chicken fighting on hold while wearing this.



LUST:

Iris Van Herpen X United Nude Platform Boot - $1,295.95, Solestruck
Everyone's first thought about these beauties is of Alexander McQueen's Armadillo heels of 'Bad Romance' fame, and makes sense as Van Herpen was a McQueen collaborator. But with these, the domed shape is softened by the slatted leather for a springy, more wearable design. Only 100 have been made, so if for some awful reason your bulging wallet passes on the McQueen shoes, your next choice should be these. Buys us a pair too while you're at it babe, size 7.



The Real Housewives of Cybertron - Lernert & Sander Shoe Design

 To celebrate the launch of their new Shoe Galleries, high-end UK department store chain Selfridges hired Dutch artists Lernert & Sander to "take iconic shoe design to surreal extremes." The result is a collection of shoes made from mundane household appliances you'd think were taken straight off the feet of the Transformers' stay-at-home wives. I particularly love the baby pink dishwasher clog--so Candies.
Artists Lernert & Sander plot the demise of a very suspecting chocolate bunny

More after the jump: 
  
With roots in graphic design, industrial design, writing and directing, the duo's colorfully clean and minimal installations and art films with influences from 50s era advertisements present a fun, yet sophisticated approach to their projects.
Washing Machine
Brooms
Dishwasher - FAVE
Dustbusters
Kitchen Counter
Irons
Sewing Machines



LOVE / LUST: Hermes-Inspired

LOVE:

Jeffrey Campbell Meeker Wedge Boot - $154.95 at Solestruck.com

Just when you've purchased one pair of Jeffrey Campbells, there's always a new one wanting to follow you home. I love the subtle winged quality of the wedge, like the winged shoes of the Greek god Hermes (or the Redbull guy if you will).









LUST:

Hermès Kelly Watch - $1,875.00 at Hermes.com

A direct reference to Hermes--obvi--but it's amazing what a little accent can change. Is it just me, or is this watch kinda kinky?