At first glance, a Triptych creation is a boot. Then you look again and realize that maybe, with those cutouts, it’s a sandal. But actually, as Tania Ursomarzo points out, it’s neither. According to the New York City-based designer and Parsons professor, her Italian-made shoes “operate at the intersection of innovative design and masterful artisanship.
As a young girl growing up in Finland, Terhi Polkki dreamed of one day working in fashion. But it was only after getting a weekend job at a shoe store that she realized she wasn’t only interested in hemlines, but rather what lay south of them. “I began to appreciate that shoes are more fascinating objects than garments,” she recalls. This newfound interest led to her calling a local shoe factory looking for work experience, and the opportunity to see firsthand how shoes are made was all it took to seal her career fate. She completed her B.A.
Not one for habitually following trend forecasting reports, British designer Terry De Havilland made a rare exception for his recent spring collection. “I had a tipoff that my designs from the ’70s were part of a heavy-duty prediction chart,” says the designer, who made a splash that decade with his strappy Margaux platform wedge. Instead of watching copycats reinterpret his work, De Havilland beat them to the punch and knocked himself off. “My ’70s styles are what my customers want so that’s what I’m giving them,” he explains.
Jeff Halmos, one-half of the CFDA award-winning creative firm Shipley & Halmos, says there’s an unwritten rule that if he or design partner Sam Shipley wouldn’t wear it, they won’t make it. It’s a guideline that’s helped actualize a focused (just three styles) and well-received debut collection of men’s footwear for fall and is providing the framework for the duo’s Spring ’12 collection.
Titan designer Celine Ouaknine, also known as The Shoe Girl to savvy fashion blog readers, has a pulse on what footwear fiends want. Since 2008, she’s given her readers a peek into the demanding and ever-changing world of shoe design. “It’s super fun and I feel a special connection with my readers. We’re all just a bunch of shoe lovers, just hanging out,” she says. That
insider knowledge, and her own obsession with shoes, kick started the launch of Ouaknine’s own line Cece L’amour for spring.