Monday, July 12, 2010
In a way it was only natural for United Nude and Iris van Herpen to team up. The former is definitely the most architectural footwear brand around; the latter often injects into her designs striking elements and motifs borrowed from architecture and has recently been working with Dutch firm Benthem Crouwel Architekten, developing a concept that will be unveiled at Amsterdam’s ARCAM in mid-July.
“I was introduced to Iris after I had admired her work,” explains United Nude Creative Director, architect Rem D Koolhaas. “I offered to make shoes for her, as I know that for fashion designers shoes always come as an afterthought and most fashion designers don’t have the resources to get it all done on time.” The results of this collaboration were first seen on the London Fashion Week runway where van Herpen showcased her futuristic Autumn/Winter 2010-11 collection. Entitled “Synesthesia” and inspired by the sensations felt in one part of the body when stimulus is applied to another part, the collection featured designs that altered the inner and outer dimensions of the body’s contours, developing new volumes, shapes and silhouettes, covering and uncovering at the same time the body in architecturally constructed three-dimensional armours that created optical illusions through intricate leather strips highlighted by metallic elements.
The matching shoes that accompanied the collection – black and ivory ankle boots characterised by smooth lines with a golden three-dimensional motif on the upper and on the heel – will soon be available in selected shops. The boots are 100% handmade with high quality Italian kid leather and will be released in a limited edition: there are will be only 240 available worldwide, 168 in black and 72 in ivory. “I think the result of our work together is that of a pure and successful collaboration as Iris’ identity and our expertise and craftsmanship are joined in this marvellous product,” Rem D Koolhaas commented.
This is not the first time United Nude collaborates with a fashion designer: a while back the brand developed a few designs with Antoine Peters, among them also the “Label Shoe”, a perfectly wearable pump integrating a conceptual message about the fashion industry’s excessive use of labels. Van Herpen is at present working on the costumes for a production of Giacomo Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly”, directed by highly esteemed Dutch choreographer Nanine Linning and premiering on 5th September at the Osnabrück Theater. Will this production that mixes opera and dance inspire United Nude a collection of avant-garde dance shoes? Who knows, but you can bet that, if it ever happens, it will be the first architectural dance footwear ever released.
Iris van Herpen’s ankle boots for United Nude will soon be available from exclusive retailers and United Nude concept stores in Amsterdam, New York, Shanghai and Vienna.
O.k., I get the concept, and actually find it appealing. While I don't like making comparisons, this collection brings the late Alexander McQueen to mind.