Russian-born Max Kibardin initially studied architecture, but felt the tug of fashion, leading him to move from Moscow to Milan in the late ’90s. But architecture was not completely left behind in the exodus to his new discipline, shoe design: in his first collection Kibardin has managed to retain features of structural engineering. Kibardin’s shoe towers are ergonomically correct, solid, angular, and balanced by the roundness of the toe (a pervasive feature in the collection). His statuesque creations have fluid lines, and they take powerful command of the eye, moving it along the body of the shoe and up the heel to marvel in its sculptural splendor. From high heels to wedges and kitten heels, Kibardin creations are characters unto themselves: there is Veronica with her shorter-heeled cousin Vera; likewise the shoe-femmes Catherine and Cathy. With such whimsy, Kibardin highlights the relationship between women and the shoes they love, almost making them friends or confidantes. Metallic reds and blues, blacks, grays, and pastels comprise the rich and saturated colors in this collection that’s not yet for sale.
Gwendolyn Carrié’s move into shoe design from investment banking wasn’t as giant a leap as you might imagine. Carrié was always aware of the powerful impact of sexy and feminine shoes and the detail required to create them. Having worked in the luxury retail sector, the designer also had an understanding of trends, patterns, and fabrics. So when she decided two seasons ago that shoes were her calling, it was only natural that she create a collection that mastered all three. Taking us on a multicultural journey, Carrié’s s/s ’06 collection comes packed with wedges, ballet flats, and vertiginous heels featuring details such as wooden stars on coral and yellow lizard skin, gold lamé, mother-of-pearl strips dangling from sandals, exotic fish skins, and other sumptuous embellishments. All of it well assembled and chic, Carrié’s product belies her neophyte status. The line currently sells at Ava Maria in Dublin, La Vetrina de Beryl in Milan and Milk in Los Angeles.
Spanish lines such as Camper and Panama Jack are known for comfort and practicality. Two-year-old Laetitia’s upholds such traditions but is evolved from an entirely different aesthetic. Designer Laetitia has carved a niche for extremely fashionable shoes designed around the shape of the toe. Imagine if you didn’t have to wedge your toes into the pointy front of those trusty Manolos? Though devotees swear by Manolos’ comfort, Laetitia felt something was amiss when faced with fitting the approximately four-inch expanse of the foot into a one-inch area. This led her to create a fit around the foot that is less restrictive: no more sores and bad posture! And a shoe shape that’s rather edgy.
- Njide Ugboma
1-3 Max Kibardin s/s ’06
4-5 Gwendolyn Carrie s/s ’06
6-7 Laeticia’s s/s ’06