Martha Davis' Golden Prospect

The West Coast has long been associated with the entrepreneurial spirit—back to the settlers of the 1800′s. San Francisco designer Martha Davis harnesses this energy in her debut footwear collection, titled California. The series of edgy yet functional designs come in colors that evoke the regional landscape—charcoal, taupe, eggplant—but her aesthetic concept is rooted in product and architectural design. “I’m much more interested in working with form than with decoration,” Davis explains.

Having studied sculpture and industrial design at Cornell and RISD, Davis has also done extensive work as a patented product designer (her work has even appeared in the permanent collections of institutions such as New York’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum). Inspired to take on fresh challenges, Davis went to Italy where she enrolled at the world renowned Ars Sutoria program in Milan where she learned about footwear engineering and working with factories, before launching her own line.

“I think of shoes as architecture for the feet—both share a similar purpose of protection, organization and style,” she says. “I’d look at the way the materials come together and say, what can I do with what I have?”

In a fashion field increasingly concerned with trends, the California collection adheres to classic principles for confident, sensuous apparel. Davis is obviously in good company—her shoes are manufactured alongside footwear for Chloé and Chanel—while keeping her feet on the ground. Surely this is how the West was won.

—David Stuchbury

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