Raphael Young: Footwear For The Fierce

Meghan Cleary

Raphael Young is taking things up a notch. With a well-built team of partners in key cities from New York to Tokyo, marketing and PR headquarters in Paris and a devoted cult following around the world, Young is positioned to leverage his fanatical following into a truly global footwear business.

Young was first inspired to design shoes at the tender age of 14 after attending his first haute couture show. Trained under his uncle Alexandre Narcy, who was the head of Yves Saint Laurent’s shoe studio for 40 years, he even received some key advice from Mr. Laurent himself: “keep it simple.” He went on to work at various design houses in Italy before starting his own line.

These days, Young pays close attention to balance, proportion and physics as he handcrafts his own wooden lasts, which are paired with a proprietary sole material. The resulting comfort factor makes fashionistas salivate. His fierce Barbarella-inspired designs feature aggressive Space Age architectural silhouettes paired with gleaming metallic leathers and a genius take on the almond shaped toe box. All you have to do is put a pair on to rule the world.

—Meghan Cleary