I recently caught up with London shoe designer extraordinaire, Emma Hope. I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Ms. Hope since 2010 when I asked her to consider designing a contemporary shoe based on the work of London Georgian cordwainers for an exhibition.
This time, I was interested in a pair of shoes featured in the current Museum of Fine Arts exhibition “Think Pink” (http://www.mfa.org/news/think_pink)
Emma shared the following regarding the concept and design of the Boho Fuzzy Felt Mules (2005), in the MFA collection.
What was the genesis behind this delightful burst of pink?
The boho fuzzy felt itself came from a little vintage collar I found at a jumble sale which had bullion and felt flowers on. I think we did a bag and some ballets [flats] too, but thought it would be mainly pretty as a boho chic sling [back]. I used to have a rather low-key game box of fuzzy felt animals to stick on when I was little, so I that is how the name came about.
You are well-known for your interest in reviving historic techniques and aesthetics, incorporating them into your contemporary footwear. What were your inspirations for this shoe?
I think the Victorians put an awful lot into embroidery, as seen in the original vintage collar on which the sling is based, perhaps because they didn't have TV as a distraction. There was quite a lot of mental energy to be channelled into creative work.
While we did a couple of colourways, and probably sold more on a black suede base, I think the pink is nice and summery.
About Emma Hope:
Emma Hope grew up in Singapore and England and graduated from The Cordwainers College in London. Currently, there are three Emma Hope shops in London; the first Emma Hope flagship store in Japan opened in 2003 in Roppongi Hills, a leading shopping area in Tokyo. Ms. Hope has designed shoes for Paul Smith, Anna Sui and Mulberry. Her shoes and bags are in over 150 stores worldwide including Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods. All the shoes and bags are made in small, family owned factories in Tuscany, where they are specialists in the finest hand crafted shoe making techniques. Emma Hope likes buying beautiful vintage bags, shoes and gloves at jumble sales and flea markets using them to rework and revive the old techniques of how they were originally made. More: http://www.emmahope.co.uk
About the exhibition:
Think Pink features approximately 70 objects, including dresses, suits, jewelry and accessories by designers such as Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Christian Louboutin and Oscar de la Renta and is complemented by graphic illustrations, photography and paintings. On view through May 26, 2014 in the Museum’s Loring Gallery, Think Pink will also highlight dresses and accessories from the personal collection of the late Evelyn H. Lauder, who was instrumental in creating awareness of breast cancer by choosing the color as a visual reference. More: http://www.mfa.org/news/think_pink