Shoe Showmeister Returns

>> The return of shoe designer/couturier Benoit M√©l√©ard has been talked up in various places (Dazed, but I've not seen these particular specimens out and about yet – the outre showpieces that in a way connects with what M√©l√©ard has done in the past. If you don't know the name, the shoes will come to you through past collections when he was designing for the likes of Alexander McQueen, Helmut Lang and Jeremy Scott.  In 1997, he then launched his own collection of experimental shoes, thus being the first to give his shoes their own catwalk show.  More commercial collections came along but a quick Google search mostly yields his more out there designs that I suppose added early impetus to the editorial shoe extremes that the likes of Nicholas Kirkwood and Atalanta Weller both indulged in at the beginning of their careers.  His website ain't up but a return has arriveth with his S/S 11 collection entitled 'Manifest'.



The collection is mainly a tribute to American shoe designer Beth Levine (designed under her husband's name Herbert Levine), another experimental shoe forefigure, who that isn't widely known unless you've happed upon her pieces through exhibitions, even though she's often referred to as 'The First Lady of American Shoe Design'.  Her signature elastic straight line is taken from the inside of the heel and moved to run down the front of the foot by M√©l√©ard which is all tastefully referential, but the only thing I'm taking away from this comeback collection is the fact that he has used a great deal of grey jersey.  Me thinks it's also grey marl.  Grey.  Marl.  Jersey.  How did this escape me when I first looked at this collection?  Perhaps it was the bright shade of grey.  Perhaps it was how taut the jersey has been pulled into shape of the shoe.  The realisation has now dawned on me and specifically these chunky specimens below will need to try and make the arduous journey from a random stockist somewhere (let's hope stores have taken note of M√©l√©ard's return to business…) into the centre of the grey jersey drawer that I kowtow to on a daily basis…


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Going back to a Beth Levine-related note though, I was particularly fascinated by her Kabuki shoe, first designed in 1959 and re-issued in various colours and fabrics thereafter.  It also cleverly slots into the Japanese-inspired slant that many shoes decided to take in their various twists and turns for S/S 11 (Chanel, Acne, Kenzo are just a few that come to mind…) and its simplicity of form is startlingly relevant.  Ebay probably isn't going to be my friend and neither is vintage sizing (Levine had size 35 feet!) but I'll be on the look out for any Herbert Levine labels out there from now on…




24 Replies to “Shoe Showmeister Returns”

  1. The Kabuki shoes are indeed beautiful, but I’m totally in awe of the second ones down. I can’t even imagine trying to walk in those, but I would love to own them anyway.

  2. I like the Benoit Méléard shoes but at the same time they give me Naruto/cosplay vibes which feels a little corny. I really dig the wooden soles though. The Beth Levine are awesome, especially the last periwinkle colored pair with what looked like brush stroke polka dots. I would love to get my hands on those!

  3. Forgive my poor spelling and grammar, I should proof-read my comments more often! I also wanted to add that the Marc Jacobs Japanese inspired shoes from a couple of seasons ago also have some similarities to the Beth Levine shoes, maybe he was directly inspired by them too?

  4. these are odd and lovely!! I love the ones with the giant wood circles!! really cool!! check out my looks and inspiration at:

  5. ı hate to be a mısery but ı cannot stand shoes lıke these. they are truly ugly ın my eyes and ıf a shoe ıs to be a bıt outlandısh ı thınk ıt needs to be amazıng such as alexander mcqueens creatıons. these are just weırd for the sake of ıt. rant over!

  6. Margief: Of course you’re not being a misery! The top ones aren’t really my cup of tea either but they’re there to illustrate Meleard’s style of old… I do like the grey jersey ones though in line with his collection which are actually most wearable…

  7. I feel like I can totally design a house based on one of these pairs of amazingly awesome shoes.
    I felt like shoes is kind of an understand. How about artful foot garb? Yes, I like that.

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