Pollini may not be a shoe label with a widely known history or heritage but it does have one and atemporary exhibit entitled "Unpacking 60 Years of Pollini", which was feted today exploited all possible elements that would reveal this shoe and leather goods company's background. What made it particularly interesting was to have the involvement of editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman (haven't devoured the new issue yet but the cover is mighty enticing, no?) and creative digital producer Jane Audas (she has a very sweet blog about the subject of Shelf Appeal), as co-curators of the exhibition. There was also striking graphic support from Veronica Ditting, who is responsible for the distinctive art direction of both The Gentlewoman and Fantastic Man. All of those background forces combined with the ever-directional designs of Nicholas Kirkwood, who has been creative director of Pollini since 2010, made for a satisfying and fun way of exploring Pollini's history.
A ramshackle pile of shoe boxes sat in the middle of the room with archive pairs of Pollini shoes popping up from past decades and you immediately notice that they mostly display practical and chunky heels as Pollini catered to the "modern" woman. These were shoes made for walking. That "sturdiness" is something that Kirkwood has definitely drawn from for his current designs. At the bottom of the shoe box pile was the current A/W 13-4 collection, which immediately gets my vote for its mix of textures, colours and most importantly heel shapes, which I know can pound the pavement properly.
In a special reinvention project, Kirkwood took the original 1977 Pollini "Cavaliere" boot and reinterpreted them for six of his ideal Pollini icons – Monica Vitti, Grace Jones, David Bowie, Ellen von Unwerth, Patty Hearst and Lena Dunham. No doubt, Dunham's character in Girls would approve of the "wrong" deliberate clash of prints on the boots because she dares to go braless with a yellow string vest.
Upstairs, you could get some vivid neon orange and Yves Klein blue nail wraps done as well as get in on the "Pollini Social Club" action by getting your Polaroid snapped with a pair of Pollini's on. Naturally I went for the pair of flatform sandals with the flashes of braided neon. Few shoe brand birthdays get this many facets to its party so for that, I commend Martin, Audas and the Pollini team for squeezing as much out of its 60 year history as possible.