Cult Shoes

They say you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes.

Cult Shoes cover
Cult Shoes cover

But what do shoes tell us about the designers that created them?

Swedish Hasbeens poster

Source: copyright Swedish Hasbeens

Swedish Hasbeens poster

New book Cult Shoes, by fashion journalist Harriet Walker, delved into some of the most iconic footwear brands we know and love, offering an insight into the methods behind creating them and the stunning poster designs that helped sell them.

Birkenstock poster

Source: courtesy of Birkenstock

Birkenstock poster

Designed by Merrell designer Alexandre Coco, the beautiful tome looks at 30 famous names that have commanded an especially devoted following, including Charlotte Olympia, Roger Vivier and Nicholas Kirkwood; as well as brands including Conversa, Clarks, Havianas and Ugg.

Pretty Ballerinas poster

Source: courtesy of Pretty Ballerinas

Pretty Ballerinas poster

Whatever you think of said brands, there’s no doubt that each has come to represent something far greater than their practical use – whether it’s Converse’s rock ‘n’roll credentials or Ugg’s ubiquitous squelchiness.

Camper poster

Source: copyright Camper

Camper poster

Cult Shoes examines the brands’ history and best-known designs, such as the subtly sensual scarlet red pumps by Repetto, worn by bombshell Brigitte Bardot in 1956 film …And God Created Woman.

Pierre Hardy shoes

Source: copyright Pierre Hardy

Pierre Hardy shoes

There’s also a wealth of features on themes such as collectors, subcultures and the influence of Sex and the City on what we put on our tootsies.

Birkenstock poster

Source: courtesy of Birkenstock

Birkenstock poster

And on perusing the incredible designs, it was tough for Design Week to stifle Bonfire Night-style oohs and aahs – especially when confronted with the incredible architectural leanings of the creations by Danish designer Camilla Skovgaard, the playfully erotic Louboutin designs, as celebrated earlier this year at the Design Museum and the vertiginous (and often heelless) pieces by Lady Gaga-favourite Natacha Marro.

Camper poster

Source: copyright Camper

Camper poster

Walker says that with shoes, ‘it is not the destination that matters, but the elegant or extreme, classic or cartoonish mode of transportation that you choose.’

And her book provides a gloriously pictorial explanation of why.

Pretty Ballerinas

Source: Pretty Ballerinas

Pretty Ballerinas

Cult Shoes is published on 29 October by Merrell Publishers priced £29.99

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