Australian bespoke footwear brand Shoes of Prey has been delivering one of a kind kicks to shoe aficionados since 2009. From sky-high heels to sole-saving flats, anyone can dream up their perfect style starting at $140, which can be shipped anywhere in the world in just four weeks. Genius? Yes. Dangerous? Very.
In honor of NYFW and their collaborative nature, Shoes of Prey teamed up with three cult-favorite designers—Jonathan Simkhai, Mandy Coon (pictured), and Gretchen Jones—to produce custom footwear for their SS13 collections. I swung by the Coon show at MADE Fashion Week in Milk Studios yesterday to peep the results and, as expected, I was floored by the construction of each individual style. Innovative touches like metal inserts on ankle cuff flats and steel caps on wedge booties paired well with Coon’s phenomenal futuristic aesthetic this season. I was especially enamored with the snakeskin and fish skin stilettos, which featured binding ankle wraps that I wouldn’t mind being strapped in forever.
Season nine of Art Basel Miami Beach kicks off December 2, which means you’ll be jumping on a plane to check out the country’s greatest art show any day now. While you’re busy planning which exhibits and parties to hit, we’ll be here counting down to the big event with some art-inspired features. To get things started, here’s a roundup of awesome art-meets-fashion items available at Opening Ceremony.
1. Mismo – AnOther & Colette x Peter Pilotto Mismo Shopper. AnOther Magazine and Paris boutique Colette’s collaborative project with womenswear designer Peter Pilotto takes this classic bag to the next level, thanks to Pilotto’s signature 3D print. $315.
2. Vilac – Keith Haring Chair. The renowned French toy company was provided with a number of New York artist Keith Haring’s iconic pieces, which produced a brilliant children’s chair that’s guaranteed to become a collector’s item. $155.
3. Mandy Coon – Ginny Leather Bunny Bag. The New York model-turned-DJ-turned-designer’s leather bunny-shaped bag is cute, a little creepy, and a fun conversation piece. $435.
4. Marina Abramović – The Artist is Present. Known as the “grandmother of performance art,” this must-have retrospective traces the prolific career of Marina Abramović, whose work spans over four decades of installations, solo performances, and work with longtime collaborator Ulay. $50.
5. Art Production Fund – Elizabeth Peyton Towel. Elizabeth Peyton’s towel version of her Sid Vicious charcoal drawing was produced as part of Art Production Fund and WOW (Works on Whatever)’s Artist Towel Series, which debuted at Art Basel Miami in 2008. $95.
6. Aurel Schmidt for OC – P Tee. 2010 Whitney Biennial artist (and Art Basel fixture) Aurel Schmidt’s exclusive letter tees for Opening Ceremony are based off of the Ace Hotel shop sign she created, which spells out the hotel’s name in beer, blood, and other junk. $60.
Following in the footsteps of Google’s revelatory e-shop announcement earlier this week are two new e-commerce sites stocking exclusive fashions. Both are based out of NYC but follow unique virtual retail paths. Fabricly is working with burgeoning designers, which means consumers can both offer feedback on designs and “vote” for their favorites, as well as score stock at reasonable prices. The model is relatively simple. As Fabricly puts it, “Fabricly is here to help you get the clothes you want. Designers submit designs, you vote, and Fabricly produces.” The first sale up is Oh! x Fabricly (a capsule collection from designer Ostwald Helgason—brother of Fabricly’s founder Ari Helgason—who sells his UK-produced garments at the likes of Opening Ceremony) and features a decidedly Jean Seberg-circa-Breathless theme. Read: it’s chock-full of ’60s silhouettes and sailor stripes and is best paired with a pixie cut. But the real selling point here is broader than the collections themselves. Fabricly is allowing young designers exceptional exposure and simultaneously granting shoppers an unprecedented amount of influence over the fashion they choose to purchase.
Meanwhile Of a Kind is a new retail destination following a slightly different model. All stock sold is likewise created exclusively for the site, the first installation of which is courtesy of Mandy Coon (to be followed by Lizzie Fortunato). Of a Kind, however, is putting its energy into creating according editorial for the designers it carries. Take for instance three separate features on Mandy Coon that would easily feel at home in the pages of Lucky or Elle. As for the designs themselves? “Every item sold on the site is limited-edition—and was designed exclusively for Of a Kind. With editions ranging in size from five to 50 pieces, you have the opportunity to own something truly special and collectible.” While the similarities between the two fresh e-shops are uncanny, both are forging new territory in a relatively uncharted market (limited-edition fashion sold exclusively online). In the world of innovative virtual retail, there’s definitely room for both.
After many months of cryptic promotion, Tumblr’s first shopping site, Of a Kind, launched today. It’s the first online boutique of its kind, merging the social connectivity of Tumblr with underground and emerging designers, and presenting limited runs of one exclusive item per week. Today’s debut also unveiled the Bunny Bag by Mandy Coon, the first piece in Of a Kind’s collection, which is limited to 30 of a kind.
Each week, Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, the team behind OaK, will fill the site with editorial content about the designer, to give a more intimate context to the item. Tumblr’s extensive fashion community is seemingly the perfect audience to market such small batches in the age of the flash sale. If a double rainbow can go viral, so can a bunny bag.
“A reversible tank top. Why does no one do that?” wondered Mandy Coon. So she made one. “It’s something that I had been really wanting.” This sort of innovation characterizes the 33-year-old designer’s edgy, structural, self-named line, which launched during last season’s New York Fashion Week. Coon began as a DJ with friends in high places. In February of 2008, when she was better known in New York as one half of 2 Mandy DJs, her dramatic black bowl cut inspired YSL to send a parade of ravenbobbed models down its runway. (“It was actually very weird,” says Coon, who was at the show.)
Deciding to make the jump into fashion,Coon apprenticed for Danish designer Camilla Staerk for a few seasons. One day, Coon says her boss “walked up to me and gave me a piece of paper with the contacts for the fashion calendar. She said, ‘You’re going to do a presentation next season.’” And so Coon did.
Through her inventive, geometric designs—one dress unzips to become a top and a skirt—Coon aspires to make things that she hasn’t already seen out there. Her interest in the new fashion frontier even extends to canine couture. “I would love to do a clothing line for dogs,” she says, laughing, and then goes on to describe the silver lamé cape she crafted for her French bulldog, Petunia.
Photo by Billy Kid. Hair Charlie Taylor. Makeup Lauren Whitworth using YSL Beauté.
With all the emphasis fashion has put on recycling and shopping one’s closet as a result of the recession, it’s little surprise that the concept has had a very literal effect on what designers are crafting for their spring collections. A dominant theme of a number of collections for spring is wearability by way of convertability. In a recent post, Refinery 29 makes note of designers from Rachel Roy to Macy’s and Lutz and Patmos, to Complex Geometries and Harputs Own, including at least one piece in their respective collections that at the very least doubles or triples as different garments. And they’re not the first.
Innovation maven Norma Kamali could be dubbed the queen of convertability when it comes to fashion. As is evident in the clothes she’s currently hawking exclusively on eBay, Kamali is synonymous with clothes that can be worn a number of ways (for instance, her convertible gown can be worn as up to 6 different dresses). Mandy Coon — the DJ-turned-designer who debuted on the scene with her namesake collection this September at New York Fashion week — launched quite a few multi-functional designs in the mix. Coon’s collection included reversible tanks as well as zipper dresses that could be disassembled and worn as a jacket with sleeves either short or long. Shelley Steffee too has answered convertible clothing’s call to arms with a SS10 collection that includes reversible jackets and shirt dresses that can be worn more than one way. And, last but not least, today Cool Hunting pointed to a knitwear brand called Sartoria Vico that has applied the same concepts to shirts-cum-skirts and sweaters-cum-scarves. To echo Coutorture’s take on Steffee’s collection, which applies to all of the above: “although Steffee has been doing the thoughtful, multifunctional fashion thing for a long time, it’s never seemed quite so relevant and felt quite as urgent.”