Check these: amazing UV reactive wedge sandals by one of the UK’s most iconic shoemakers Terry de Havilland, decorated with all sorts of graffiti-esque Bacchanalia by illustrator Rob Flowers as part of the de Havilland’s ongoing series of artist collaborations. I invited Rob to talk about the shoes. This is what he said …
‘I’ve known Terry for quite a few years now (we’re both from Barking), ever since he started making shoes for my girlfriend [fashion theorist, performance artist and DJ] Amber Butchart (read an interview with her here). He’s even named a pair after her so when he mentioned he was starting an artist collaboration series, I jumped at the chance.
This is the first time I’ve worked with shoes and getting my head around how the design would wrap around the shoe was a challenge; the shape and size constraints are something you have to be aware of. I wanted the design to be a showcase of my work – Terry calls the project ‘walking billboards’ – so I had to think about it in those terms. Terry supplied me with a paper template and a last of the shoe. I work digitally so I printed out tests as I went along and wrapped them around the shoe to give me an idea of how they’d look.
Folklore, myths and legends are a big influence on my work. I love the unknown and the mystical, the idea that there’s lands, creatures and phenomena that we haven’t discovered yet really appeals to me. So once I got the template from Terry, I knew I wanted to do a kind of Pagan festival-themed design, with characters dancing around the shoes. Terry was really open to ideas and was happy for me to run riot, which was great fun. I sent them updates as I went along and, at every stage, Terry and his wife Liz were super-excited – which made me even more excited to work on it! The shoes being UV reactive was actually an accident of the digital print process. Terry discovered it one day in a darkened room. I didn’t know they were UV reactive until he showed me under a backlight but I think it adds to the fantastical nature of the design. I really love to see different applications for my work so when Terry showed me the shoes at his amazing studio, it was awesome!’
Find out more about Terry de Havilland: http://www.tdhcouture.com/history.php
Find out more about Rob Flowers: http://robflowers.co.uk/ABOUT
Want to buy the shoes? Commission only. www.tdhcouture.com