This past week was definitely one of hard work with our upcoming deadline for our final collection on Thursday, August 2. Since the last time I wrote about my project, things have changed. My concept took a bit of a turn during my visit to the National Gallery about two weeks ago. As I explored the many rooms of the museum, I came across a small gallery filled with still-life paintings of beautiful baroque bouquets. I immediately fell in love with these dynamic compositions with muted, organic-looking color palettes, so I figured, why not make this the inspiration for my footwear collection?
I took pictures and close-ups of the pieces, capturing the silhouettes that the artist had captured with such care and detailed. I knew that, even if it meant starting from scratch with my concept, being totally in love with it meant that the final outcome was going to be better. It also filled my aesthetic as someone coming from the Caribbean, who looks at nature and organic sources for a lot of inspiration, given the environment I was raised in. I also started thinking about this untangible concept of finding these places embedded with tradition in such a cosmopolitan, modern city like London. This may sound cheesy, but this city carries it’s past with it, yet doesn’t fall behind. The people are constantly looking for something new but still take pride in their traditions. This, in some way, reflects what I live by everyday as a Puerto Rican abroad: someone who moves forward, but carries the past with her. This idea of bringing the old and the classical with the contemporary became the base of my visual research before finally deciding on my line-up.
For my palette and materials, I wanted to portray this naturalism and sentimentalism that was portrayed in these painting, yet adding a modern touch with chunky stilettos, dynamic platform silhouettes and vinyl details. Therefore, I stuck with mostly colored, textured leather for the upper and wood for the sole. I also wanted my shoes to be made for both comfort and style, given the busy lifestyle of my customer.
Details of the Stella Platform Sandal. The bottom of the platform is meant to be etched in this deep, long scoops all around, and the wood coated with a dark green matte tone.
17A Final Collection
The name 17A refers to the gallery number where these bouquets are exhibited
*(Painting in header by Rachel Ruysch, a Dutch, still-life painter)*
My final line-up consists of six shoes that can be dressed up or dressed down depending on the outfit. All of them have wooden soles, some even coated with shades of red and green to match the color palette, and some with etched details in at the heel. For the upper, I designed overlapped strips and straps of leather and vinyl. Also, since this is a Spring Summer collection, I decided to take the “strappy sandal” trend to the next level, with leather straps coming in all sorts of direction. I’m very happy with the outcome, and with how much I learned in just two months! Finishing the program gave me a bittersweet feeling: I grew to love London, yet I’m also excited for what’s coming, and finally spending time with my family back home!