LFW Fyodor Golan show

Fyodor Golan is a London design duo known for their vibrant clours, eclectic cuts, unexpected shapes infusing sportswear aesthetics to modern luxury womenswear  and playing with kitch themes, while exploring contrasts.
For example last year they had a set-up at the Selfridges, expressing well their playfullness and joy for life.

unicorn

Their latest show at London Fashion Week was no exception to that. Based around the idea of comparing high and low culture, such as Botticelli´s “Birth of Venus” and Coca-Cola imagery, just to name a few. Colours were bright, sometimes even neon or sparkling with Swarowski crystals, balanced out with a few darker hues. Very interesting technique was combinig not only high and low cultural ideas, but also translating the same concept into fabrics, contrasting luxurious velvet with trashy looking fraying edged fabric finish.
Fyodor Golan´s colourful and playful approach is surely original next to more uniformly “wearable” designers´ works.

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My new total favorite model Yana Dobroliubova from Moscow expressed the edginess of the collection really well.
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Shiny gold and silver brogue shoes were added by my good friend footwear designer Luke Grant-Muller.

If you are interested in getting a pair, here´s a discount code: R1 to get £50 off!

Shoes – pain or pleasure?

“Shoes – pleasure and pain” exhibition at V&A Museum captures the dream of a millipede, giving a good overview of footwear development trends throughout the centuries, the extremes and the eccentrics of the shoe-world.

They say the shoes often possess the power to transform the person who is wearing them – be it height or comfort wise, status wise(making it impossible to walk in, so have to be carried around) or even give the person magic powers, if you think of Cinderella, Puss in Boots or the red shoes that never stopped dancing. Just like an outfit(or even more so) a pair of shoes gives the wearer a role to play.
The exhibition with over 200 pairs of  shoes to display, looks back as far as 2000 years.

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Represented is the footwear of many famous people(famous by their shoes or otherwise), works of numerous famous footwear designers, as well as less known oddities.
Beautiful, sculptural objects are explored within the terms of “Transformation”, “Status”, “Seduction”, etc.
Making of a pair of shoes is examined step by step.
The exhibition also looks to the future(that is already present today) to the realm of computer aided design and 3D printed footwear.

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Being a shoe designer and maker myself, of course I couldn´t attend the exhibition without wearing some of my own experimental work.

Toe-heel shoes by Õun Design visiting V&A Shoes exhibition

If I was to suggest V&A to add some more avant garde designs, here is my pick from most outrageous Õun Design collections, designed and made by my own little hands:

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Riina O – who and why?

I have been asked to tell a bit more about the background of Riina O and how it all started.

I was born and raised in the outskirts of Europe, a small country, with distinctive identity, called Estonia, in its beautiful capital Tallinn – a place very dear to me!
When I was 17 years old I got this vision of shoes with a wide strap twirling up the leg. This idea possessed me so that I just had to find a way to make them. I contacted local footwear factory, who were quite amused about a teenager coming to them with such request, but very helpful, and with a bit of their help made a pair of strappy sandals. Then it was settled – I had to become a shoe designer!

I went on to do a degree in leather art and accessories design at Estonian Academy of Arts. As part of the course i was also introduced to glove design. During my studies I was working 4 years as an apprentice at an orthopedic footwear workshop, with a chance to learn bespoke footwear making and realize all my crazy ideas under my experimental label of Õun Design.

After graduation I moved to London to do an internship with footwear designer Caroline Groves and later with a leather accessory designer Una Burke. Following year I started working with local designers, which lead to creating my new brand Riina O.

Drama magazine
Drama mag, gloves by Riina O

Why did I decide to start a new label? Õun Design was experimental and avant garde, while Riina O has a much more refined and feminine visual language. Besides, turned out nobody could really pronounce the name properly outside Estonia.

Why leather?
Back when my foremost  interest was footwear design, this seemed like the right material to work with. I have got to know this natural material´s character, advantages and the possibilities it offers. Controversially I have been vegetarian for almost a decade, while working with leather. I see it as a way to “reincarnate” the animal skin as a bag, pair of shoes or gloves and in a way give it “a new life”.

Why gloves?
Riina OWhile bespoke footwear making requires a whole workshop and several machines, hand making leather gloves can be done almost anywhere. I remember one summer working on a deadline for glove order while travelling across Europe – hand stitching on the train and in coffee shops.

Also there was a gap in the market in London for luxury hand made leather gloves as it is a very time consuming and almost extinct trade with just a handful of skilled people left. This lead me to work with several high end fashion designers in London and abroad as a glove maker, with hand stitched gloves appearing in their catwalk shows.

It is important for me to keep the glove making tradition going, combing the old craft with modern technological advantages. Based in London, we are trying to keep the production local, sourcing leathers from within Europe.

At the moment footwear design has been put on hold, but hopefully to be taken up again one day. Before that though Riina O will be introducing other products of leather accessories, featuring already in our next collection for Spring/Summer 16.