Fetish or Fashion: architecture & shoes

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Urban legend perpetrates the idea of an uncontrollable relationship between women and shoes. Starting with the old woman who lived in a shoe and perhaps ending with Carrie Bradshaw a la Sex and the City, female shoe fetishes have been mythologised.

The old woman who lived in the shoe, despite her well-documented poverty due to reproductive misfortune, had the best architectural intentions at heart.  But sadly some have emulated that tired image of a boot enlarged.

Equally disturbing examples, with updated shoes, can be found in shopping malls, warehouses, and large open spaces, as well as containing multi-storeys.

More recently however, the shoe industry has become enamoured with architecture, with skyscraper heels, and other architectural aspirations.  The one below is the “Omelle Architect Pump.”

But of course the envitable has happened.  The ur-architects of the world, Zaha among them, have been dragged (apparently NOT kicking and screaming) into the glorious world of shoe design.  Zaha has designed shoes for Melissa (Brazil) (the images suggest they come in both shoe-, and architectural-, sizes), and for Lacoste (France).

Even Rem’s nephew (Rem D Koolhaas) – with an architectural career that didn’t quite work out – has started a company United Nude, and is in the shoe-designer business.  His shoes are apparently “inspired by an architectural idea or an existing design object, like a chair.”



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Posted under: Comment | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Fetish or Fashion: architecture & shoes”

  1. m-d Says:

    The shoe thing is something that I will just never ‘get’ I suspect…

    And here’s one that should have been included in the ArchCentre Wanganui tour: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jemsweb/46597634/sizes/l/

    (Kowhai Park)

  2. c-m Says:

    is that the same park as the one with the giant pumpkins? I think some of us did deviate to there. But speaking of deviations and Whanganui it must be time for another out of Wellington trip …

  3. m-d Says:

    No giant pumpkins that I know of… perhaps you’re getting Kowhai Park confused with this: http://www.butterpaper.com/cms/news/149/wellington-airport

  4. guy Says:

    I wonder if the writer of this post is a woman? It seems that both men and women fetishize shoes, albeit in very different ways. Women seem to have this unfathomable need to go and buy shoes all the time, even though they already have more than one pair in the closet already. And then they go and buy men socks – what’s with that !?! A few holes never hurt no body…

    And yet, on the other side of the fetish fence, sits the odd man who gets his rocks off on women’s shoes, and perhaps the legs that are in them. All very odd indeed.

  5. guy Says:

    and one more thing: all those shoe houses are ugly as sin. Really really, nasty-as-a-microsoft-windows-3.1-version-of-clip-art ugly. I bet they were all designed by cranky old men with a shoe fetish rather than a diva like zaha. Or they were misogynists who hated children. Unlike Zaha’s shoe design, which will have all the women swooning….

    Ooooh, aaah, oooh, aaah. Hmmmmm.

  6. batgirl Says:

    perhaps the shoe fetish is actually a fantasy about walking away… this ain’t quite the dream for the old lady in the shoe, but her’s was an ugly old boot.

    do you think one could actually get a foot into Zaha’s? but then i think that of skinny jeans also, obviously just a wus when it come to the thought of discomfort for the sake of an ill-conceived idea about fashion.

    we need more toe boots, a-la ‘Tokyo made’ http://www.tokyomade.com/blog/2007/10/

  7. helen Says:

    Apparently Michael Graves appeared in a 1987 Dexter shoe advert in the New York Times – a kind of pseudo article titled: “The Significance of Classical Structures.” I’m not sure if they were pseudo shoes, or pseudo architecture involved. I haven’t actually seen the ad – but Mark C. Taylor mentions it in his book “Disfiguring” – p. 218 if anyone is interested …

  8. richard Says:

    you are right about architects and shoes. Frank Gehry has also got into designing them – for J.M. Weston

  9. guy Says:

    at a guess: Frank Gehry designed shoes would be found to be unfit for purpose, leak, get dirty, unrepairable, look great but feel really uncomfortable etc etc etc.

    Architects should NOT design shoes. Especially male architects.
    Stick to houses guys….

    Then again: fashion designers should not design houses.

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