3 posts tagged "Raphael Young"
In terms of fashion pet peeves, few things are so cringe-worthy as a woman wearing heels she can’t handle. Some (certain Paris Vogue editors and street style stars come to mind) have the ability to glide by in six-plus inches, while others are forced into an awful hobble accompanied by an appropriately pained expression.
For the latter, it’s heartening to see shoe designers addressing the not-so-sexy issue of comfort. In Paris, I went to see shoe label Aperlaï, whose designer, the very stylish Alessandra Lanvin, doesn’t want you to have to stow a pair of Repetto BB’s in your bag in case you can’t find a taxi. “In Paris, we walk everywhere,” said Lanvin. “You should be able to do that in your heels.” Her techniques include padding the sole where the ball of the foot rests and creating a heel that’s essentially an elongated pyramid with the top lopped off. It reads spindly but is secretly sturdy. And seeing as Lanvin produces in the same Italian factory as Alaïa and Prada, these ideas are all but guaranteed to have excellent execution. The master cobblers were also able to sew raffia into leather for a gorgeous grouping for Spring 2011 (above left). Other collection highlights: the classic spectator recast in mesh and leather with a flash of color, and slingbacks in navy silk faille that tie up like a gift.
Then there’s Korean-born designer Raphael Young, whose in-your-face fierce aesthetic would lead you to believe that the idea of a comfortable heel would be completely anathema (below left). But Young, who this week opened his first boutique (at 23 Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau, in the first arrondissement), grew up exposed to the ne plus ultra of cobbling craftsmanship. His uncle (through his adoptive French family) is Alexandre Narcy, who set up the shoe studio at Yves Saint Laurent. During a visit to Young’s boutique, the designer revealed that he’ll soon unveil a patented technology that makes 110-mm shoes feel like your Nikes. Here’s to the end of the High-Heel Hobble.
Fashion insiders have been whispering the name Raphael Young to each other for a few seasons now. No wonder—the Seoul-born, Paris-based shoe designer, who worked at Yves Saint Laurent prior to launching his eponymous label two years ago, creates elegant, futuristic footwear that inspires cultlike devotion. French devotees—and lucky international editors—can get their fill when Young’s collection of bags and shoes for Le Tanneur arrives in stores just in time for Paris fashion week. But New York is getting a dose of Young, too: He’s designed a special pair for Frank Tell’s Fall collection. It hits the runway tonight, and he’s giving Style.com a sneak preview.
Up-and-comer Raphael Young throws around a handful of adjectives when describing his footwear—rock ‘n’ roll, punk, haute couture—but they’re all just dressing for the main modifier: sexy. “Women are the fantasy of men,” Young, who hails from Paris, told Style.com. “But the relationship isn’t reciprocal. The woman is dominant.” With this righteous imbalance in mind, Young’s A/W 2009 collection—which will be on view today through March 8 at Tranoï in the Carrousel du Louvre—of metallic-finished, aluminum-heeled shoes and boots looks like urban armor, weapons you can wear out to dinner. Though vertiginous, Young insists his wares won’t leave women longing for flats. After all, the designer also has a physics degree—for him, equilibrium is as important as aesthetics. “There are over 50 components that go into making the shoe,” he explained. “It’s a very long process. They’re actually quite comfortable.” Young, who has collaborated with Louise Goldin and Manish Arora and spent two years designing under Yves Saint Laurent, finds as much inspiration in Art Nouveau and comic books as he does in the battle of the sexes. Just don’t expect him to exploit the retro stylings of yesteryear anytime soon. “I wanted something futuristic,” he says of his latest outing. “You have to think about what women will be wearing 40, 50 years from now.” Long live Raphael Young.