Tuesday, March 9, 2010

sex on heels: United Nude's spring/summer 2010 collection

by frédérik sisa

Or should that be sex AS heels?

United Nude strikes again with their spring/summer 2010 collection, an expansion of founder Rem D. Koolhaas and Galahad Clark’s distinctively architectural design style. Building on their work with iconic shoes MOBIUS and EAMZ, newcomers to the collection include FRAME…
…which is sibling to the equally captivating COSMO (just look a that twisting shape!):
These are, of course, directly inspired by a building’s structural frame, and the result is stunning. I tend to frown on precarious shoes. There’s nothing especially appealing about seeing a woman strut like a clumsy giraffe in shoes about to crumple in on themselves. The cleverness of these high-heeled sandals, like UN footwear, lies in the structural engineering, a balance that, like a cantilever, creates an illusion of instability but is in fact very robust. So forget frowning on precarious; hello to smart design that yields evocative aesthetics.

Other notables include CUP, seen below in its buckle configuration with an elastic upper and mid-height heel. As the name describes, the defining feature is the smooth and sculpture cup that cradles the heel. I really dig the black and white contrast, although they do have other, very nice colours and patterns.
Here is GRAFFITI, which features the brand name in a three-dimensional pattern embroidered on a platform peep-toe. Not my particular favourite – peep toes are to me what clogs are to Aqua, although I don’t get so nauseated about it – but certainly interesting as an example of designer street fashion.
CORAL is a lovely perforated flat. It’s available in nine colours and made of lightweight EVA. Admittedly, I’m skeptical about the comfort of synthetic materials like EVA – I still can’t quite figure out how Melissa’s Plastic Dreams gets any traction. But it must be comfortable to many or the material wouldn’t be popular. Regardless, this space-age cutie seems like a winner to me as an alternative to the traditional ballet flat.

I’d say “finally,” but all this is really the tip of the iceberg. I did want to mention the LABEL shoe, which is the result of a collaboration between United Nude and Dutch-fashion designer Antoine Peters, the fella behind the A SWEATER FOR THE WORLD project in which he takes pictures of people inside a two-person sweater. Admittedly, my classical preferences chafe a bit at his hipster-pop aesthetic, but the label shoe does poke some nice fun at the designer habit of plastering branding on everything.
But I don’t know, ladies. Would you wear it?

Just so I don’t leave you on such an ambiguous note, I can’t resist drawing your attention to a flat from the BLOCK collection. The concept is abstract yet sublime; the better side of modern art. A block is merged with the shoe, in this case a ballet flat, yielding an unconventional and very striking silhouette. It’s like the thinking person’s shoe dipped in chocolate. (No, I’m not sure where that dreadful metaphor came from.)
To see the rest of this always exciting and vivacious collection, do mosey on over to unitednude.com. Or check out this lookbook. Society’s fetish for women’s footwear has rarely been indulged so brilliantly with candy for the eyes and the brain.

And see? A whole post on wonderful women’s footwear without mentioning Standard Complaint No. 1. Oh wait. D’oh.

Note: Images borrowed from unitednude.com for illustrative purposes.


Chloe Yates said...

I love the first pair! I just know they would make my feet look so cute. Need to get my toes pedicured first though!

Frederik Sisa said...

Hi Chloe - FRAME does get a lot of admiring comments. You're not the only one! :)

Lizze Leary said...

I LOVE United Nude shoes! I have Cup Buckle Sandal Hi in black & white from www.kindredsole.com - This shoe creates shoe envy!! I also splurged on Elastic Peep Toe this summer =)

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