Friday, December 2, 2011

a fistful of updates: brains and beauty

In this first week of December, as Southern California gets blown away by the Santa Anas, I’m bringing you updates from two of my favourite designers: Jane Henry (Loomlab) and Annie Mohaupt (Mohop). The interesting juxtaposition of the two is a partly coincidental, since both ladies recently released new designs in their respective collections. Mostly, however, a look at their latest work demonstrates the quality they share that I find so appealing: their design embody brains and beauty. Almost anyone can whip up pretty things. Not many, however, can create designs that satisfy the intellect as well as the eye.

In Annie’s case, architecture provides the conceptual footbed for her designs. The shape of the shoe, the space created for the foot, the precision crafting – all these demonstrate the beautiful conjunction of form and function. For Jane, it’s not just that the patterns and textures on her scarves are beautiful in and of themselves, but that they arise from a process informed by mathematics, code, and symbolism. It’s a successful blend of logic and artistic intuition or, as Jane puts it, “modern-day accessory science, with a dash of old-timey alchemy.”

So, in no particular order, here’s something new for you to feast your eyes on.

LOOMLAB: Smock Like an Egyptian

OK, so scarves aren’t smocks. They still wrap around you very nicely, though, especially when they look as fabulous as a Loomlab scarf.

The ciphered graphics of the Egyptian CMYK collection were created from Egyptian motifs, sound waves, morse code, and the famous Golden Ratio, and delivered using a CMYK-inspired palette on artisanal textures. I just love the idea of wearing something whose deeper significance isn't immediately obvious. It's a bit like having a binary clock on one's desk, only with pizzazz. In any case, Jane delivers another winning collection, and this time I'll have to pick something out for myself. But which one?

Visit for more in the collection.

MOHOP: Mo' Happenings

Annie’s latest is a very pleasant surprise indeed: mens’ sandals. Huzzah! Classic designs that demonstrate the elegant simplicity of a Mohop design paired with detailed craftswomanship. In a way, I'm reminded of a veteran Japanese geta maker I recently came across, Mizutori. Specifically, the way in which timeless designs can still sustain a contemporary style. Mizutori gets it, and so does Annie. To get a peek behind the scenes at Mohop, mouse on over to Every Clog Has Its Day. The video of how Annie makes the shoes is fascinating indeed.)

The woods used to make these beautiful shoes include sustainably-sourced American domestic Maple, Cherry and Walnut. The uppers are made from high-end faux leather straps. Annie notes that the sandals fit rather like Earth shoes with their negative heel design that puts your heel lower than your toes. I don’t know about the biomechanics of it, but it’s apparently very comfortable.

And there you have it. Two mighty fine updates.

Note from the Keep the Lawyers Happy Department: Images belong to Loomlab and Mohop respectively, and are only used for illustrative purposes.

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