I should have written about Anastasia Radevich’s designs a long time ago, but I kept putting it off. It’s not because I don’t think her shoes are interesting; if anything, I thought her first collection might be too interesting. Often designers who show that much vibrancy so early on can’t keep up the momentum, but that hasn’t been the case with Ms Radevich. My initial doubt was definitely misplaced, because she has all the ingredients of an amazing designer: she is Canadian, the third generation of shoe designers, and she studied shoe design at the London College of Fashion before working for Alexander McQueen, Nicholas Kirkwood, and Bolongaro Trevor.
She debuted her first eponymous collection, Biofuture, in 2009. The designs were inspired by marine biology: ocean waves, jellyfish, seaweed, mermaids, and coral.
Technology plays an important role in both the development and the look of each design, and her workshop is as much a laboratory as a design studio. She works with her fiancé Nicholas, an engineer, to perfect the mechanics of each design. She starts with 3D modeling to create an initial prototype before the design is sent to Italy for handmade production.
The next collection, Kinetik, was even more obviously influenced by technology. The most famous design from the collection uses fiber optics to create an illuminated pattern on the sides of the shoe. A tiny switch at the ankle controls the action. The image above is courtesy of Luxirare, and they have a lot more beautiful photos from this collection on their site.
The entire collection shares that fantastic metal squiggle of a heel and the sled blades platform. The uppers vary from enclosed booties to sandals made of metallic leather. All of the designs are full of the frenetic energy and industrial detailing you would expect from the name “Kinetik”.
Ms Radevich returned to nature in the following collection, Dreamfall. The designs are just as sculpturally aggressive as the previous collections, but now the shapes and colors are softer, more romantic. White, grey and blush are prominent and the textures are lacy and feminine, full of beading and ruching.
Luminescent sea creatures and shells are the inspiration behind the ombre and pearlized detailing.
Her most recent collection, Lost Civilizations, is even more heavily thematic than her previous work. The collection is divided into three groups: Past, Present, and Future. Each group is united by the theme of destruction and resurrection. That seems like an overly ambitious message to convey in a shoe collection, but Ms Radevich makes it work. The materials, silhouettes and detailing manage to express her message without overworking the designs
The Past was inspired by significant events that affected the environment and civilizations in the ancient world. The designs pictured above represent the Ice Age. The most effective designs from this group are those that reference lost cities like Atlantis. The detailing is amazing: the metal of the heels was allowed to rust, and sequins and beading were sewn in patterns to evoke the textures you see on objects that have spent a long time underwater.
The designs from The Present comment on current environmental issues and man’s destructive effect on the planet. The heels are shaped to be reminiscent of oil rigs and mining equipment.
The uppers are made of silk that has been screen-printed with images of oil spills, tar sand mines, and atomic bombs.
Ms Radevich’s message gets a very literal translation into design in the “This Will Destroy You” booties. I love the combination of the dark message and the glittering material in which it’s written. It’s provocative and incredibly beautiful.
The final group – The Future – is the most abstract, but I find it the most compelling. The designs represent a world where nature has returned to balance after man’s destructive influence.
The heels are hand carved from resin into sinuous organic shapes. The colors are muted and natural, and the detailing is simple and harmonious to indicate that nature has regained her balance.
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