When does a shoe look more like a ship? When Zaha Hadid meets Lacoste. The collaboration between the two names proves that high concept in footwear gives priority to visual impact rather than eliciting the desire to wear the shoes.
The calf-leather slip-on has been called a “structural marvel”, but this is a shoe, not an edifice. Although not identical, the shape calls to my mind the ‘blob’ building Ms Hadid designed for Budapest’s Szervit Square. Must architects look at footwear and see a building? With its moulded look, it also reminds me of Philippe Starck’s clog-like shoes for Puma (and, to some degree, Marc Newson’s aqua-sock-in-a-cage for Nike). They were certainly architectural, and bear shapes that are organic and akin to Ms Hadid’s for Lacoste. But do they make the feet look well-shod? And will they look good with the prevalent style of pants?
(Now that architects are designing shoes, will shoe designers fashion the form of buildings too? If they can make towering shoes, maybe they can design lofty structures. How about a Manolo Blahnik skyscraper?)
Apparently, the Bagdad-born Ms Hadid did not design the shoe herself. It is a collaborative effort by the employees of her London firm Zaha Hadid Architects. The shoe, according to Lacoste, is based on “a digitized interpretation of the iconic crocodile logo”.
Zaha Hadid is no stranger to shoe design. She has previously collaborated with the Brazilian brand Melissa (following Vivienne Westwood and Alexandre Herchcovitch). While her debut effort was as “structural” as her latter, the Melissa shoe looked, more than the Lacoste, like a product destined for the feet.
Available at Lacoste, CentralWorld, for 14,500 baht.