This month I had the pleasure of creating a special pair of shoes for a very deserving bride. Ali, an admissions coordinator at a school for Autistic children, spends her days helping scared and uneasy parents get their children the services they need. Outside of work, her free time is filled with classes and long clinical rotations as she earns her nursing degree. On top of all this, Ali still finds time for charity work, organizing Mo-vember fundraisers and blood drives in memory of her father. As her future sister-in-law describes, “she is patient, kind, caring and selfless.” I’m not sure how she does it, but through all of this outpouring of support towards others, Ali always looks fantastic. She has a great sense of style and knows what she likes – a trait that, in the case of custom shoes, can lead to extraordinary results!
From her thoroughly completed Questionnaire, she painted me a clear picture of an urban chic wedding with a distinct color palette and definitive details. Ali’s plan is for a wedding that fuses modern and classic elements, but in my first concept drawing (shown above), the design turned out to be skewed too modern. I focused heavily on the stark clean lines of the floor to ceiling windows at her contemporary style venue, Boston’s State Room, and my plan to mix high contrast colors and materials came across a bit too strong. Ali explained these concerns and I went back to the drawing board to evolve the design in a way that also spoke to the more traditional, softer aspects of her wedding dress.
This opportunity for client collaboration and the search for the best solution is what custom shoes are all about! In Ali’s case, we both agree the resulting pair truly blends the modern and classic styling she was looking for: the knotted satin across the ankle strap and vamp area brings both softness and an eveningwear attitude to the shoes. Coupled with a trio of ivory pearls that elegantly elongates the foot, these classic details are set off by a bold imperial purple base that will coordinate with the chic purple orchids and other modern accents Ali has incorporated into the event.
Another aspect of the process that went into this purple pair, was the opportunity for a fitting of the shoes so that any necessary tweaks could be made before the big day. In most cases from my custom shoemaking experience, the shoes have not been able to be finished until right before the event or the client and I do not live close enough to meet in person. For this pair, because Ali’s tailor required the shoes to be finished prior to her dress fitting, much like the dress alterations themselves, this also allowed us time to make adjustments on the shoes. Happily, every part of the shoes fit perfectly except for the ankle strap, which was a bit large. So now it’s back to the studio for this last bit of fine-tuning as we work to ensure that Ali will walk down the aisle in shoes as auspicious as she is!