A couple of weeks ago I had the eye-opening experience of attending the fashion degree show at the Royal College of Art in London. I normally avoid fashion events like the plague, but a group of us who used to work with Lodger went along to support Tariq Mahmoud, an ex-Lodger designer who quit to go to the RCA. He was the only men’s footwear designer on the course.
The runway show was pretty awful. So many thin, thin women; such booming, repetitive music. The definite highlight was the tailoring-inspired work by Ichiro Suzuki, who works at Henry Poole and also featured in the Golden Shears last year. He was the runner-up then, showing a delicately slashed riding coat, and had some rather wilder contributions now at the RCA show. It was good to see the Henry Poole guys there in full support.
Tariq’s work was displayed outside the hall. Footwear designers don’t get a catwalk show and besides, it was so dark that you wouldn’t be able to see the shoes even if they did.
As you can see from the pictures here, these aren’t the kind of shoes I would recommend to readers of a sartorial bent. But I do find it interesting how someone with a knowledge of classic shoes approaches more fashion-oriented footwear. Every pursuit that approaches menswear has something to teach us.
Tariq plays with both the lines and the texture of some fairly classic models of shoe. The lines of the counter on the Derby and the broguing on the Oxford, for example, are subtly turned, forcing smooth lines into sharp angles. With the texture, the laminated, fur-like pattern used in the boots and Derby contrasts (matte with gloss) with actual fur in the former and snakeskin in the latter. Although clear plastic heels are hardly classic, most of the design is actually quite restrained, both in proportion and colour.
I also think the raindrop-like studs on the Chelsea boot are beautiful.
One of Ichiro Suzuki’s outfits