The Shoe Art Project: Before the Show

It is the morning of May 7, 2011, and tonight is the MassArt Fashion Show, Voltage 2011. The show will feature Senior Collections. I met with Annika Benitz back in April as she began planning how she was going to redesign dyeable shoes in order to pair with her maternity collection, donated by Her solutions are virtually unrecognizable from the first time we met, and have been transformed into artistic creations.

Annika discovered that it was tricky to follow her initial plan, and opted for a more organic approach to redefining the shoes. She hand painted all of the shoes with techniques ranging from waterless dry brushing to using fabric paint. A highlight is the green flower stencil pattern she has created for a pair of wedged heels. The additions that enhance the bold use of color are the scraps of fabric used to adorn the front or heels of the shoes. Annika has bundled fabric from her maternity collection and added it to her shoes in order to link the designs together. The goal remains that the shoes will not be too easily matched with the outfits, but rather have the flexibility to work with a range of looks.

Without the accessibility to the dyeable shoes, Annika mentioned that she “probably would have purchased black shoes.” Considering, redesigning, and developing shoes as part of the outfit has been rewarding. “People noticed the shoes,” Annika stated after her Senior review. Shoe design is generally not part of the curriculum, but it was an added benefit to be able design for the complete head-to-toe look. Annika has worked tremendously in order to see her collection come together. I am thrilled to see the show tonight, and see Annika’s work come to fruition.