Shoe Art Project: Final Designs Part 2

Annika Benitz's Fashions for Voltage 2011


Annika Benitz along with a packed audience witnessed her maternity wear walk down the runway on May 7, 2011. The venue for Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Senior Collection Fashion Show, Voltage 2011, was held in the open-air Power Station in South Boston. The exposed brick paired nicely with the warmth of the flooding light from the runway. It was thrilling to see everyone’s hard work and care for their collections over the past year. Below is an opportunity to see what came before Annika’s vibrant solutions to shoes from for the expectant mother, as well as the final results!


Shoes Found on

Before Photos

Clockwise from top left: Meredith by Diane Lynn, Honey by Touch Ups, Meredith by Diane Lynn, Shannon by Special Occasions, and Venus by Touch Ups.



Annika's Shoe Collection. Before Shoes Found on

Photo by James Mason

Katey uses a full spectrum of color in her designs, adding to her concept of the seasons for her maternity collection.



Annika Close-up of Shoes originally found on

Photo by James Mason

The traditional and gathered bows add the finishing touches to these hand painted shoes. The green-stenciled flowers of the Venus shoe create a lace overlay effect. This enhances the original satin fabric, which peeks through the unpainted spaces with brilliant shine. The details and color combinations pull every style together.



Shoe Art Project: Final Designs

Katey Reim’s final designs for the collaboration of and Massachusetts College of Art and Design are finally here! Katey’s hard work and efforts will be on display at the MassArt Senior Collection Exhibit at 5:00pm on Wednesday, May 18th.

Here are the before pictures to show a comparison of the starting point to the bold and colorful designs Katey has come up with. Katey mentioned earlier that her end result is nothing like how she envisioned. This was about the journey, learning about what was possible for the design, and finding what worked best in approaching the shoes. It is hard to believe that these are even the same shoes. Katey has taken shoes that are essentially blank canvases and transformed them into one-of-a-kind creations. She uses an effective blend of wrapped fabrics, nail heads, and hand painted elements to achieve her goals.

Katey Shoe Selections found on

Before Photos

Clockwise from top left: Sharmain by Touch Ups in white, Sharmain by Touch Ups in black, Gwen by Special Occasions, Emmy by Special Occasions, and Alberta by Dyeables.


Katey's Couture Shoes. Original Dyeable Shoes Found on

Photo by James Mason

Katey decided to remove the strap and heel of the Emmy shoe (featured in the middle), and converted it to a high-heeled slide instead.


Katey's Close-ups. Original Shoes Can be Found on

Photo by James Mason

It is definitely the attention to detail that pulls all of her designs together. The nail heads offer a subdued and antique quality. The careful layering of the fabrics creates a piping effect that really pops, and adds another dimension to the shoe itself. Her designs strengthen the idea of “wearable art.”


The Shoe Art Project: Before the Show Part 2

Katey Shoe Bunch

Katey Shoe Bunch

Meeting with Katey Reim a week before MassArt’s Voltage 2011 Show demonstrated that her approach to recreating dyeable shoes has been about the process. Her technique involves wrapping the shoes with her own handmade fabrics as well as using pigment and hand painting the fabric. She has chosen to remove some preexisting elements from the original designs, such as some rhinestones. The end result has been nothing like she had anticipated. It was hard to believe that one is seeing the same shoes they began with a month ago.

Katey Shoe

Katey Shoe

“Sometimes starting is the hardest part,” Katey states. [The Process] “opened my eyes to shoes and how you buy, wrap, and customize them. You are given this shell, adapting to someone else’s design, and it feels like working with a customer.”

Katey Undone Print

Katey Undone Print

During the time provided the shoes and tonight’s Senior Collection show, Katey has introduced extra garments into her collection, and has added a screenprinted element to her work. The journey has been beneficial for Katey. She has followed her instincts, became familiar with the possibilities and limitations, and ultimately found an approach that worked for her. I am excited to see how all of her designs come together for tonight’s show.

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.

The Shoe Art Project: MassArt Students Customize Couture Dyeable has paired up with two Massachusetts College of Art and Design Fashion major students to provide canvases for a new creative endeavor:  customizing dyeable satin and silk shoes to help accessorize their collections. This marks the beginning of this journey. Seniors Katey Reim of Ledyard, Connecticut, and Annika Benitz of Palo Alto, California agreed to take on this challenge. The goal is to style dyeable shoes to accentuate their collection, and see how far they can enhance them.

Reim and Benitz became aware of this project through their professor at MassArt, Sondra Grace. Katey’s inspiration comes from the graveyards of New Orleans and uses colorfully saturated teals and vibrant oranges. She has also taken extensive coursework in textiles, and intends to incorporate handmade fabrics into the designs, along with more sculptural embellishments.

The overall goal is to match the shoes to the outfits without being an obvious garment and footwear combination. Annika is designing a maternity collection that can be worn in any season, and has thoughtfully opted for no to low-heeled shoes for the expectant mother. She intends to experiment with appliqué and hand painted elements. The process is currently in the sketching and brainstorming phase; with the next few weeks being crucial in the development of their ideas as Katey and Annika wrap up their senior year.

Katey’s selections from left to right: Alberta by Dyeables, Sharmain by Touch Ups in black, Sharmain by Touch Ups in white, Emmy by Special Occasions, Gwen by Special Occasions

Annika’s selections from left to right: Honey by Touch Ups, Venus by Touch Ups, Shannon by Special Occasions Meredith by Diane Lynn