12 Shoes for 12 Lovers

Women and shoes: we often tend to associate one with the other. One could even go as far to say that a woman’s shoe is a subtle reflection of herself – the sexy red stiletto for the woman who likes to look glamorous, no matter how uncomfortable the experience may be; the sturdy brown hiking boot for the woman who appreciates comfort and practicality for her outdoor adventures; perhaps even the humble pump for an easy ‘slip-on-slip-off’ experience; and of course we have the woman who makes use of all of these shoes, and more.

New York based artist Sebastian Errazuriz has gone one step further by creating a collection of 12 shoes, each representing one of his past female lovers. However, Errazuriz’s collection does more than allude to each woman’s personality; rather, each shoe is a symbol of a failed relationship, while the collection as a whole aims to “expose contradictions and absurdities that challenge everyday life, and address deeply seated taboos.”

The collection 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers was created in collaboration with shoe company, Melissa, each shoe being meticulously sketched and then ‘brought to life’ using 3D printing techniques in order to capture each minute detail. Each design is also accompanied by an ingenious name which not only links directly to the aesthetic design of the shoe, but also captures the nature of each lover.

However, other than just being a work of art for the viewer to observe, Errazuriz accompanies each shoe with a short story, told from his perspective. This important element creates a link between the shoe and the relationship it is trying to portray, while still leaving enough to imagination for the viewer to speculate on what else might have been.

The first piece ‘Honey,’ refers to a dainty yellow shoe, sculpted as though it is made out of honeycomb, which tells the story of ‘Natasha,’ who Errazuriz broke up with after realising that he “couldn’t get used to being treated so nicely.” By contrast, shoe number 3, a gold, chunky number which includes an Atlas-esque figure who appears to be burdened with the weight of the shoe, speaks of ‘gold digger Alison’ who leaves Errazuriz for her boss, when she realises that he can provide more for her in terms of material wealth.

But perhaps the most successful part of Errazuriz’s shoe collection is its stark honesty. Each story does not fail to mention any of the fundamental elements of the relationship – sexual or emotional. Furthermore, whether being the heartbreaker or having his own heart broken, Errazuriz is not reluctant to be subtly critical of his own place in the relationships, often recounting his feelings as if they are from his own thought processes.
The shoe collection is not only a beautiful selection of art, but it is also a completely relatable chain of stories, which makes use of the simplicity of a shoe as a metaphor. By doing so, Errazuriz creates a tool to draw together Errazuriz’s personal experiences to the types of relationship issues that everyone is prone to, no matter who they are.

The novelty of shoes as art feels like a bizarre concept drawn from the ridiculous mind of Carrie Bradshaw but in practice is both breathtaking and revolutionary. After all, fashion is at its best when embraced as an art form.

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