“In today’s world you can literally wear a bin bag and someone somewhere will think it looks amazing. When it comes to shoes it’s not that simple. In my opinion, shoes are more important because they are as much a piece of clothing as they are an accessory, so they have to be perfect.” Welcome to the world of Aleksandra Kielpinska.
Shoes with soul. That’s how this young design talent likes to describe her creations. A lover of ballet, Kielpinksa’s latest collection was inspired by ‘Body Remix & Les Variations Goldber’ a contemporary dance piece choreographed by Marie Chouinard.
“I have dreams about shoes,” says Kielpinska. “The simplest thing can bring such vivid images that I cannot stop thinking about it.” It’s these images that set the tone for her creations. From a window display to a picture in a magazine; contemporary dance to architecture, Kielpinska’s capacity for creative inspiration seems limitless and has been one of the primary reasons this young designer has been attracting world wide attention. That doesn’t mean however, these shoes are made for walking.
“I don’t mind a little pain with my shoes,” says Kielpinska. “For me, it’s important the shoes look good and of course, I would like someone who wears my designs to be comfortable but personally I’m looking for the ‘wow’ factor. I want people to feel unique, like they are the stars of their own movie, even if that means they have to bring ballerinas to change into on the way home.”
Originally aspiring to work in fashion design, it was Kielpinska’s own frustration at not being able to find the perfect pair of shoes to complete an outfit that spurred her on to pursue footwear design. “I have always wanted to be involved with clothes,” says Kielpinska. “The dream when I was younger was to work for Alexander McQueen—I love his work, every design is a piece of art. But the more I looked at clothes the more I realized there were no shoes I liked to go with them. I started looking into shoe design and as cliché as it sounds, it was love at first sight. I was good at it, I enjoyed it and I was bursting with ideas.”
As with any contemporary footwear designer bringing those ideas to life can be a fine line between pleasure and pain. “Every new design I make is a challenge,” admits Kielpinska. “I like to use new materials and ever time I do, it’s a bit of a gamble. Is it going to work the way I’d like it to? It’s not like I don’t like to use conventional methods but I like to experiment; to always find new ways I can do things differently. Being challenged is what pushes you forward and if you’re not challenged you may as well stop designing.” And for this young designer that is simply not an option. — NICOLE ROSS