Joyce is proud to announce its collaboration with Louis Leeman, through seven exclusive designs; an extended selection from their collection for the winter of 2013/14 that will be presented in Hong Kong on October 15th.
On a Sunday morning, between shows during Paris fashion week, Joyce arranged a face-to-face meeting with the creative directors Louis Leeman and Erica Pelosini, the designer duo responsible for pioneering handmade Italian shoes for men, under the label LOUIS LEEMAN.
Tea was ready to be served at The Royal Monceau Hotel, creating a warm, friendly atmosphere while Louis Leeman retraced key steps outlining their journey to becoming the leading brand for handmade shoes. Erica added to this by revealing how Tommy Natter played a pivotal role in their career change.
“Everything happened while I was working for magazines doing research for Anna Dello Russo while Louis was working for a tailor in Italy, exploring his love for special quality, hand-made products and whilst I, my love for editorializing. Somehow, the story of Tommy Natter the British tailor, famous for reinventing the Savile Row suit in the 1960s became an inspiration. His ability to reinvent something classy, turning it to something fashionable was something we also wanted to discover and try. That’s when we realized that there is a gap in men’s shoe wear and there was a need for something classy but zesty. Big stores were always filled with beautiful shoes in the women’s section but when you went to check the men’s there was nothing. At the time Anna Dello Russo was the editor-en-chef for Uomo Vogue and she told us we should go on with this project. And so we started slowly creating the Louis Leeman world to serve men and complete their style.”
From here our exchange lead us to the craft of shoemaking and the importance men give not only to the quality of the shoe but to its comfort as well. Louis explains, “It’s a more fashion forward product than a classic product. I always thought it would be nice to combine something classy with an edgy design. When we started we had Rolling Stones’ Ronnie Wood wearing our shoes while Jay-Z and Usher were wearing them as well as Cesare Cunaccia. So, as you can see, we have four different client examples already to share with you”
For their winter collection “Rockstar a Venezia”, Louis Leeman found inspiration in the outrageous and glamorous Marchesa Luisa Casati, a true eccentric from the 1920’s. Casati was famous for her strolls through St. Mark’s Square in Venice, wearing nothing but elegant furs and accompanied by her pet leopard in diamond collar; Casati simply presaged the the era of Rock ‘n Roll and Erica offered a deeper explanation by stating, “We combined all these elements she represented and came out with a collection of modern and chic loafers, using materials like velvet, Swarovski, the Lion embroidery that is the symbol of Venice, embroideries of the Venician masks-made especially for the editorial pieces by an artisan in Italy for us. Then there is our approach on the smoking shoe, on which the combination of classic and modern is vivid.”
Louis added to this by exposing the reality behind men’s shoes, “The man’s shoe is much more about the detail. For women you have all these different heel heights, round toe or pointy toe thus for men, shoe design is much more ‘inside a box’ from which you get out of every possibility you can get. And being creative in that ‘box’ box’ is what we like the most in designing shoes for men. For a man is important to mix styles. The loafer stands for what stiletto is for women.”
Interview by Filep Motwary,
based on questions by Lucienne Leung - Davies
Portrait by Filep Motwary