Designing a shoe has its own history and legacy; the beautiful shoes designed by Devika Bharadwaj brings in both in her collection.
In this world of ours, there are two kinds of love affairs: ones that are openly accepted without question, and those that are mocked and ridiculed. Our love affair with shoes sadly falls with the latter; reduced to a stereotype, requiring no further explanation.
“What is it with women and shoes?”
An age-old affair, it requires us to delve into it’s origins to deconstruct it’s allure; to cross the times where they existed only for the protection of the feet – and glance at the changes they’ve undergone till date. The most glaring observation, of course, is their transition from items of necessity to items of treasure; from practical accessories to cherished possessions, considered so even by the Royals of the more recent ages.
The construction of the shoes has also always been given utmost thought; their form and function, a matter of intrigue. In Ancient Egypt, sandals were made of natural fibres; in Greece, boots were fashioned out of rawhide and lined with leather. Byzantine went as far as to bejewel and embroider them. The advent of the 18th century brought with it slippers of the finest silk. The making of the shoes, as well as the makers, have constantly been held in high regard.
But then again, what a shoe designer does is nothing short of magic: the mind envisions a concept and the hands craft it; an idea of the psyche transforming till it resembles a physical work of art that carries you. The love of shoes is what breathes life into a design as upcoming shoe designer Devika Bharadwaj tells us, “I’ve always been obsessed with my feet & footwear. Back in college, I started painting shoes for friends which then snowballed into a venture where I painted sneakers for others. I knew I had to do something shoes and I was thrilled with the idea of wanting to go learn how they’re made. Before I knew it, I launched my label of handcrafted shoes.”
In our present day, the journey begins with a simple sketch, the lines and the curves forming a signature shape. Carefully adhering to the anatomy of the feet, the designer ropes in the practiced skill of perspective, and reworks the sketch in different angles to paint a complete picture. At this stage, the elements of practicality and purpose come into play as well. The designer takes into account intricacies such as the shape of the feet, their sizes and their arches. The sketch becomes a design, the design becomes a layout.
All that’s left is for the designer to bring it to life. The thoroughness of the illustrations assist the measurements to be laid out precisely, and the construction of the shoe begins; the snip of the scissors indicating the choosing of the pattern, the swiftness of the needle reflecting the attentive treatment of the seam. With utmost attention to detail, the edges are finished, and there the shoe stands, gleaming and polished.
From the signature style of the shoe, to the size of the heel and the arch of the toe, the potential of creating our dream shoe is possible in today’s world; a shoe tailored by your choices to be uniquely yours.A complex, multi-layered process requiring a plethora of skills and talents: all for one pair of shoes. And, if we were to go by history, this has been the tradition for centuries – bringing us to the big question, the why of it all.
We have viewed shoes as more than mere commodities to walk in, and that is because of their instantaneous, effortless connect with the senses. The look of glass ballerinas, the smell of new leather, the click of a tall heel, and the feel of a satin slipper. The making of footwear involves employing this emotion, and fusing it with engineering and craftsmanship to give you a classic design: which is also what makes it an interesting career choice. Off the beaten road, it’s apt for those who enjoy partaking in the creation of everyday miracles,
If you look down closely at the cosy platform wedges you’re wearing for lunch, or the daring stilettos you’re showing off in dinner; the supple oxfords that are helping you hold your ground in the meeting, or the sturdy running shoes you hope will get you across the finish line – you will feel the magic of it all. The sound logic of the mind, with the innovative spirit of the heart: right on your toes.
Embrace it, our entire lineage has.
Leave that imprint or two.
All pictures via Devika Bharadwaj