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ZOE-LEE

ZOE-LEE

45 pieces 4 pressbooks

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Member Since - September, 2015

ZOE-LEE (716662) by ZOE-LEE

The Interview: Zoe Lee | Fashion and Beauty | HUNGER TV Published on 20 November 2014 words Alice Casely-Hayford Footwear and accessories designer Zoe Lee began her career at Vivienne Westwood, after attending Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Arts where she was tutored by Manolo Blahnik. With these credentials it was inevitable that Lee’s own shoe line would be good. Working for a number of British designers following graduation, Lee launched her eponymous collection of luxury women’s footwear in 2012 and has already garnered a fanbase of fashion editors and shoe connoisseurs. From her Paris studio, Zoe sources exquisite materials to create thoughtfully-crafted footwear with an emphasis on quality and durability rather than transient trends. The result is modern and wearable shoes made of interesting materials such as foil printed suedes and embossed leather, with striking silhouettes. Zoe Lee talks to Hunger TV about her design priorities, making shoes for a host of sophisticated clientele from curators to jazz musicians and reveals her new bag project. What was it like training under Manolo Blahnik and what was the most memorable lesson you learnt from him? He was my tutor during my MA at the Royal College of Arts. He could see where something was coming from and how to push it so that it could be understood more easily; kind of like streamlining ideas, something which can be difficult to do when you are exited about something and still exploring. It made for a clearer process which is probably the thing you try to achieve when working.. A good process helps with longevity but especially with the overall enjoyment to be had when designing. He is also a very funny man and had quite a few stories from his experiences over the years. Is durability a priority when creating your shoes? Does substance take precedence over style? I think if a shoe is made for durability then it should do just that. If a shoe is made to decorate it should do just that. There is a base quality that my shoes will always have which is quite high but that should be the case with any luxury item. So I guess that I think that substance should always take precedence. Style comes from the wearer. You are Canadian, both your studio and shop are in Paris, you studied in London and your shoes are manufactured in a factory near Venice. Have all these places influenced your design and style? Everything that I am directly and indirectly influences what I do. How much and what comes from what is probably impossible to tell. I sometimes look back at a detail and realise that I know where it came from. I suppose it’s good to constantly absorb and be curious in life. I like to change my situation every so often as it is easy to get complacent. Are your prime focuses on silhouette, texture and the use of particular materials? I am interested in silhouette, texture and material mostly because they are the tools I need to create new contexts. Styles and eras are recreated all the time, I dislike reminiscing but you do have to look back and remember in order to develop. Otherwise it would be day 1 everyday. As long as something can be improved/made more beautiful or interesting then it’s worth creating, otherwise just leave it alone. I get excited about new materials though as for me they seem to lead the way when I am designing… Could you tell us more about developing bags? We will be launching a small capsule collection exclusively for the Paris shop. A shopper, a weekend bag and an over shoulder bag. They will be continuative although the leathers will change slightly seasonally to reflect what s going on in the shoes. We’re really looking for products that can not be dated. It will be an ongoing collection that we hope to grow slowly. Your shoe brand is only two years old. How has it evolved over this time and how would you describe the Zoe Lee customer? It’s still early days. We’ve found that our customer is a fairly independent woman, not necessarily easily influenced by current trends or fashion. Fashion is not the priority. We’ve had curators, jazz musicians, lawyers in the shop. We’ ve got quite a few loyal customers at the shop now who come in every season knowing already from our website which styles they want. We produce a very small quantity of all the styles for each season for the shop so they know to come in early, especially if they are a popular size. I am curious myself to see what happens! So far it’s been fun… http://www.hungertv.com/feature/interview-zoe-lee/

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