Snakeskin is the print of the season. Wild, provocative and effortlessly stylish it slithered down the autumn/winter 2011 catwalks at Chloé, Cavali, Gucci, Michael Kors, Missoni and most notably Prada. Whilst Miuccia’s spring/summer 2011 platform espadrille brogues were the ‘It’ shoes of last season, her autumn/winter 2011 three-tone snakeskin knee-high boots are an equally successful follow up – if, we daresay, a more sophisticated and tasteful one.
Snakeskin has always attracted attention – for the wrong and right reasons. Whilst activists hiss at the use of real skin in numerous collections, Alexander McQueen has been praised for his spring/summer 2010 pair of 12-inch python “armadillo shoes” – famously worn by Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness and recently exhibited at The MET’s retrospective show on the designer.
Reinterpreting Miuccia’s creations is Hong Kong-based Penter of Fashionary. Using his signature pixelated style, dubbed “8 bit Fashionary”, he reduces the iconic pattern of the snakeskin boot down to its most basic and graphical form. On designing his final three boots Penter explains, “They were not easy to work with as the pattern and silhouette play and important role. I tried different perspectives and angles, finally settling with the lateral view which I feel strikes a balance between 8-bit and reality.” And what does he think worked best? “I really like the juxtaposition of the 8-bit geeky graphic with the real snakeskin pattern and whilst I wanted to make the boots as simple as possible I feel the final designs make them even more recognisable. The original Prada boots – the mix of colours, cut and intriguing patterns – are so interesting, works of art in their own right.”
Curation and text by Lucia Davies