The Footwear Designer Who is Fusing Glamour and Wit

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Photography by David Gomez Maestre, courtesy of Yuul Yie

Approached with a wry humour, Seoul-trained shoe designer Sunyuul Yie’s creations combine architectural shapes with eccentric details

  1. Who is it? Seoul-based shoe designer Sunyuul Yie
  2. Why do I want it? Wry glamour and off-kilter shapes make for statement-making shoes with a difference
  3. Where can I find it? Right now at Dover Street Market; later this year Browns Fashion will stock it too

Who is it? Having studied womenswear fashion design at Esmod Seoul, South Korea, Sunyuul Yie began helping out her tutor on a personal footwear project in 2009. In doing so, Yie fell in love with the process – from the smell of the leather to the sound of the hammering – and promptly opened her own brand, Yuul Yie, in 2010. Utilising her eye for shape and structure, what ensues is a wildly playful collection that pushes aesthetics and taste to its statement-making edge and makes for an eye-catching new addition to the Dover Street Market roster.

Pooling inspiration from modern art, architecture and sculpture, Yie’s back catalogue spans a world of tactile textures by way of rich velvets and plasticy patents, eccentric strapping and peculiar details that meld masculine and feminine touches together. “For me all objects can be transformed into shoes,” Yie explains of the pearl-heeled boots she introduces here for her Pre-Fall 2018 collection. “When I see a stone on the street, I wonder how that shape would look as a heel; when I see the Arabic alphabet I imagine its shape applied to a shoe; when I see a natural object like coral on a TV documentary, I want to adapt it to a shoe buckle. This series of ideas accumulates on a daily basis.” As such, her pieces are sometimes as peculiar as they are appealing – offering an insight into the designer’s eclectic aesthetic.  

Why do I want it? Because they are made for those with savvy style. Sourcing quality leathers from Italy’s finest tanneries, Yie’s compelling creations are made with a wry woman in mind. “I am drawn to maturity in women and by the facial expressions of those who are wise and all-knowing,” she says of the customer she envisages while at work. In a marriage of classic silhouettes and off-kilter details, there’s a tongue-in-cheek allure to Yuul Yie – a “mature glamouressness” as Yie refers to it. It’s this characteristic that brought the designer together with photographer David Gomez Maestre for the Pre-Fall 2018 lookbook: resulting in an appealing play on vintage ephemera and contemporary ideas of good and bad taste. 

Nature fills the moodboard at Yuul Yie HQ – plants, flowers, shells, animals, gardens – the colours, textures and contours of which infiltrate the entire collections and tap into today’s lifestyle trends. In so doing, these references place the brand perfectly in the present, all the while making frequent nods back to the 60s and 80s. Perfectly embodying Yie’s mature glamour, these low-heeled works of art offer an aesthetic statement that hampers neither style, nor comfort. 

Where can I find it? Find Yuul Yie right now at Dover Street Market, or later this year at Browns Fashion.