When you look at shoes, names like Picasso, Piet Mondriaan and Pollock wouldn’t usually come to mind.

Especially in today’s pop culture driven industry where fictional characters like Carrie Bradshaw and Kim-whoever-Kardashian are inspiring shoe designs.

But amidst this madness is a luxurious art-inclined accessory line waiting to be unveiled to the world of shoe addicts.

Introducing Aperlai, a Paris-based shoe house that has deeper cultural roots than what would seem.

aperlai geisha shoes

Click the thumbnails for full pictures:
Aperlai 'Geisha' shoes F/W '12
Aperlai 'Geisha' shoes F/W '12
Aperlai 'Geisha' shoes F/W '12
Aperlai 'Geisha' shoes F/W '12
Aperlai 'Geisha' shoes F/W '12

Founder, Alessandra Lanvin (she is married to Jeanne Lanvin’s grandson, yes!), named the company after an ancient Turkish village, an ode to her half Turkish half Italian background, and is deeply influenced by the graphic and asymmetric architecture that surrounds her.

And to take this love for the Atlas further to the East, Aperlai’s fall / winter 2012 collection is inspired by ancient Japanese heritage and the Geisha Doll. But the muse goes beyond the aesthetic of the collection; the heel and platform of the shoe are designed to resemble the strict physic of Geisha. While the textures and fabrics used in the design add a touch of modernity to the shoe’s traditional elements.

The graphic heel is also an ode to cubism – another historical reference – and its rectangular shape and super lightweight has now become Aperlai’s signature style.

Every Aperlai shoe is made in Italy, and Alessandra keeps a vigilant eye on the craftsmanship, detailing and comfort of the shoe.

As for herself, she insists that she doesn’t know how many pairs of shoes she personally owns, because “one who loves shoes, doesn’t count” them. Fair point!

Fashionising.com had a quick chat with Alessandra Lanvin to know more about this luxury shoe business.

You’ve used some very unusual materials in the Geisha collection – lizard skin, marble and painted mirrors. What’s the process behind your selection of uncommon materials?
We really care of the research that goes behind the textures and materials. We often propose styles in python and crocodile skin with no sewing, in order to allow the materials to express themselves. I love exotic skins, such as stingray worked on tulle… I find it interesting to combine textile with unusual materials.

Where’s the place for avant-garde shoe designs in the industry today?
It’s a very prolific period for shoe design. There are a lot of big talents outside that have developed their own particular signature. Especially in the luxury field, women are looking for special pieces… they’re like art collectors. These shoes do that.

Do you ever look to follow any particular trends, whether they’re direct trends or the subtle shifts in society’s tastes?
The best pair of shoes are the ones that don’t follow fashion seasons…

What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, as a luxury shoe brand, in the economy / marketplace?
For me, it is all about creating a solid network of suppliers, establishing relations to come up with the features that make our shoes unique. Distance management is not easy, but necessary due to the choice of our products being made in Italy.

Visit aperlaiparis.com. View more of the ‘Giesha’ styles from Aperlai‘s fall 2102 collection by clicking on the thumbnails.

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