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Iris Van Herpen x United Nude SS12 Fang Shoes Have Haute Couture Bite

Experimental fashion designer Iris Van Herpen approaches her craft as an artform, leaving behind concerns regarding commercial viability; eschewing pre-ordained “rules”  regarding proportions, silhouettes, and acceptable design materials; bucking convention and dismissing functionality in favor of expression; and placing an emphasis on innovation and on creating designs that instantly conjure up a sense of movement and fluidity.  The Netherlands-bred designer, who interned for the late Alexander McQueen during her early years, has amassed a legion of loyal aficionados who respect her art-over-commerce approach and her beautiful albeit eccentric designs.

It’s only logical, then, that design-driven footwear brand United Nude would want to collaborate with Van Herpen as the two brands share such similar ideologies. For four seasons, Van Herpen has created capsule collections for United Nude, debuting these designs at her couture shows in Paris before having them mass produced by United Nude. Previous Iris Van Herpen x United Nude designs have included Synesthesia, a platform bootie with rounded lines and twisted golden leather detailing creating a three-dimensional effect, and Crystallization, a leather, lace-up bootie with a bondage-like flair thanks to multiple chain strands crisscrossed along the uppers and heel. 

On January 23rd, while staging her Spring 2012 show in Paris, Van Herpen showcased her latest footwear collaboration with United Nude. For the fifth Iris Van Herpen x United Nude collection, the avant-garde designer sought to create an animalistic, primal, aggressive silhouette, setting her sights on the curved fangs of such natural predators and hunters as saber tooth cats, jaguars, and Bengali tigers. To that end, Van Herpen and United Nude created “Fang” booties, with ten curved “teeth” along the bottom of each shoe, each rounded and culminating in a thin point and positioned to create a wedge-like shape.

Each individual “tooth” was created using fiberglass and carbon fiber and subjected to a slow and precise molding process. Four larger fangs constitute the back of the wedge heel, adding the greater boost in height, while six smaller “teeth” are positioned in two rows along the ball of the foot to add stability.

The Iris Van Herpen x United Nude Fang Shoes feature a high-gloss finish along the wedge heel, thin laces along the vamp, and ponyhair-like uppers in a rich aubergine shade to complete the savage beauty motif and create a textural juxtaposition.

There’s still no word on whether the shoes will be mass produced but, given the boldness of her previous designs, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that they’ll soon be up for grabs!



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