Aerodynamic Design Elements and Reflective Surfaces Inform the United Nude Ultra 2014 Footwear Collection
Founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhas and British shoemaker Galahad Clark, footwear brand United Nude has consistently made headlines and wowed fashionistas with its avant-garde creations, many of which boasted clever and novel architectural and design elements — from clever, seemingly suspended, angled heels inspired by the glides at the base of Eames office chairs to rubber uppers faceted so as to replicate a diamond’s surface — that rendered them futuristic, artsy, and undeniably fascinating. Though each United Nude collection has always included some audacious pieces, its new Spring 2014 line-up reflects a bolder, flashier, tougher aesthetic that encompasses every single shoe offering within the collection. Chromed heels, metallic rivets, interesting cut-outs and perforations, and color-blocked leather abound in this collection, as do high heels that make a commanding statement. With metallic shades like silver, gold, and icy blue juxtaposed against matte nude, black, off white, and chili red shades, the United Nude Spring 2014 Ultra collection feels a bit Jetsons, a bit disco, and decidedly urban — all in the most sophisticated manner.
One of my absolute favorite styles in the Ultra collection is the United Nude Rivet Sandal Hi ($479 at UnitedNude.com), shown above at top in Ice Blue. Inspired by the riveted metallic surfaces of modern aircrafts, this slingback sandal features mirrored blue leather uppers in a steely azure color, with square and rectangular pieces stitched together to resemble airplane panels attached via rivet seams. Rows of silver-toned metal rivets trace the upper and lower borders of the horizontal band along the toe and also adorn the edges of the wider strap along the ankle area and the borders of the seams in between each leather panel. A 4.1″-tall heel, meanwhile, makes any woman feel like she’s going sky high when she steps into these beauties.
For a quirky take on the wedge platform sandals so popular in the spring season, there’s the United Nude River Sandal ($399 at UnitedNude.com), shown second from top in a Silver and Nude colorway. Like a standard espadrille or wedge sandal, this design features an open heel and a slim ankle strap — in this case, in a nude leather. The front of the sandal, meanwhile, is crafted in a mirrored silver leather that offers high contrast, while a cheeky peep toe adds a feminine feel to the design. An ice blue chromed heel measuring 4.1″ in height stands atop a 1.2″-tall dark brown leather platform to create the illusion of a wedge and yet the heel is, in fact, curved and cylindrical along the back. The sandal is also available in a black and hazelnut brown leather combination with a chromed gold heel for a luxe twist.
Building upon the season’s fascination with laser-cut patterns, the United Nude Shadow Laser Pump ($439 at UnitedNude.com), pictured third from top in Chilli Red + Gold, features shiny gold mirrored leather uppers with round perforations, soft calf leather in hazel trimming the ankle collar, and a rounded toe covered in chili red leather, with two arched shaped coming together at the center to create a pointy peak shape. The heel counter, meanwhile features black leather trim with pointed details and the 4.7″-tall heel is sprayed in black and features sculptural ridges.
The collection emphasizes mirrored surfaces but creates differing optical illusions by varying the positioning of these chromed materials and metallic leathers, juxtaposing them with matte materials, and adding interesting hardware accents. The United Nude Glare ($439 at UnitedNude.com) pump, for instance, takes a traditional d’Orsay shape — a rounded toe, open sides, curved heel counters, and an adjustable ankle strap — and modernizes it via the materials used. Shown fourth above, the black suede along the front of the shoe and the off white leather along the back create a beautiful but traditionalist yin and yang effect, but the metallic silver leather ankle strap and the ice blue chromed heel, measuring 3.9″ in height, thrust the design into the future.
Similarly, the United Nude Flare Pump ($439 at UnitedNude.com), shown next to last above in Black + Gold, also toys with mirrored motifs and the idea of reflecting oncoming light, but adds an exciting twist via a sculptural heel that seems almost pyramid shaped and features a chromed surface that positively radiates. The pointy toe and the manner in which the mirrored gold and supple black leather uppers are color blocked, meanwhile, further emphasize the geometric qualities of the design, compounding its art world feel. The combination of black and gold also makes this feel a bit disco-ready, so that the design feels sophisticated yet whimsical.
Mirrored surfaces and aerodynamic design influences are also evident in the United Nude Rivet Pump Hi ($529 at UnitedNude.com), shown fifth above in Gold, and the United Nude Rivet Loop Sandal ($439 at UnitedNude.com), shown last above in Silver, which features rosegold-toned rivets, a shiny sprayed black leather heel, and loop-like uppers that encircle the foot completely and extend down to the sides of the sloped heel.
Last but not least, the collection introduced a new and improved version of the United Nude Web Hi ($699 at UnitedNude.com) peep toe bootie first introduced in the Spring/Summer 2012 season. This updated version of the design retails the laser-cut leather uppers and chromed heel seen in the original model but features a lower last for increased comfort. Injected rubber islands along the sole, meanwhile, ensure better grip. The shoe is now available in the red color shown above (third from last), as well as in an off white shade with a silver chromed heel and a black hue with a silver chromed heel.
As usual, this United Nude collection is dynamic and exciting, but I’m particularly smitten with the shoe styles that drew inspiration from airplane exteriors: the Rivet Sandal Hi and the Rivet Pump Hi.
Check out the above mentioned styles in some other colorways below and visit UnitedNude.com to snatch up a pair of your very own!