Monday, July 4, 2011


I chose one of the sillier shoe designs - "Chewing Gum 2009" - by Israeli designer Kobi Levi to illustrate this post, but others (see photos here, here, and here) are artful, playful, sculptural, cartoonish, evocative, inspired, amusing, surprising, outrageous... "More like sculptures than actual shoes, Levi’s designs are comical, kitschy, and probably hard to walk in. Nevertheless, they’re amazingly crazy and delightful," says Levi spends up to a month constructing each of his prototypes, describing the process to CNN: "Each one is its own experience but it starts with an idea. I sketch it from different angles to see first in a two-dimension drawing how it looks. If it looks good I continue through to three-dimensional. I need to create all the tooling myself, make the heels by hand, the insoles, all the inner structure with metal pieces to hold the curve in the right position. If it needs a platform, I carve it by hand from cork, foam rubber or other material. For the upper part I make the pattern cuts, test materials, and then cut it from chosen materials to create the first pair." Levi has made custom orders for museum and theater - including a pair requested by Lady Gaga for her "Born this Way" video - but collaborates to produce retail men's and women's fashion shoe lines. He tells an interviewer from the Jewish Daily Forward, “I’ve always been fascinated by the shape, the form. Shoes are like sculpture, with a life form of their own, but you can also wear them. I can see a shoe in a museum, in a showcase glass box; but I also want to be able to visualize them on someone’s feet. I want to think of them live, current, relevant.” When Levi was asked by ShoesTV which pairs he would bring on a world tour if he were limited to 5, "Chewing Gum" was among them.

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