Not since the jelly baby craze of the early 1980’s have plastic shoes been so fashionable. Yes, there have been a few manufacturers who have had financial success with their comfortable plastic shoes, but these have been the kinds of shoes that, on the whole, have been held up as evidence of the wearer lacking all style or taste.
Melissa, on the other hand, is the Australian/Brazilian company that has completely repositioned plastic footwear. Cleverly enticing some of the world’s top fashion and shoe designers to design for them, Melissa now offers an impressive spread of designs that focuses heavily on women’s shoes with occasional forays into men’s and children’s shoes and accessories.
The focus on securing designs by some of the world’s most respected designers -such as Vivienne Westwood and Jean Paul Gaultier- in addition to numerous up-and-coming design talents, designers with a reputation for their shoe designs and even an international superstar architect, has certainly paid off. In effect, what the company has done for eco-friendly plastic as a footwear fashion option is to place it into the creative hands of individuals whose inspired engagement with the material has entirely thrown off its hitherto questionable status.
Needless to say, this has meant that stylists have picked up on these new visions for sexy plastic footwear and Melissa, in turn, has gained a lot of editorial. Furthermore, fashion hungry publics have dived straight in. For example, the particularly cute and sexy designs by Vivienne Westwood have proven particularly popular with women seeking a fun, stylish and comfortable option. The pumps and slinky Lady Dragon sling-backs have been much in evidence on the street over the summer. And, one suspects, that as we head into colder and wetter weather, canny ladies already picking up on the street trend penchant for wellies as going to pay a lot more attention to Vivienne Westwood’s Wellington boot featuring one of her iconic textile motifs.
Meanwhile stylists and those with strong opinions on fashion are proving particularly taken with the clumpy –but oh-so-practical- Minnie Mouse camp of Edson Matsuo’s Loop. With its sturdy cylindrical heel and retro styling, it’s a good match with some of the season’s top style trends.