At the height of a heat wave, finding cooling comfort without compromising style can be no easy task. Fortunately for the gallivanting urbanite who might need to navigate a sweltering city but also retain a calm air of sophistication, the current collection by Swiss master shoe designer Walter Steiger offers a number of items that promise exactly that.
Top on our list of recommendations for women is the stunning mesh zip-up model; one part mule, one part chic gladiator sandal. In calming nude tones, this is a shoe that offers a perfect neutral airiness that won’t look out of place relaxing on a sunny terrace or, with a quick change and a few accessories, going straight on to a dressy evening function.
And, for the man who dares to be slightly different, the combination of dark leather and organic beige provides exactly the right sensibility for long languid days with enough formality should something pressing pop up. Evocative of warm Latin islands, the aeration provided by the t-bar design is both merciful when the mercury rises and practical when needing at quick shot of smartness.
There’s also something reminiscent of Mick Jagger’s foray into donning t-bar sandals in the 1960’s about it, at the time a daring and controversial statement. Perhaps this is entirely coincidental but one can’t help wondering whether it’s an intentional reference. Walter Steiger, after all, first rose to prominence in the Swinging Sixties and was one of the tastemakers of the era.
After a rigorous training in a top Swiss atelier, the young shoe designer worked for both the prestigious houses of Capucine and Bally Madeleine in Paris before heading for London. In London, his shoe designs for Mary Quant were so notable and sought-after that in hindsight it seems almost inevitable that his designs would be selected for Michelangelo Antonioni’s era-defining film ‘Blow Up’ (1966).
Returning to Paris in the late 1960’s, Steiger designed shoes for top fashion houses before launching his own label in the mid-1970’s. Picked up as the designer to do one’s shoes by most of the leading American designers in the 1980’s, it’s easy to see exactly why Walter Steiger is now a respected and much admired brand the world over.
But, perhaps most importantly, as the current collections show, Walter Steiger shoes remain as freshly creative and cutting-edge today as they were when they first burst onto the scene all those years ago.