Sunday, March 31, 2013

Plastic Fantastic: Melissa + Karl Lagerfeld

Earlier this month, Karl Lagerfeld revealed his capsule range for accessible Brazilian “jelly” shoe brand, Melissa, via a campaign starring Cara Delevingne. The Lagerfeld-lensed images, which depict Ms. Delevingne as a leather-clad bondage dominatrix, stirred up the requisite buzz. And last night, at the label’s Soho boutique, the wares made their much-anticipated New York debut. Featuring a range of pointy plastic flats and sparkly ice-cream-cone-heeled pumps, all of which are fruit scented, the collection boasted a subversive, but almost silly sex appeal. Naturally, this was only enhanced by Lagerfeld’s snaps, which were displayed at yesterday’s fête. “The shoes are amazing, and they smell so good,” offered Delevingne. “In one of the photos, I’m drinking Champagne out of them, so I got to know them pretty well.”

Since launching over thirty years ago, Melissa has worked with some pretty impressive collaborators—Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, and Jason Wu among them. On hand to discuss the latest joint effort was Melissa’s US CEO, Michele Levy, who noted that Lagerfeld “wanted to capture who we are.” (However, the photo shoot, she affirmed, was “Karl’s touch.”) “We are a Brazilian brand, although we’re in 71 countries, and he wanted to embrace that spirit.” One pair of pumps shown in the colors of the country’s flag was particularly patriotic.

The capsule marks the first time Lagerfeld has worked with a Brazilian label, which, apparently, was one of the draws. “It’s something I didn’t really know about,” said Lagerfeld when asked about Brazil’s fabled sensuality. “That’s why I wanted to work with Brazilian people, to better learn how that works.” As for conceiving plastic shoes—another first for Lagerfeld—the designer said it was “fun.” “I have nothing against plastic. I love plastic. I’m plastic myself! You know, it’s a fashionable material today.” But, he insisted, making the once taboo material luxurious was not one of his goals. “Luxury is not modern,” he said. “The whole idea of this was to make a modern shoe.”

Melissa + Karl Lagerfeld will be available in New York at the brand’s Soho store, and at Bloomingdale’s, from April 5.

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