Julia Haart utilises her eye for fine architecture and bold colour to meld together avant-garde luxury shoes that are not only, adorned in the finest of exotic textures but also crafted with a unique internalised science that makes them effortlessly light and exceptionally comfortable. Ordered by Galleries Lafayette in Paris and Harrods in London, we look the purveyor of these wearable art pieces to ascertain the mindset of a confident, feminine designer.
By Dmitri Ruwan
How did your love affair with crafting shoes begin?
My background was in art and philosophy, and I was buying paintings for them and then all of a sudden they started asking me if I could buy them clothing, so all of a sudden I became a stylist completely inadvertently. Then I realised there is this big missing niche in women’s shoes, There nothing interesting. No one feels exotic or special wearing them because there are one million others floating out there that look exactly the same. I wanted to challenge the notion that high heels are uncomfortable.
Which style from your latest collection is your favourite?
Every shoe within the brand is unique and handmade, but the Vestra in hand painted python inspired by an art sculpture is a personal favourite.
Since the brand’s conception, you’ve utilised materials such as gold coins and marble to craft your collections. How does a more avant-garde design sensibility appeal?
The colours on some of my shoes are derived from 14th-century Dutch paintings. To me, the difference is very important, it’s what makes a Julia Haart shoe special. Heels are fashioned with melted gold coins and customised crystals, along with other unconventional materials. That’s what’s interesting to me. I have yet to meet a woman who looks in the mirror in the morning and says to herself “today I want to go unnoticed”.
Why do you think women are looking to adventurous footwear?
Because women are tired of being simple, they want to express their personality. No woman wants to walk into a room and see ten other women wearing the same pair of shoes. Women want something different, feminine and unique. Something that makes them feel empowered and special.
Why do you tend towards architectural details in your shoe designs?
I’m obsessed with museums and galleries, the first time I’m in a new city I don’t take cabs I walk the streets in my shoes for 10-12 hours and just observe everything, visit the galleries and art fairs. By the time I’m done I have an entire collection.
Who would you love to wear your shoes?
Audrey Hepburn! Could she come back to life? Audrey Hepburn epitomized beauty and elegance. She’s my muse. If I could choose two women in all of history it would be Audrey Hepburn and Cleopatra. Both confident, intelligent and empowered women.
What do you think women of the Middle East are looking for when it comes to shoes?
In my opinion Middle Eastern women are the arbiters of taste, they are constantly searching for something unique, exclusive and luxurious. They know their style and aren’t afraid to express it.
What does Julia Haart have in store for AW16?
We’re coming out with a capsule clothing collection for Galeries Lafayette, everything is handmade in a unique range of fabrics that move with the body. This specifically designed mixture of cotton, silk and lycra make it luxurious and efficient for the modern day woman.