v1.bmp I love couture shoes just as much as ready to wear designer pieces and shoes on the high street, and Gil Carvalho has taken it to a whole new level. He's designed a new range of shoes named "Visionary" which are conceptual and are based on style over function. To quote the shoe master himself, "the conceptual collection lets me play and explore”.

Carry on reading for more about the ideas behind 'Visionary', pictures of the crazy maisie shoes, and info on the man himself!

The shoes are made from aluminium, elastic and solid silver leather which perhaps aren't the most comfortable shoe materials in the world, but that's not the point of the collection. Carvalho began studying history of art and fine art in Portugal before architecture in London and eventually fashion, which perhaps explains why each pair looks similar to the buildings put forward as designs in the final task in The Apprentice! More specifically, Carvalho has himself suggested that Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava who was famed for his bridge designs inspires the industrial chic collection.

v1-2.bmp One example of the cobbler's inventive nature is the 'V1' shoe. Despite not looking it, it's supposed to be the first wearable shoe from the concept, made out of alloy and silver leather. The upper is hand-laced from one single elastic cord, weaving and moulding to the foot. In Carvalho's words:-

“My Conceptual Collection is a fusion of sculptural and functional. It’s experimental and fun. Instead of thinking who’s going to buy it, it’s more an inspiration for ready-to-wear pieces. And it has ‘wow factor’.”

The range is of course vastly different to the ready-to-wear collection which attracted celebs such as Victoria Beckham and Kim Cattrall. The shoes there are far more colourful and flamboyant, often attached to skyscraper heels. He also provides the option to by bespoke shoes for those who want original creations.

So ladies, what do you think? Personally, industrial chic I get. Haute couture for the foot, I get. Shoes made from torture materials, I just about get. In fact, the only thing I'm slightly iffy on is how exactly these shoes are wearable! I'm not sure whether they'd work in my wardrobe as functional pieces but shoes as art I definitely like, and I'm just itching to get my feet into a pair of these and test them out for myself! What are your thoughts?

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