When you think of Brazil, what's the first thing that pops into your mind? Maybe it's the endlessly beautiful beaches of Rio or the fact that it seems perfectly natural for every citizen to parade around publicly in a string bikini while sipping an ice-cold caipirinha and wearing a dazzling feathered showgirl headdress? C'mon, we've all seen those photos. Anyway, you might think of soccer if you are the sports-minded sort, and of course you'd be on the mark to conjure up supermodel Gisele Bundchen. She did put the impossibly high-standard of Brazilian beauty on the map. But what about recycling? No? Didn't think so. But it just so happens that Brazil has been on the forefront of recycling waste of all kinds for a very long time. It should come as no surprise then that forward-thinking Brazilian shoe brand Melissa Shoes would operate their company on that very same premise of recycling and eliminating waste from the environment. In 2010 Melissa Shoes hot-footed it into the American market followed by the opening of their NYC, Soho-based Galeria Melissa flagship in 2012, which remains a very friendly intersection of shoe-shopping haven and art space. In true stealth style, they unleashed their concept of the dreaded plastic shoe stateside. Well, dreaded no more, for Melissa Shoes proved that it's totally possible to create a perfectly fashionable, wearable, comfortable and yes, non-sweaty plastic shoe. And most importantly, sustainable. Unsold shoes gets unceremoniously melted down to make the next batch of funky footwear.
Just to prove how amazing Melissa Shoes really are, all you have to do is look at the company they keep. A-list fashion collaborators like Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu have created iconic and ironically cool shoes for those of us with a sole dedicated to fab footwear season after season. Coming back for a repeat performance with the brand is fellow Brazilian hot-shot designer Alexandre Herchcovitch with a capsule collection for Fall 2015 that will truly knock your socks off.
The collection, crafted in Melissa's proprietary sugary-scented plastique has a smooth, matte finish and consists of 3 styles in a moody color palette. In typical Herchcovitch style, the designer transformed the simple into the complex with a sporty, modern edge. The shoes balance masculine-feminine ideals with the heart of something darker, something edgier, a touch of Victoriana lying just beneath the surface. Powdery jet black, vintage nude, deep forest green and stark optic white are the perfect foil to each style.
Delicate three dimensional roses appear almost frozen in time on the Flower Queen Flat. The elongated Backless brogue appears to be a sliced open mens shoe but is finished off with an unexpected buckled slingback strap, baring a sliver of ankle and heel, for a woman only, thank you very much. The show-stopping, statement Flower Boot has a distinct air of the Gothic to it with it's delicate cut-out, pressed-flower motif set into a sturdy, towering platform last.
Whatever your take on the collection might be, sweet or subversive, these are definitely not the jellies of the past, and one fashion collab you can't afford to miss out on. In stores and online, early August.