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Graduate Spotlight: MA Footwear student Emiliana Pontonutti


Written by
Josh De Souza Crook
Published date
18 February 2016

Italian MA Footwear designer Emiliana Pontonutti explored the concept of beauty and fetish via hair for her final project Unlocked. LCF News has been interviewing designers from this year’s cohort who have their work featured in LCFMA16 Graduate Community Exhibition. Next up on Graduate Spotlight is Emiliana, read about her collection and student experience below.


MA Footwear designer Emiliana Pontonutti. Photographer: Ilaria Panci.

Where and what did you study prior to your MA at LCF?

I did my BA in Italy at I.U.A.V. University of Art Venice in Fashion Design. From my second year I had the possibility to focus on accessories design – there I developed an interest in footwear.

What made you want to study MA Fashion Footwear?

I decided to study MA Footwear at LCF because of the outstanding reputation of this particular course, as well as the innovative technology and support provided. The LCF website was great because it lists all the past achievements from graduate students – their showreels and testimonials helped convince me this was the course I wanted to study.


MA Footwear designer Emiliana Pontonutti. Photographer: Ilaria Panci.

Tell us about your master project?

My final project is called, Unlocked, where I researched the concept of beauty and fetish via hair. I wanted to explore this material because I’m fascinated by the natural properties of hair. It may be a seductive element of the head but it has the ability to create disgust or perversion when viewed as waste, for example in the mouth, in the bath drain or on the floor.
My research into fetishism, artefacts, surrealism and beauty, resulted in a multiplicity of objects and conceptual shoes. Some have been developed into “wearable” shoes while others are produced solely as functional art objects.
The presence of double direction, an artistic and commercial (niche) approach, makes my product fit into different contexts such as galleries, museums, specific websites or in a box under the bed.
My work aims to overturn the classical idea of shoes through the introduction of innovative and extreme materials, creating objects and shoes with specific functions where human hair is the vehicle. The resulting objects serve as an example of new functional possibilities in the approach or in the construction of shoes. Through this process I tried to visualise how objects can become elements of a shoe while others are made to be more sculptural artefacts.

Can you describe your style in five words?

Delicate, sharp, unpretentious, spontaneous and intimate.


MA Footwear designer Emiliana Pontonutti. Photographer: Ilaria Panci.

Why did you choose LCF?

I believe LCF is one of the top fashion schools in the world, I saw the opportunity to be a part of this select group of international students as an integral investment in my future as a designer. The resources available, the reputation and the location made it the number one choice for me to learn about footwear and fashion. From a personal point of view, I credit LCF for challenging and developing my talent. I also appreciate LCF for showing me the advantages in working with others from varied and international backgrounds.

LCF MA Footweat student Emiliana Pontonutti at the Golden Lane studio before the Victoria and Albert performance.

LCF MA Footwear student Emiliana Pontonutti at the Golden Lane studio before the Victoria and Albert performance.

Does studying an MA help you develop a personal style and express creativity further than a BA?

My experiences in London and in particular at LCF has made me grow as a person and as a designer. My tutor and other designers I encountered during my time here have consistently encouraged and provoked me to really push myself in both my choices and designs. They have encouraged me to develop a ferocious curiosity, and the fortitude to create something innovative and unique. I believe that my BA gave me a solid foundation in the basics of design but my MA presented the instruments required for my continued development and success.


MA Footwear designer Emiliana Pontonutti. Photographer: Ilaria Panci.

What are your plans after graduation, has studying MA Fashion Footwear helped you realise what/ where you want to be doing?

Yes! I am currently applying for selected internships and would like to intern in an environment that gives me another perspective of the fashion world. I always had my idea of fashion and shoes, and having now completed my MA I value the added benefits of bringing my own personal creativity and knowledge together with others and sharing in their creativity and knowledge base.

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying an MA at LCF?

Do not be afraid to go for it, it is an experience you will never regret and will only get better from but it is really important work hard and try to be organised!

Photographer: Ilaria Panci

The LCFMA16 Exhibition is open until Saturday 20 February.