The Victoria and Albert Museum last week asked LCF MA Footwear design students to present an evening of performances to celebrate their current exhibition Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, during London’s Design Festival. We caught up with Emiliana Pontonutti following the performance to talk about LCF MA Footwear and future of the industry.
The London Design Festival reached out to MA Footwear to organise an event that which complemented and celebrated the current exhibition. After selecting designs from their individual collections, the students worked together with the London Design Festival and the V&A to stage an evening of footwear based performances. All four designs were connected through performances that explored the importance of movement, but each in its own unique way.
Why did you choose London College of Fashion?
I chose LCF because is an institution, and has a very good references, and because I liked the idea of moving in London and be part of a multi-ethnic group of students.
What are the most interesting parts of MA Footwear?
The most interesting part of the course is without doubt the possibility to work with my classmates, sharing skills and knowledge with them is really nice we are a multicultural group with a very different background, and obviously the possibility to do that with a professional help from the technicians in a vibrant city like London.
Does the course prepare students for the industry?
The course teach you how to be independent, how to valorise yourself and how to increase your technical skills. In this course I learned how to do research and how to create a network collaborating with others, fundamental skills if you want to be part of the industry nowadays.
How will you be exploring the boundaries of footwear?
Shoes are what we use to protect ourselves from the environment they make us stronger, from this primordial concept we moved into different concepts. In fact, shoes became the mirror of our society, status or more simply our mood. My way to make footwear is researching inside human fragility and perversion, shoes are not shoes anymore but a vehicle to complete our journey. From shoes to artefact I’m moving in a grey border where the performance becomes more important than the object.
Could you please tell us a little bit about each performance: ‘Unlocked’?
Unlocked is a research inside the concept of beauty and fetish where hair is the vehicle that leads us to arrive inside human fragility. The comb for the artist is a reminiscence of her childhood, of purity and innocence. Moving this object from the hands to the feet manifests a clear need to investigate the deepest sides of human perversions. An intimate gesture like brushing each other hair, will be denatured from being performed in public, I hope to recreate a garden nymphs’ atmosphere, a sensation placed in somewhere between sacred and perverse.
What changes will we see in footwear in the next few years to decade?
Footwear like fashion in general are the mirror of the society, technology and new
materials are moving from one field to another. In my opinion the big changes will be from materials to shapes like a consequence. Sustainability is the new trend so I think all the discoveries or innovations from this field will also move in shoes.
The exhibition is called Shoes: Pleasure and Pain, will shoes always be either pleasure or pain?
I remember when I was a child and often complained about my dresses and shoes, my grandmother, who was helping me to dress up kept repeating to me this phrase “if you want to look beautiful, you have to suffer a little” (No pain no gain). So I grew up thinking that beauty and comfort can’t really live together, and so far I never been disproved. In my opinion and in my creations the pain is often the vehicle to achieve the pleasure, a part of the game.