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Stephane Kélian: The Timeless Appeal of Plaited Leather

Stephane Kélian: The Timeless Appeal of Plaited Leather

Images courtesy of Stephane Kélian
By Philippe Pourhasemi at TribaSpace

March 9, 2011- Successful footwear designers tend to have one feature singling them out from the rest. It could be the shape of a heel, a trim on a shoe or a fixation with details.

For Christian Louboutin, it is that infamous red sole women never tire of. In Stephane Kélian's case, plaited leather is the key. More than a simple trademark, it defines the identity of the French footwear house, whose main values are handicraft, comfort and sensuality.

Stephane Kélian also has a unique style and tradition - as well as a tumultuous history - making it an exception in that segment.

Launched in 1978, the womenswear line comes at a pivotal moment for French fashion, namely the birth of designer culture as we know it now. Iconic names, such as Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons are getting increasingly noticed in Paris, bringing an aggressive and avant-garde silhouette to the catwalks. It's an inspirational time for magazines and photographers, too, rejecting old notions of bourgeois chic and conventional clothing.

The street and high-fashion are no longer enemies and a new energy starts reviving the industry. Thanks to the conceptual Japanese wave and punk-influenced London collections, French fashion abandons its staid image for something racier, embracing a radical and creative stance.

The early 1980s are an incredibly rich period for Kélian, getting countless attention from insiders with his standout designs. His sculptural shapes, innovative feel and high-quality skins quickly establish him as footwear master du full article

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