Winde Rienstra - Lego Heels, Facet Heels and Bamboo Heels
Nominated by Carlo Wijnands:
Winde Rienstra
for Lego Heels, Facet Heels and Bamboo Heels

I nominate Winde Rienstra for her shoe projects, which manifest individualistic material choices, a perfect sense of detail and a penchant for artisanal experimentation. Each design stands on its own, is wearable, and functions as jewellery for the feet.

This talented young fashion designer has produced five collections so far. Handcraft and artisanship are clearly visible in all her work, not only the couture clothing and shoes but also the more commercial accessories. Rienstra’s collections consistently play with three-dimensionality. She exhibits a fascination with building spatial structures around the human body. She uses everyday materials in a constructional way, working with their individual characteristics and often leaving them unprocessed. Her sense of craft, detailing and form enable her to imbue these materials with a couture quality. This material innovation comprises the identity of her brand and is beautifully expressed in the shoe projects she has shown so far.

The Facet Heels are carefully constructed out of layers of cardboard that have been cut and glued together. The straps are made from familiar large rubber bands that bind the feet like packages. What looks like simple cut-and-paste work is in fact the result of extremely precise observation, fitting, measurement, and finally laser-cutter production. The result is a sturdy yet elegant shoe that is both stunning and wearable.

The LEGO Heels, part of Rienstra’s 2013 summer collection, are beautifully designed, with lime-coloured spool-knitted straps and pom-poms. She has built an ingenious foundation out of LEGO bricks that rises above a DIY look. On the feet, the Lego Heels prove surprisingly comfortable; as objects, they are splendid architectural structures.

The Bamboo Heels, made from bamboo bars of various lengths, also feature a daring yet tasteful composition. Black tie-wraps around the foot and ankle add a strong element of surprise to the whimsical platforms. It is an unusual combination yet a convincing one, because the elements enhance each other and work together as a whole.

These three shoe projects are the result of extensive material and formal research. The designer takes full advantage of the qualities of the materials, and the forms result logically from the construction and techniques. The shoes look simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. They constitute timeless statements and offer a welcome sincerity amid the craziness of the fashion world.

Winde Rienstra is explicitly choosing her own path. She combines low- and high-tech techniques and appears to be devising a craft all her own. I find all her collections inspiring, but the shoe experiments in particular make a visual impression one doesn’t easily forget. It’s no surprise that the Centraal Museum in Utrecht has purchased them. Rienstra is a talent who deserves to be nurtured.

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