Shoes with Flair and Originality
1st February 2014 The maze of little Parisian streets in The Marais is always fun to visit and enjoy a stroll. So much French history can be explored in this area, plus there are many irresistible cafe’s, galleries and shops! Sometimes, a new treasure is discovered, which I found recently while scurrying down the rue de Parc Royal. Nestled in between an art gallery and a café, and only steps away from Musée Picasso and Musée Cognac Jay, is a charming boutique – Zoe Lee Shoes. Peering into the shop, it was evident that the designs were beautifully crafted and lovingly created.
The talented woman behind these must-have shoes is a cosmopolitan young lady, the daughter of a Japanese mother and Canadian father. Zoe Lee studied fashion design at Central St. Martin’s in London. However, she became interested in shoes, and continued her design studies at The Royal College of Art, where she was mentored by the shoe-king, Manolo Blahnik. Her impressive story includes working with Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Betty Jackson and John Rocha, plus she spent several years designing in Barcelona. Then she moved back to London, and during a visit to Paris, happened to find this boutique that was available. Lee successfully navigated infamous French bureaucracy to open her little boutique jewel last October.
“I’m inspired by everything – travel, exhibitions and seeing beautiful materials,” says Lee, “and I love leather and enjoy sourcing fabrics for the shoes. When I design, I like to cover different types of people who would like to wear the designs.” Family owned companies in Italy, who have been crafting fine shoes for three and four generations, make the shoes. The materials used in Zoe Lee shoes are luxurious and creative. Printed kidskin, bronzed patent, brushed linen, nubuck with laser techniques, and incredibly soft suede are all included in her shoe designs. I tried on several pairs and they feel wonderful – like a cosy hug for your feet. Zoe Lee’s innovative interpretations in materials add to the pleasure of wearing the shoes.
Zoe Lee is among the discerning accessory designers who value and appreciate haute couture quality, beautiful materials, and expert craftsmanship. When in Paris, definitely pop into her shop, and her shoes can be ordered online. Zoe also commented that her mother is an eyewear collector – Eyestylist looks forward to meeting her! www.zoelee.co.uk JG