6.23.2010

Spinal Wedges, or: Lauren Makes Shoes v.1.0

It all started with mythical tales of 70s disco glamazons who danced with platforms that doubled as aquariums. Who hasn't wondered, at one time or another, if it isn't possible to hack your way into a pair of see-through heels?  Oh the possibilities, the things you could literally walk on! It's one of those situations, you know, where you're only limited by your imagination… and sense of dignity, but you can only maintain that for so long anyway, so may as well live large.

Curiosity got the best of me, and what started out as my tearing apart those lucite monster wedges that you know I loved to death in all their tack-tasticness, lead to 3234023945234 hours of research and birthed this obsessive experiment in making a luxe-ified stripper heel without having (yet) acquired a last, or at the time, knowledge of shoe construction.  Learning experience. You know how people pimp out their old bomb cars? Well, my dear mother took one look at these and declared that that's precisely what was going on here.  Is this the (IN)DECOROUS TASTE version of "Pimp My Ride"?  I think I'd prefer a "Pimp My Shoe."  Are you listening, MTV?

The shoe, pre-butchering.  It's got a pretty cool lucite wedge but, as people tend to note, it undeniably communicates "stripper."  Which is fine, but no fault of the wedge.  What about the wedge? It's destined for bigger and better things. It needed to detach (from the plastic upper bringing it down) and fill that gaping (lucite) void…


Here it is in the process of stripping it down and cleaning it up. This involved lots of prying, slicing, ripping, and sanding the surfaces so that they were free of glue. At right, it's startling clean: a blank canvas, except better, because it's part of a SHOE.


I filled the inner with what I designed to be a kind of internal metallic spine.  I made this with vachetta leather, spikes and crystal (what, did you think (I)D's first pair of shoes would be without crystal??), and attached it to the underside of the platform upper. You can see, I also made a leather sole for the shoe.


Why a spine? The inspiration came from the fleshy appearance of the veggie tanned vachetta…and I ran with it. Anyway, I lined the inside bottom of the wedge with a reflective, metallic surface so that at certain angles, the toothy spikes are reflected. At times, it has the bizarre effect of making the platform look "deeper" than it in fact is.


And then (and this is one hell of a massive simplification) I created a pattern for the uppers, cut them from vachetta which I glazed white, finished off the edges, etc, and then wet formed them on my foot. One of the things that's so great about vegetable tanned leather is its malleability. Ordinarily, the upper of a shoe would be formed over a last, but for various reasons, these had to be made without one. I took advantage of this and worked the leather into every crevice, bone, and callus on my foot! Hahaaaa gross?! But they're like a second skin!! For my foot, at least.


Since the upper needs to be attached to something, and that something needed to replace the subpar layer of foam/faux suede insole that these came with, I was left making my own insole. Again, ordinarily you'd form this on a last, but instead, I wet formed a piece of vachetta cut to fit the insole on the actual shoe. It's plastic, after all, and comes pre-molded. After it dried, I used gel inserts and leather to build it up in the appropriate places (I live in heels, so I better well know where they need the extra padding!) I encased the entire thing in leather, and then, as you can see, I attached the dried, molded uppers by way of laces, lots of glue (pretty sure I'm significantly down in brain cells at this point) and did what it took to make the bottoms smooth (cutting out a leather filler, filing it down, etc etc etc etc) and ready for more gluing.


A peek at my work space. It started to look like a landfill at one point! But with perhaps more chandeliers than you'd ever encounter in a landfill. Here you can see the shoe has come together. The internal "spine" has been attached along with the reflective surface covering the bottom inside of the platform, the uppers are fixed to the insole and attached to the platform, and the leather sole is on the wedge.


Did I stop there? HA, don't be silly. Of course not.  I applied a thin band of color right by the toes. (It's more flattering that way, since the color doesn't chop up the line of the leg.) Might as well get some mileage out of the 6 inch wedge.


But sometimes more is more. These shoes have a little secret....


Yeah, that's right, they glow under black light!  So in case, you ... end up at a rave (what) or in a tanning booth, you're covered.  I have this vision of being entirely invisible except for a thin band of neon...oh, and glowing toenails .  Forgot about those.


What is this, (IN)DECOROUS TASTE on acid?  I had forgotten the simple joys of UV lightbulbs.  Now seriously, go paint yourself neon and... host a rave or something.  It's summer!

52 comments:

wekilledCOUTURE. said...

You are actually a genius.
How this has no comments shocks me.
I have loved your blog since I first started blogging and always will.

ps. when you start selling shoes im first in line!

Cheers,
Madeleine Louise
www.wekilledcouture.com

Monica said...

Glorious.

jasonwclark said...

Glamazons! I would totally watch that show

And they glow, to boot - so cool!

lucinda said...

Just wow!

Fairwood Haven said...

FANTASTIC Work Lauren-!!
More Power to You-!
Enjoy your Tray of TOOLS-!
Mary

nina said...

love it! i'll be second in line when you start selling retail, all your shoes kick some serious ass :)

Prêt à Porter P said...

INCREDIBLE!!!!!!

Rachel said...

Wow, this is my first exposure to your blog, and those shoes are AMAZING. I like to dabble in DIY, but this is serious.

tiltumaria said...

INCREDIBLE!! Wish I would be that talented...
xxx

Breeyn said...

Absolutely a genius. I'm so excited to work together!

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous work, can't wait for Deadmau5 with these!!!!!

Jill said...

Luxirare better watch her back! These are lethally fabulous!

Mary Nicole said...

Oh my God, you're amazing! :|

Juliana said...

I would DIE if you posted a tutorial on how to make shoes without a last!! I've been eyeing these same lucite wedges on eBay for a while myself. Have you seen the gun heels Pleaser puts out??

smilla4blogs said...

Utterly fascinating...and not my preconceived notion of a little old cobbler!

(IN)DECOROUS TASTE said...

So glad you guys like them.

Juliana- Haha YES, I have seen those gun heels by Pleaser!! Sometimes I have to wonder if they've been watching Karl or if it's the other way around...especially in light of all the lucite and light up stuff that's been making its way onto the runway! But hey, I'm definitely not complaining.

Smilla4blogs- I have yet to meet that stereotypical little old cobbler! I think cobblers are madder than hatters...it might be the glue. I used to go to a cobbler who would sleep in the middle of the day and consistently forget about my shoes. He was the sweetest guy though. Once tried to fix a zipper on a (super tight FITTED!) leather jacket I had and ended up putting it on (it fit him like a straight jacket!) in an attempt to proudly demonstrate how he had fixed the zipper. Long story short, it wasn't fixed. And after he started hyperventilating in a panicked sweat when he couldn't get out of it, he ended up pulling a Superman and bursting the seams to remove it. It was insanity! And quite the spectacle.

Seraph + Splendor said...

...a true bad ass woman knows how to use a dremel!!! Great work as always and a awesome job on the pictorial!
S+S

P.S.
We think we have the exact same silver tray...you will never guess what we did with it ...pictures soon...

Sally said...

You're my hero. Marry me.

(IN)DECOROUS TASTE said...

S + S : Oh I agree. I love the Dremel! Every time I use it, I feel like a twisted version of Martha Stewart. The world thought she was crazy when she busted out the dremel for an "easy" DIY Christmas arrangement, but we know better. The woman knew what she was doing.
And I cannot WAIT to see what you did with the tray. You have me drooling with anticipation.

smilla4blogs said...

Lauren, if anyone can set this fusty and crusty old lab's ideas on its head, it would be you! I love your anecdote! What a spectacle!

Anonymous said...

These are the most FREEKING AWESOME shoes I HAVE EVER SEEN. I went to NYC this past weekend in search of utterly awesome and unique wedges and found NOTHING close to these...

I think you have just haunted my dreams with these -- and I will probably have to research how to do this myself! Unless, of course, you would ever sell them... :P

AWESOME job. Just...awesome.

MUCHlove,
Shannon
www.stylehazard.com

Linda said...

I am so mystified.

Fanny said...

I've never seen shoes like this, this is a very great idea. But it semms to be quite hard to do. Maybe I'll try :)
Thank's for this tutorial .

http://annawintourhatesus.blogspot.com/

home before dark said...

I thought you had been suspiciously quiet these days and wondered what mad genius thing you were up to. This is something from a James Bond movie. Lucite heel as weapon of mass destruction. You and that Dremel are killer. (And one tool girl to another, look at the Fein Multimaster. Much more power!)

(IN)DECOROUS TASTE said...

Home before dark- You always have such useful tidbits of information. Talk about weapons of mass destruction...the Fein Multimaster sounds killer. Looking into it as I type this...

Catherine said...

I just love how you created "the spine" from various spikes and crystals! Having something inside the wedge reminds me of those disco goldfish shoes from the 70s— an added, macabre surprise!

Great photos of your process, too! Your DIYs are getting more and more fabulous . . .

- Catherine at Littlehouse of Style
http://littlehouseofstyle.blogspot.com/

isa said...

whyyyy?

if i ever become a prostitute i will definitely hit you up for fashion advice.

Melissa said...

I would DIE for a pair of those shoes! They're breathtaking!!

LADIVASOSA said...

I'm so glad I stumbled onto this post! I've been looking for a tool that looked like the Dremel and you answered my call!!

This is an AMAZING project! very inspiring!!

Mel said...

This is definitely one of the coolest DIY I've seen in a while!

Mugdha said...

These are killer. I love them.

Theresa Cheek said...

Well, Lauren, you ARE a twisted Martha Stewart!!! So ahead of the curve....I love the shoe....smooth slick lucite with sharp, metal spikes!!! I think it is a metaphor for YOU!!

A Perfect Gray said...

absolutely incredible, girl.

you are awesome...

Rosenrot said...

Hi Lauren,

Perhaps I've been a little misleading with the Pradas. I think they were more of the plasticky crystal type? Not quite the expensive type that warrants $1800. The CKs are more milky transparent, less lucite and more class for sure.

And I have to say thank you for visiting my blog. I've been reading yours and am now a fan and it surprised me to find you on mine, really. Looking forward to seeing more of your creative ideas!

Cheers,
Gracia

Greet said...

This is unbelievable!! Did you really made these shoes????
Wonderful!!!!!!I love them! You have to commercialize this!
Good luck!
xx
Greet

Anonymous said...

OMG! I saw this post on StyleBubble & immediately thought of you!

http://www.stylebubble.co.uk/style_bubble/2010/07/furthering-with-furber.html

Shannon said...

I'm not exactly sure if I commented on this before, but I just realized that you so GRACIOUSLY commented on my blog entry and I wanted to let you know how much it meant to me! I am a fairly new site and I had a mini heart attack when I got A comment, and a mini stroke when I realized it was YOU who commented!

Your work takes my breath away, and someday, i hope that my work comes close to yours or is even in the same league!

These shoes .... indescribable!

And I am almost certain I already commented on these (what a small world!) but they most certainly deserve another!

Wishing you the best! Keep doing what you love (it shows in your work!)

MUCH_love,
Shannon from stylehazard.com!

MissMae said...

wow i'm in love with these shoes and all of the other shoe accessories that you have made!

L▲UR▲ said...

OMFG.

You're so crazy for doing this.
In a good way.

Vava Sexkitten said...

this is one of the craziest, wackiest and the most fantabulously spectacular&wild&outlandish shoes ive ever seen this year ♥after McQueen's Armadillos
thanks for sharing the process of making it!
xoxo
glamboyonprowlforfashion

Alex said...

hi -- i found myself on your blog a while back right after you posted this diy -- i have been absolutely OBSESSED with finding this again and i cant even tell you how many different combinations of "stripper heels + crystal + diy + heels" i searched.

i think these are AMAZING and i really enjoy reading your blog!

if you get a chance you should check out my blog

http://www.ivoryinklings.com

xx alexandra

Alicia - Sea Of Ghosts said...

Wow just found your blog thanks to Good Morning Midnight... can I just say this is probably the best thing I've ever seen on the internet. I'm having heart palpitations - I'm SO excited to go through all your archives now. No sleep for me tonight!!

Anonymous said...

Ah bummer. These are cool but it looks like you lasted the front too tight :( Your foot is hanging over the back and stopping short in the front.

marina said...

finally a blog genial!!!!!
http://malibuananas.blogspot.com/

femke said...

This is awesome. Me wants. Actually, me wants to try something like this, but when can I find a time...? Fall break! haha. perhaps. I don't want to make an exact copy, though. I'm not quite sure if I'm bold enough to walk around in spiked-up stripper heels.

BLONDIE said...

omg you are amazing !!!!!!!

perfect shoes

Max Jewelry Store said...

Your Blog is fantastic,photos are amazing,Thanks

Anonymous said...

Old post but new reader. LOVE the shoe, LOVE the info. Great process details to inspire me to try it myself. Thank you!!

Anna said...

Your blog is my new addiction.

Lucite heels that you will actually wear without looking like Taylor Momsen with her tips platform heels.

<3 <3 <3

Samira Phoenix said...

speechless.

http://llkillu.blogspot.com

The HouseCat said...

Ooo, I want to try something like this, but it would have to be when I have serious time to kill.

Anonymous said...

I'll defaintly be in line for those shoes!! I wish rhey were forsale now! :3 i love them!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...