31 January, 2010

Heel Shapes

Post-brunch with a fellow faux redhead, we wandered into a few shops and found some amazing shoes. I was only able to capture one or two, but I thought I'd share some brilliant heel shapes I came across today:

We ran across these polka dot beauties in Beyond Retro in Soho. How fantastic are those heels?











Ok and these I simply HAD to try on when we visited the Irregular Choice store on Carnaby Street. I have had a love affair with Irregular Choice back from when they weren't owned by Office and were actually hard to find. And now, looking at their stuff, I really feel I would be well suited to design for them. Especially because things I was secretly drawing in my sketchbooks are showing up on their shelves...


I am in love with these monster heels. I need a pair. Size 42 please. Make it so.




Really, I should simply never go into shoe stores.....


28 January, 2010

I Need an Internship with a Shoe Designer

I am at a stage in my design where I need to start making prototypes. I have sketchbooks full of ideas and all I need now is practice and some specialized help in the mould-making area. My first step is to get an internship with a shoe designer. I thought I had one, but I just got word that it fell through for reasons that had nothing to do with me. So now I am seeking both a shoe design internship with an independent designer, and someone interested in helping me prototype unusual heel shapes.

So why should anyone want to have me as an intern?

I'm a good designer. I push boundaries. But I can also reel myself back in and design very wearable things as well.

I am pretty damn good at pattern cutting and thinking in terms of functionality. When I was at Saint Martins the pattern cutting teacher was overwhelmed by the number of students in the class, so I was given half the class to teach. Turns out I was a better teacher than the teacher, and so a lot of students came to me for help on future projects. I'm not into the 1mm details (I'm not a tailor), but I do what I call "brute force pattern cutting"- I can make things do what I want, I just might not go about doing it the proper way.

I am very interested in using new or unusual materials. Things that "shouldn't" be used are most appealing. I'd love to team up with someone interested in playing with materiality and conceptual designs. My time at saint martins gave me a real appreciation for experimentation, even if I don't know a lot about it yet.

I have skills! I've worked in a lot of different mediums. I'm not specialized in anything yet, but that will come with time. I have worked with leather, fabrics, and latex quite a bit, but I'm interested in almost any other medium as well.

I am easy to work with, and I like working with others and collaborating. I am eager to learn all about shoe design and the business of being an independent designer in the field.


Some stuff I've made:

  










Know of any shoe designers in need of some free labor? Send them my way.


Cheers

27 January, 2010

Ouch

Well. That was quite possibly the worst of all my flights from the US to the UK.

On a nearly empty plane, I was not the only person with a whole row of seats to myself... just the only person in a row of seats with armrests that didn't move. Twice, just as I was just beginning to doze off, the plane ran into some long-lasting hard turbulence. Children began screaming, couples grabbed each other's hands, and I thought, "damn it, I am not going to sleep at all if this keeps happening!"

I would not have made it through the day if my friend Kitty hadn't met me at the airport. I was so tired I was ill. Movement near me made me nausiated and I was starved and yet completely unable to eat. The exertion of pulling my suitcase around caused the world to spin. I was cold and then hot and then cold again.

When we finally made it back to my flat, I kept falling asleep and waking myself up saying, "I'm awake! I'm awake!" I couldn't eat a thing, not even toast.

Today I've spent most of the day in bed but I'm aiming to go see some friends tonight if I can handle standing long enough to walk to the tube.


Damn, I'd forgotten how much I hate traveling in this direction...




22 January, 2010

Returning to England

It's Friday afternoon and the realization that I leave in three days has suddenly hit me. I am starting to feel the stress that was so familiar to me this past year as I begin planning to leave The Boy and go back to London.

But this time is different from all the others. I am trying to balance out the familiar dread by reminding myself of all the good things about my life in London since I left CSM. This will be the first time I'll be returning to my flat and NOT the horrible student halls. It will be the first time I return without having to go back to another term at the dreaded CSM. In fact I am already looking forward to taking more classes in shoes, and seeking out an internship. I also have a job to return to. It is also the first time I'm returning with friends, events, and familiar habits waiting for me on the other side. So I need to keep reminding myself of this any time I start to dread my return to England.

My last year in England will be good. Remind me of this when I start to complain.

16 January, 2010

Northampton Shoe Museum

A few months ago I went on an expedition with two classmates and one of my shoe design teachers to Northampton. It's one of the last places in England with a working shoe factory that we could see in action. Of course I didn't take any photos within the actual factory, but I did manage to get a few snapshots at the shoe museum...


Despite being very dark, I got a couple snaps of some amazing shoes. Check out this fantastic fetish boot print on these incredibly mod boots.










A few vintage foot binding shoes. Look how ornately embroidered these things are. I guess when you can afford to be ornate when you're dealing with such tiny things.

On the other hand, these brogued shoes for bound feet are surprisingly simple and modern looking.
Gotta love the crazy cantilever heel on this shoe. I am counting on someone to help me balance a one of my shoe designs in a very similar way. So sexy and weird.
If Dorothy wanted to be a little more practical about walking all the way to the emerald city, she might have considered these. But the clear Docs with the baby picture? I have no idea...

How fabulous are these vintage silk uppers? Can you imagine wearing boots like this every day? I would relish it.
Vivienne Westwood's famous platforms. Not the blue ones, but the exact same model. What I love about this shoe is the delicate shape of the toe, the curve of the platform and the unobtrusive colour.

Spice Spice Baby! (sorry)


Sorry for the blurry photo. This one was particularly dark. But it was too awesome not to share. Wish her ass was a little more shapely though, don't you think? I found this section of the museum the most interesting because it had a few examples of the evolution of fetish shoes. How mundane this heels looks to us, and yet at the time, it was an incredibly high heel in SHINY black leather. How provocative!


Some very mod spurs. I love these.
And if you thought I was tall before... The extreme high heel is taken to a new level (see what I did there?) with this pair. The logical part of me keeps thinking "you might want a closed toe with a back if you want to balance in those." Of course, I imagine they would never be worn by anyone standing.
                              Try walking in them. I dare you! I love the choice of colours in this one. Bright 70s yellow and ruddy orange. Nothing says sex and fetish like mustard yellow, you know?

How awesome are these Pete Murphy shoes? I love this sort of print, especially on leather.

FABULOUS boots. If I recall correctly, the black design was patent and appliqued onto the soft white leather.

And last, but not least, some metallic snakeskin 70s platforms. Again, I apologize for how dark the museum was. In order to protect the shoes they hired blind lighting designers.




The Best Decision I've Ever Made

The other day I read over the blog entries I wrote during my year at CSM and I have come to a very solid conclusion: the best decision I've ever made was to leave that awful place.

It's evident from my entries that I repeatedly tried to rise to the challenges set by Evil Tutor, and was constantly knocked down without any explanation as to why. I can see how bravely I tried to take each failure as a reason to try even harder. And I can see how fucking miserable I was. It sorta killed me; it sorta made me stronger. I am still trying to sort my head out after a year of constant mindfucks.

But every time someone complements my shoe designs, or asks me to consult with them on a costume or project I feel a little bit better. It's good to know that although I've lost all confidence in my abilities, others have not. A little external reassurance is exactly what I need right now.


11 January, 2010

18+, Or My Visit to The Armory

Kink.com. A San Francisco institution. The home of all that filthy shit you are too afraid to dream up. This is where it is made real and put online for your viewing pleasure. San Francisco is a city of niches, and The Armory is where we make some of the kinkiest niche porn known to the internet (outside of Japan, that is).

So when talented and very cute interior designer SallyTV asked me if I wanted to accompany her on a tour of The Armory, how could I say no?

The Armory is a giant castle-like structure in the middle of San Francisco. It was built for the National Guard somewhere around 1912 I think (maybe I should check my facts before posting this, huh?) and over the years has been used as everything from a set for Star Wars to a place for the SF Opera to build and store sets. In 2006 Kink.com bought the historic building and has since turned it into the home of smut.



Historical rendering stolen from SfArmory.com

And these days, the Armory looks more like this, and flies the Leather Pride flag from one of its turrets.



When I arrived at The Armory I dodged the usual collection of teenage skateboarders out front, and I wondered if they had any inkling of what was being done to hot young girls one brick wall away from them.

The interior of the Armory was surreal. The above ground floors consist of epic marble staircases and long, tall hallways made SciFi by the masses of thick black wires running along the floor every which way. That's what happens when you need to power porn-set lighting in a historical stone building. The entire back of the building is one gigantic enclosed room with stadium seats surrounding it. It made me me think of a prize fighting arena (which I believe it was used for at one time). It is also the only part of the building that most people have ever seen:



We started on the fourth floor and worked our way down to the foundations where the remnants of an old river still dribble along narrow passageways leaving orange algae behind it. Most of the building is still unused- empty rooms with mysterious histories that lead to other small rooms and dark scary corners. But on the same floor, we could overhear the subby girl live on cam being instructed what to do by paying viewers online. I think she was in tears at one point. But judging from what we saw on the screens in the camera room, she got her reward later on.

Some of the rooms on the upper floors:

Medical Exam Room


Kink Uni



(I would have had a much better time attending this university I bet)

One of the many many enema-tastic bathrooms that are on every floor



We even visited the wardrobe department where I ran into a drag queen I used to have an unnaturally huge crush on. One would wonder why a porn studio needs wardrobe, but trust me, you should have seen some of the shoes...

Anyhow, the real action takes place in the basement levels. There are the giant cleaning rooms where clean toys are shelved according to porn site:



And then there are the many, many brick rooms, sets, and cages for our viewing pleasure. Would you like to see a few of them? Say please.







The Boiler Room


A point of interest: Kink.com has managed to utilize so much of the original horror the building provided. This giant boiler, though no longer functioning, is a key piece of the ambiance in scenes filmed in the boiler room. Similarly, the interrogation room in the sub basement in the foundations hasn't been changed much. Or, take The Creepy Room:




The Creepy Room is a tiny room that is in a far back corner, hidden away. Why is it creepy? That window is a fake light source added by kink.com, as is the bed. Other than that, the room is untouched. Those steel rings in the wall? That's how they found the room.

Some more basement fun:


A place to rest your head. There is a camera inside the hole in the ground....


Sally taking a look around.




Anyone seen Videodrome?

And in case you weren't sure what to do in these rooms...



While Sally and I were being led around, we happened upon a small room where a male top was preparing his girl for a hogtied scene. This would later be a key moment on our way back, so remember it....

The giant basement is a sight to behold. Stored underneath that giant enclosed room I showed you earlier is a room full of retro furniture and kinky equipment waiting for their moment in the spotlight. We even saw the giant water tanks that used to be part of bondage scenes until it was deemed a little too dangerous.






A FABULOUS vintage globe that flips open to reveal the essential tools of social lubrication


Why do they have this? Who knows...


And now the photos you have all been waiting for.... our visit to the storage locker for fuckingmachines.com!




I was chased by fuckzilla bot...or was it fuckbotzilla? Either way, I found it more than a little scary and hid behind Sally before I could overcome the initial animal response to run.



And in the tool bench, each drawer contained dildos of various size, shape and color. This aintcho Daddy's tool bench. Or at least, I really hope it's not.


And on the wall:



And lastly, as my camera phone was on its last legs, we were led down to the foundations where the muddy stream still runs, echoing across the empty stone archways like a scene out of The Host. And at the very end, just beyond the wooden stocks, there is a small room with a metal desk, a metal chair, and metal cabinets.





This was an overwhelmingly cool experience being amongst the pervy and nerdy in such a specific, heavy environment. As Sally and I were led back to the above ground, we passed by our hogtying friends. "Hey, want to see how the tie turned out?" the top asked. Sally and I wandered onto the set where this cute girl was tied to bamboo poles, legs spread, arms out, gagged with a bamboo bit, and lightly suspended from the ceiling to help her balance. Suddenly the door slammed closed behind us and the top said, "shhhh we're filming. Have a seat and enjoy!"

The next twenty minutes were very educational. Seated next to a girl I barely knew, I watched live porn being filmed. The tied girl was clothes pinned, caned, whipped, vibrated, and her screams were lovingly noted by her top who cooed, "good girl, such a good girl."

Twenty very intense minutes.

Twenty very fun minutes.

Twenty very inspiring minutes. ;)

It was also twenty minutes during which our tour guide/friend had a panic attack and ran around The Armory looking for us, wondering if he imagined the two girls he was showing around. Apparently he didn't see us get invited into the porn set, turned around to say something and found himself alone.

Oops.

When we found each other in the lobby Sally and I apologized profusely. But when he found out where we had disappeared to, he threw his hands up and demanded high fives. "Fuck. Yeah."


The skateboard kids were still outside when we left. I was high. I was high off floggers and porn and enema packets. I was giddy with kinky normality- casual kink both thrills and calms me. I love that sex is not a big deal, and yet the complete focus in that building. It is both VERY important, and not important at all. It is sacred and treated with respect, yet exploited and dirtied and used.

Like the castle it once was, The Armory now protects the heart of kink. It stands as a giant stone monument to pervs the world 'round. Whether you're into girls being fucked by robots, hogtying, electrified pussies, naked wrestling, gang bangs in public places, or bi-curious boys humiliated in the locker room by shemales, this is the building that houses and realizes these fantasies of yours.

Bow down in awe.