Brooklyn artist Sebastian Errazuriz wanted to commemorate some of his past romances with women who really stuck in his mind, and left a lasting impression. So the 36-year-old teamed up with Melissa shoes to create 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers, a new collection on display in the shoe company’s Miami Beach pop up until January 6.
Each custom pair has a corresponding female portrait (nude, naturally) and backstory, that explains the relationship and how the pair came to be. There’s the “Jetsetter” Jessica, a bright red pair with a plane for a heel that commemorates a wealthy girlfriend who is unimpressed by Errazuriz’s lowly apartment; the “Honey” Natasha, a honeycomb wedge shoe, paired with a story about the time Errazuriz was lovingly cared for a woman he then unceremoniously dumped; and finally, the Goldigger, a woman who broke with Errazuriz when he couldn’t afford to go on a trip to Brazil with her. She’s illustrated by — you guessed it — a gold shoe with a man toiling on the heel.
Errazuriz chose shoes as a medium to tell these stories, because, he told StyleCaster, “Girls tend to be very specific about shoes in general. There’s something that goes beyond other garment — it’s almost this fetishist object.” And plus, women just love them some shoes. “Women have a tiny weak point in their fascination with shoes, so it seemed like a fun point to incorporate a playful fun homage to each one of them.”
As you might imagine, several of the shoes have rather disparaging names. There’s the “Hot Bitch,” the aforementioned “Gold Digger,” the “Ice Queen,” and the Cry Baby” – all rather negative stereotypes about women, if you ask us. Errazuriz bristles at the implication that there could be anything at all sexist in project. A shoe called “Gold Digger” is really, he says, just “one aspect” of his ex’s personality.
“For each girl there were different characteristics I ended up talking about.” And if you’re offended by the shoes or the stories, you’re simply not getting what he means. “I think that people don’t really read the text, if you really read all of them, you would see that in general they’re very self depreciating, even if you are objectifying women. The vocabulary used might be very candid, but in no way is it meant to be demeaning,” he assures.
Whatever your take, there’s no denying that the shoes themselves are really incredible pieces. We’ve collected all of the shoes in a gallery above, so take a look!