A CONVERSATION ON CRAFT WITH W&S DESIGN DIRECTOR, MES MEGRABYAN
You've worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, how is it that you came to be involved with Wolf & Shepherd?
A while ago, Hope and Justin had an idea, an idea to evolve W&S in to more than dress shoes. To go genderless. And so they reached out to us (my wife and I) with an interesting proposition, they wanted us to help design the newest collection for Wolf & Shepherd, a collection of effortlessly sophisticated, premium footwear that had the versatility to be worn every day.
What was your overall approach when it came down to creating the Cruise collection?
Our approach was to take the best elements of the world of sport and fashion. We started with the idea of premium crafted ‘formal footwear’ and then challenged it though an entirely genderless proposition that came to life through 3 key themes; 1) iconic silhouettes, 2) premium craftsmanship, and 3) innovation through the idea of ‘covert comfort’.
From the onset, we threw out the "seasonal" play book and focused on making a story through a vignette of balance through color & texture.
When it comes to the design of Cruise, what are some elements that make this collection unique?
We took a very holistic approach to the design of Cruise. The collection is meant to be intuitive, an object of desire that oozes sophistication but at the same time isn’t intimidating. A collection of silhouettes that makes you say “what is that?!” We want people to view Cruise as something that can anchor an entire look and elevate the daily vibe into effortless formal wear.
As far as the designs go, there are several elements that really make our Cruise designs unique.
_The first element of Cruise is its proportions. A slim, sophisticated wedge silhouette that characterizes "static motion. "
_the slightly upturned angled ‘pitch’ from heel to toe drives the eye across the top-line and evokes a sense of speed.
_Volumes in the tooling, showcasing the visual identity of the foot in motion.
_ A cupsole construction with higher sidewalls encase a plush pouron / eva engineered drop in sock-liner that adapts to every foot shape.
_the proprietary drop in sockliner provides a plush step-in feeling , followed by all day stability and energy return.
The Cruise collection is constructed with the highest quality Italian leathers we could source. Every color, material and texture is part of an integrated design language. The natural leathers and nubucks that we selected have the most ‘form fitting’ properties to show their quality though our subdued color palette. The collars of most of the models are moulded neoprene/lycra packages which are engineered to hug + support the natural shape of the ankle / heel. The majority of the collection has no overdone reinforcements and allows your foot to spread out and ‘bounce back’ where needed internally. Everything you need, nothing you don't.
Can you tell us how you selected colors and materials for this collection?
This collection is drawn from studying a wide range of inspirational sources. We looked at everything from the ancient Olympic Games to material and technical innovations, as well as how culture and global environments impact our aesthetic choices.
We’re highly influenced by ancient and modern sport as well as the idea of competition, the maximization of human potential, and the journey to 'winning.’ These influences materialized through an effortless color palette with confident tones of off-whites, as well as subtle hues of natural elements.
Mel and Hope meticulously hand selected all tones of each natural color to enhance the experience of each color story. Blues inspired by the Greek isles, clay of the historic arenas, the natural off-white and brilliant white marble slabs, juxtaposed with the black / grays from weighted rocks made from black volcanic stone. You will see the brilliant white color of marble, complimented by a variety of warm and cool hues, seen in the natural veining of the stone. Racetracks were made of clay and ground up stone, reflected in our “clay” and “stone “ colorways. All the colors we chose for Cruise subconsciously evoke being present in the moment, especially in that moment of triumph.
How does the Cruise color palette differ from the colors currently in the Wolf & Shepherd line?
The existing Crossover collection was rooted in traditional male formal footwear. It heroes the use of black, navy, and our hero “Honey” leather color juxtaposed with a stark brilliant white bottom while the Cruise color palette is built around lighter, neutral tones.
If you had to pick a favorite style or color, which one would it be and why?
The Ace (coming in June..), in particular is my favorite. It has an iconic style that’s bound to be an instant classic. The idea of the shoe was to be convertible. A mule and a full shoe in one. Like the rest of the Cruise collection, it’s a silhouette you can easily pair with joggers, suit pants or a mini-skirt. Our personalities and moods evolve daily, now Wolf & Shepherd has a shoe that fits that vibe for every day of the week.
Any final thoughts on Cruise?
This collection embodies the ancient elements of sport and manifests them through a modernized collection of meticulously sculpted footwear silhouettes. It's designed with the versatility to be sophisticated, effortless, and understated, an anchor to any outfit, regardless of what you'll be doing that day.
I love this collection....
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