This season, footwear designers tapped into a colorful trend to update tried-and-true warm-weather silhouettes. Picking up on tribal influences, they’ve embellished everything from flat-footbed sandals to slinky stilettos with intricate beading, often utilizing the handiwork in unexpected ways.
For instance, Etro’s suede style is outfitted with a beaded design on the heel and heel quarter. And Altuzarra added red beads and shells as an accent on its ankle-strap mule.
On some sandals, the craftwork serves as a playful addition to a minimalist silhouette, such as Sam Edelman’s cork-bottom slip-on and Dannijo’s simple two-strap look.
And Pikolinos brightened its Uzuri cork wedge with beadwork as part of its collection with the Maasai tribespeople of Kenya and Tanzania. The brand has been collaborating with the community for six years. As part of the partnership, local women hand-bead the shoe leather, earning money to help fund basics such as drinking water and medicine.
William Ole Pere, the Maasai tribal leader who leads the shoe project, recently told Footwear News, “We work with the Pikolinos team to share ideas on new designs. The tribal women wouldn’t have jobs without this project.”
All told, the venture employs about 1,600 women who turn out about 9,000 pairs of shoes per year.