The Brazilian footwear label, which is largely known for its sustainable designs made entirely out of plastic, drew inspiration from the shoes in Westwood’s famous Mini-Crini and Harris Tweed shows in the late Eighties. The style, which features a classic ballerina elevated on a flat platform, was then re-created using recyclable plastic and ribbon ties.
“Melissa has always been working on plastic interpretations of iconic styles. The Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse was perfect for our new collection, as its classic ballerina shape blends Westwood’s own unique punk style with references to dance movements,” said Raquel Scherer, Melissa’s head of marketing and business.
The brand has been working with Vivienne Westwood for more than eight years and has re-created signature styles by the designer, including “Animal Toe,” a slingback heel whose front panel takes the shape of human toes, and “Lady Dragon Heart,” a pair of peep-toe pumps with a heart-appliquéd front, which has been featured in the Design Museum’s book named “50 Shoes That Changed the World.”
Melissa has also collaborated with Jason Wu, Jeremy Scoot, Gareth Pugh and Karl Lagerfeld in the past. Scherer said that the partnership with Westwood has had such longevity given both brands’ commitment to sustainability and newness.
“Both brands are looking for the new and for what can be altered, both are connected to create things that can be part of the history,” said Scherer.
To celebrate the launch of the Rocking Horse Ballerina, the brand’s London flagship in Covent Garden Galeria Melissa, will host an event for customers to introduce the new style. The shoes will be showcased alongside an in-store installation, which will feature a chandelier decorated with Rocking Horse ballerinas and archival footage from Westwood’s Harris Tweed show as the backdrop. The store’s basement will also incorporate prints from the Harris Tweed and Mini-Crini shows along its walls, as well as a gigantic version of the new shoe.
Scherer said adding such artistic elements to the store experience is essential for the brand to communicate its message in its entirety.
“Galeria Melissa is a space for fashion, art and design, as its name states — it’s a space for art exhibitions, one of the key brand pillars,” said Scherer. “We believe the store should transmit the full Melissa experience to the end consumer from the smell, to the touch and the visual – providing a complete immersion into this plastic universe and its sensations. It is an invitation for the customer to be emotionally connected to the brand and the art installations are really important in transmitting this experience.”
The in-store event is taking place Sept. 15, ahead of the beginning of London Fashion Week. The shoes are prized at 170 pounds ($224) and are available to purchase at both brands’ boutiques and respective websites in four colorways: red, white, black and gold.