With my eternal love for towering heels, it is not often that shoes with less than 10cm of height (or 4 inches) catch my attention. My understanding of comfort is limited when it comes to footwear with high heels: how is one supposed to have the delicate posture of the Little Mermaid if it weren’t for the constant feeling of pain? Don’t get me wrong, I love a pair of ballet pumps as much as the next girl but surely when shoes come with heels, the heels should be high. And it is perfectly fine if those heels aren’t made for walking, or at least not made for walking beyond the standard “curb to cab” distance.
So imagine my own surprise when I discovered Ming Ray’s debut collection of a range of mid to low heels and found myself notably attracted to the dainty sophistication and exquisite craftsmanship presented (Italian, of course).
Ming Ray is a new player in the world of luxury footwear and handbags for female, which has been a major market focus for many big-name fashion houses, not to mention a handful of top tier brands whose sole expertise is shoe-making, such as Christian Louboutin and Aquazzura. However Ming Ray offers a completely different concept: Haute Cute. Having honed her skills at Alexander McQueen and Jimmy Choo, the designer Mingray herself isn’t new to the industry and knows fully well what she wants to achieve: “Haute Cute is the combination of Haute Couture quality and the Japanese pop culture of Kawaii, which is the Japanese term for cute. It describes all of the refinement and elegance of luxury, but with a touch of lighthearted innocence that every sophisticated woman still carries in her.”
Yes, one of Ming Ray’s focus in design is functionality, together with beauty, comfort and timelessness. I believe for many, especially myself, functionality has never been associated with heeled shoes, and comfort and timelessness has never been associated with beauty. The signature design of Akira pumps (pictured above) features 7cm heels (just shy of 3 inches) with Swarovski-encrusted embellishment, making them the perfect choice for day-to-night dressing that allows women to look and feel great throughout the day. Another favourite of mine is the Hana flower pump (Christian Louboutin Sandals) with 3cm heels (about an inch high). The caging design incorporates the current trend elements whilst the soft pink and flowers contrast the harshness of the black and add a ton of playful girlie-ness into the finished look.
Together with a range of mid to low heeled shoes, Ming Ray also designed a range of clutches made of exotic leather and Swarovski crystals for her debut collection. The result? Long lasting dreaminess. Miniature animal figures are frequently used and integrated into the design—the swallows on the Akira Pumps, the white rabbit on the Bunny Clutch, and the most exquisite of all, the butterflies on the Prima clutches. The Prima Clutches are made of luxurious glossy alligator skin and come in two heavenly colours: peachy blush and emerald green. The unique half moon shaped handle is fun yet sturdy, making it possible to dangle the clutch on one’s arm and again combining functionality with its fairytale design.
I adore how Ming Ray’s collection isn’t scared to bring back the pure femininity in a fashion world that is currently worshipping utility wear (think Alexander Wang) and grunge chic (think Saint Laurent). Crushing my initial reservation on the concept of comfort and functionality, I’m watching this space for Ming Ray.
Ming Ray is exhibiting her AW16 collection at SCOOP London at the Saatchi Gallery from February 21-23, 2016 and at Tranoi Femme at Carrousel Du Louvre in Paris between March 4-7.