Paris-based shoe designer Raphael Young managed to get the fashion world into a tizzy over his sculptural spring 2009 collection of wooden wedges and cone-heeled sandals. After last season's Japanese samurai influence, Young turned the focus of his most recent collection to the future: The mosaic-patterned leather shoes and boots have metal details and extreme, architectural heels. But even though the hard angles and tough, almost masculine shapes may be aesthetically futuristic, they are crafted using traditional, haute couture techniques that are rarely still practiced. He learned the methods — which involve carving all the lasts and heels from wooden blocks and assembling the prototypes by hand — from his uncle, Alexandre Narcy, who designed footwear at YSL for 40 years. Young, who studied physics and math in school, says the towering pieces are comfortable, made with balance in mind, and constructed in such a way that each shoe receives individualized attention. These edgy, well-crafted shoes may not be for the stylistically safe (or budget-wary), but we enjoy seeing designers who take risks and don't follow trends.
Discotronic Diamond Pattern Metallic Boot, $632. Devlon Thigh-High Boot in Black, $707.
Delixir Diamond Pattern Ankle Boot in Orange, $533. Firework Bootie in Gold with Aluminum Heel, $558.
Fazer Boot in Blue with Aluminum Heel, $558. Futura Boot in Black with Aluminum Heel, $483.
Bubble Boot in Black with Carbon Heel, $583. Bibop Boot in Blue with Carbon Heel, $483.
Roxar Biker Boot in Black with Aluminum Heel, $731. Raven Biker Boot in Bronze with Aluminum Heel, $731.
Delix Bootie in Black with Wedge Heel, $483. Diams Diamond Pattern Bootie in Blue with Wedge Heel, $508.
Eagle One Pump in Blue with Aluminum Heel and in Gold with Gold Heel, $384 each.
Eagle Two Boot in Black with Gold Heel and Grey with Aluminum Heel, $731 each.
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