By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi
Former top model Sharon Cumberbatch knows exactly how to transform any woman into a goddess: put her in a pair of vertiginous heels. Unfortunately, most of the world’s top shoe brands, though gorgeous, are ecologically damaging: the tanning and dyeing processes normally involve the use of toxic chemicals, and the leather itself is sometimes sourced from cattle raised in inhumane conditions, or even worse, on land that was formerly rainforest.
Although Cumberbatch’s fetishistic footwear is made for fierce, controlling females, her ethos towards shoemaking is gentle and benign. Eluxe met with her to learn which role the Obamas, mirrors and trickery play in the creation of Kioo Viatu shoes.
What inspired you to create eco-friendly footwear?
Well we are lucky to have a great President, who has a great woman by his side: Michelle Obama has always channelled the attention of the press and the population on the importance of eating healthy food, of getting non-invasive medical treatments, cultivating your own food and dressing in sustainable clothes that protect the environment we live in. That is what has inspired me to create an eco-friendly product.
The shoes are beautiful, but specifically how are they eco-friendly?
They have been manufactured by Italian craftsmen, Neapolitan artisans to be precise, who are masters in constructing all parts of the shoe, from the heel to the laces, in very fine eco-leather. These shoes are trendy and sustainable; they use recycled mirrors and leather, as well as other natural materials, such as acacia, hemp, corn and cotton. We also only use chlorine-less-bleach and biodegradable plastics; in short, none of the substances used in our shoes are harmful to the environment.
Would you say your shoe designs have a bit of kink in their style?
Indeed, they are a fetish accessory. Women have always managed to live in heels and have never been able to do without, and feminine shoes have always played a major role in the game of seduction.
How would you define the style of your shoes?
If I could give my own definition of Kioo Viatu Shoes I’d choose the Italian phrase “specchietti per le allodole” which refers to a ‘deception of smoke and mirrors’. While seduction may be based on the art of trickery, there is nothing deceptive about Kioo Viatu’s approach to creating sexy, sustainable shoes.
For more information, see: www.kiooviatu.com