Life + Arts

STYLE FILES: Fashion’s most dangerous art

Every fashionista loves shoes, wants shoes and needs shoes. Even if those shoes are painful, it’s only a small price to pay for looking fabulous.

Large heels and uncomfortable soles are normally what constitute painful shoes, but artist Omar Perez introduces different kinds of painful, but still fabulous, heels.

Perez is a self-trained woodworker who not only creates wicked high heels, but also crafts fine furniture. His shoe work is on display in the Artist’s Hall at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft through Oct. 25.

Perez has used his experience in wood crafting to create a collection of shoes, which he calls ‘Stilett’O’s.’ They are not only made of wood, but are also accented with random day-to-day elements one would never find on a pair of Manolo Blahniks.

There are 14 pairs of ‘Stilett’O’s’ on display made with woods such as maple, ebony and walnut burl. Each pair has a story of its own. Some are influenced by cultures around the world, some by current trends and some by human emotions.

Two pairs of the shoes have international elements from places like India and China.’

‘Rupi’ is made from cocobolo, maple, Indian currency and henna dye.

‘Tashi’ features a Chinese theme with chopsticks, vine, paper and a Chinese coin.

‘Teteo Inian’ features not only walnut burl woodwork, but also crocodile skin and feathers. With current trends focusing on animal skins and feather usage in handbags and headbands, the ‘Teteo Inian’ mixes modern and ancient trends very well.’

‘Serpentine Liaison,’ the largest pair of shoes on display, is made from ebony, maple, snakeskin and band saw blades. The piece has a hint of red and silver, with the blades used as straps.’

These days, a shoe isn’t only looked at for its color or heel size, but also for the details of its straps, and Perez has made them more noticeable than ever.

From worldly elements to current trends, Perez has used his ‘Stilett’O’s’ to convey emotion.’

‘Trust No One’ shows epic sorrow and anger. The pair was made from pau ferro, American dollar bills, a lizard and a 50 mm bullet. The U.S. currency used is visible in a triangular shape in the back of the shoes. The main attraction, the bullet, serves as the heel.

It’s amazing to see the abilities and imaginations of artists, but it’s even better to see these imaginations used for a fashionista’s most important accessory.’

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