FINSK is the London based label of Finnish shoe designer Julia Lundsten, launched in 2005. Julia is an alumni of the Royal College of Art, where she won the prestigious Manolo Blahnik Award two years consecutively. 'Exquisite', 'divine' and 'perfect' were just some of the superlatives used by Blahnik to describe Lundsten’s shoes.
The FINSK aesthetic comprises contrasting leathers with sculptural wooden heels, Julia has been described as ‘The Eames of footwear’ drawing inspiration from furniture and architecture design.
To commemorate the anniversary FINSK has returned to the archive to create a retrospective of iconic styles from over the years. FINSK is often celebrated for the more elaborate and boundary breaking ‘PROJECT’ shoes, experiments made purely to test something or push an idea to its limits.
The popularity of these designs among journalists and buyers alike has ensured their iconic status as part of the FINSK brand identity. Alongside the PROJECT shoes a staple for FINSK has been the mid heel range, beautifully designed and comfortable shoes for the modern woman.
Lundsten explains: 'I often think of shoes as ‘mini-buildings’ for the feet. There is a lot of engineering and detail similar to that in architecture, so I think it’s quite natural that shoe designers look at architecture for inspiration and architects are intrigued by shoes and want to have a go. Shoes have their own architecture and engineering, though, so it’s not always as easy without actual experience in designing and producing shoes.'
Aesthetically FINSK embodies specific design principles. Contrast in design is an important factor, such as a very polished, finished surface of a heel combined with a more rustic natural leather upper. Another juxtaposition is the contrast of busy London life compared to the very quiet, calm Finnish landscapes and a much slower pace of life.
The main concept of FINSK is to work with traditional, natural materials, such as wood and leather, but use them in a very modern way. Julia Lundsten seeks to continually evolve a label with dynamic longevity that is renowned for its architectural design balancing playful femininity with a sense of daily indulgence, and effortless style.
The exhibition is supported by Nordic Bakery and Smith & Beech Mole.
London, Unit 1, 3 York Way, London N1C 4AE, UK
12 November - 15 December 2015
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday 10am - 5p.
More FINSKshoes at the Virtual Shoe Museum.