Najeeba Hayat founded Liudmila in 2014. She initially studied to become a management consultant at Wesleyan but immediately after completing her degree, she left Connecticut for Milan and enrolled in an intensive shoemaking course at the historical Ars Sutoria school. She became fixated on mining childhood memories and translating the sense of wonder and magic they evoked into line, form, and colour. In her latest collection, she explores the victorian underworld to produce a striking Autumn/Winter collection. When I first skimmed through this collection what struck me was the contrast that Najeeb just described; two distinct color palettes fought each other while subtle details in the heel and laces bring the collection together. The lighter, ethereal pieces are perfect for sunny winter days while the laced up boots should be reserved for cold nights trudging through London after a night at the theatre.
The pieces featuring the soft lilac and vibrant red detailing immediately caught my attention, with the kitten heal, this is a truly beautiful shoe.
We got in contact with Najeeb to find out more:
What is the latest collection called?
What was the inspiration behind this collection?
Liudmila’s Pre-Spring ’17 collection plays on the recurring theme of Dickensian Victoriana, while showcasing the brand’s signature elements in a whole new light. Half the collection concentrates on heavily Victorian-influenced boots in dark, glossy, skins reminiscent of polished floors and worn armchairs in Victorian pubs and members’ clubs while hinting at the grimy patina that develops on leather after heavy use in a foggy, soot-blackened 19th-century London. The fantasy element central to Liudmila is developed here by playing with these masculine leathers and peppering them with subtle hints at the magical Victorian underworld, filled with witches, oddball scholars, and criminals unchecked. We have dainty heels and buckled boots with dark, oxblood eel skin, masses of laces pulling at a panelled boot made with hand-dyed, a glossy, unevenly brown kangaroo. Dirty-looking speckled velvets are decorated with embroidered gold graphs from old Persian astronomy texts, fusing the two worlds together.
The other half of the collection is the bright, shiny “magic” that stands apart from the dark leathers and dirty velvets. It is a tribute to Victorian hobbyists and members clubs filled with exotic curiosities plundered from foreign lands. We imagine that the residents of our underworld might have paid these display cases a few illicit nighttime visits. We create a sharp contrast by focusing entirely on rare, beautiful examples of semi-precious stones like ocean jasper, metallic quartz geode and incredible semi-transparent agates in purple and pink, shot through with bright fire-red. We blew up these stones and abstracted them, playing with transparency, pearlescent leather, beads, and elements copied directly from the stones to make shoes that resemble bright amulets in the sea of grime and darkness.
Which key materials are used in your AW collection?
Masculine leathers, dark-oxblood eel skin, hand dyed-unevenly brown kangaroo leather, and pearlescent leather.
For more, visit www.liudmilafootwear.com