Freeze Frame: A collection of interactive avant-garde performance shoes for the Ballroom – is a dissertation, which brings back the function of a shoe by investigating the influence of footwear in relation to dance in its transition from fast body movements to static postures. From the very start, the interest has been in the fact that footwear is the only connection between one’s body and the ground and, thus, can impact on one’s posture, movement and behaviour depending on what kind of shoes are being worn. In this case, the fundamental focus lies on the historical aspect of fashion and footwear in dance, in particular within the contemporary ballroom community of New York and London. It is this specific scene from which ‘Vogue/ Voguing’ – an eccentric way of performing – has evolved and has become established. Since moving to London, I was introduced to the local community and my curiosity to find out more about these flamboyant folks was awakened.

Collage Workbook

‘What would dancing shoes look like if specifically designed for the Ballroom?’

Collage Workbook

Material and colour inspiration of collected images of the Living Archive.

Collage Workbook

Material and colour inspiration of collected images of the Living Archive.

Ecco Leather Workshop

At the ECCO Leather Workshop in Dongen, Netherlands I created different tie-dyes to imitate the pattern of a coral snake, by firstly spraying the skin with a white coat, then tying the leather and putting it in a red dye bath. Later, black dye was added at the corner of the rubber bands. After washing out the colour and drying the leather, a top coat was applied and the final result was embossed with a croco-pattern.

Ecco Leather Workshop

At the ECCO Leather Workshop in Dongen, Netherlands I created different tie-dyes to imitate the pattern of a coral snake, by firstly spraying the skin with a white coat, then tying the leather and putting it in a red dye bath. Later, black dye was added at the corner of the rubber bands. After washing out the colour and drying the leather, a top coat was applied and the final result was embossed with a croco-pattern.

Ecco Leather Workshop

At the ECCO Leather Workshop in Dongen, Netherlands I created different tie-dyes to imitate the pattern of a coral snake, by firstly spraying the skin with a white coat, then tying the leather and putting it in a red dye bath. Later, black dye was added at the corner of the rubber bands. After washing out the colour and drying the leather, a top coat was applied and the final result was embossed with a croco-pattern.

Ecco Leather Workshop

At the ECCO Leather Workshop in Dongen, Netherlands I created different tie-dyes to imitate the pattern of a coral snake, by firstly spraying the skin with a white coat, then tying the leather and putting it in a red dye bath. Later, black dye was added at the corner of the rubber bands. After washing out the colour and drying the leather, a top coat was applied and the final result was embossed with a croco-pattern.

Ecco Leather Workshop

At the ECCO Leather Workshop in Dongen, Netherlands I created different tie-dyes to imitate the pattern of a coral snake, by firstly spraying the skin with a white coat, then tying the leather and putting it in a red dye bath. Later, black dye was added at the corner of the rubber bands. After washing out the colour and drying the leather, a top coat was applied and the final result was embossed with a croco-pattern.

Ecco Leather Workshop

At the ECCO Leather Workshop in Dongen, Netherlands I created different tie-dyes to imitate the pattern of a coral snake, by firstly spraying the skin with a white coat, then tying the leather and putting it in a red dye bath. Later, black dye was added at the corner of the rubber bands. After washing out the colour and drying the leather, a top coat was applied and the final result was embossed with a croco-pattern.

Work Space

Moodboard / Material

Look_01

Prototype Sketch

Look_02

Prototype Sketch

Look_03

Prototype Sketch

Look_04

Prototype Sketch

Look_05

Prototype Sketch

'The Allrounder'

Spec. Sheet / Tech. Drawing

'The Wedge'

Spec. Sheet / Tech. Drawing

'The Boot'

Spec. Sheet / Tech. Drawing

'The Floating Heel'

Spec. Sheet / Tech. Drawing

'The Flat'

Spec. Sheet / Tech. Drawing

'The Allrounder'

This design is laid out to combine all categories in one shoe. The shape of the floating heel allows the performer to channel the entire body weight onto the toe area, which automatically leads to a straightened posture, the illusion of longer legs, and a dramatic runway performance. Besides changing one’s posture and appearance, the floating heel also gives more freedom in movements. The fact that the heel is missing provides a safer landing of a dip or drop, since nothing will stab the performer in the back or scratch the thighs. Another move for which this sole shape comes as an advantage is the duck walk. While the duck walk is more likely an up and down bouncing of the upper body, performers tend to include moves in which they kick one foot in a circular motion in the air. Here again, the missing heel will assure a flawless kick, while the foot does not need to be lifted as high as with a heel. The shoe itself is a hybrid of a sneaker, a high heel and a sandal with sporty features, such as elastic straps, air circulation holes and chunky side release buckles. The leather of the upper was produced as a tryout while experimenting at the EccoLeather workshop in the Netherlands and afterwards modified with lacquered boat paint to give it a glossy finish. The piping was handmade out of reflective band, elastic cord and mesh material, of which the latter was taken from an old laundry net. Sketches of

'The Wedge'

A chunky sole with several flat areas that provide an effective support for floor work movements, such as a split. The massive wedge gives ideal stability, while the instep loop allows the performer to roll over this particular area without putting too much unpleasant pressure on the mid-foot. Again, the leather of the instep loop was produced as a tryout while experimenting at the EccoLeather workshop in the Netherlands and afterwards modified with lacquered boat paint to give it a glossy finish. Due to a different tie, the tiedye pattern distinguishes it from the used for Look 1. The mesh material used as upper and as front strap is taken off the same laundry net as Look 1. With its mesh upper and delicate sandal straps this design is the most revealing shoe of the collection. Nevertheless, in combination with the heavy sole, the shoe does not appear delicate at all.

'The Boot'

The extended heel turns into something, which I have named ‘butt-bowl’ during the entire process. This feature provides the performer with an extra area to rest on, while serving a duck walk. This sequence of movements is extremely tiring for thighs and calves, especially when performed for a long period of time. Besides the other ones, this is the only sole that was handcrafted because of its complexity and large scale of size. Because conventual 3D printer are bound to a certain box size in which they can print, this design would have had to be printed in several parts and put back together in the end. Another reason why this sole was not printed was the huge amount of printing material, which would have led to a very high production price. The look of this boot is a mix of high heel, peep toe and combat boot. Sketches of

'The Floating Heel'

This design was inspired by the dramatic catwalks at the Balls. In order to let the performer move like a gazelle, the idea of this shoe was to take away as much as possible of the bearing surface. The complete weight of the wearer is channeled into the toe area, which allows the performer to stretch the legs and twirl on a minimised contact point. The sole resembles a compressed sneaker sole, attached to a cutout sneaker upper. The actual back part piece, which was planned for printing, had to be cancelled due to too much weight bearing on the shoe. Therefore, it was replaced by a black leather back part. The red leather was produced at the EccoLeather workshop in the Netherlands. In comparison to the tryout leathers of Look 1 and Look 2, this one was an actual half sized cowhide. Due to its big size and the short time frame of leather production, I skipped the step of putting a first layer of white spray paint on the skin before tie-dying it. This is why there are no white areas like in the other two designs. In addition, since the leather fully soaked the liquid, the lacquered glossy paint finish was omitted. Sketches of

'The Flat'

The main idea of this look was to combine both feet in one shoe to keep them at one place, while the dancer serves a handwork performance. Because entering the performance from the audience up onto stage with both feet tied in one shoe is nearly impossible, it was of immense relevance to find a solution in which the performer can walk onto stage and take position. The main inspiration here was taken from the conjoin-able playground sheets with their incomparable cut out shapes. Through experimentations, a general sole shape was found which provides several different conjoined foot postures, so each performer can choose as they please. The design cuts in the bridge provide enough flexibility in the sole that postures in which one foot is flat on the ground while the other is taking a position with a flexed arch are possible. Here, the upper design consists of a symbiosis of a sneaker and sandal with significant cutouts on each side.

'The Grand Prize Trophy'

The trophy symbolises everything the ballroom stands for: hard work, talent, competition and success. In close analogy, this is exactly what my Master thesis is about. Not only did I want to create something to give back to the community to thank them for what I have learned through this time, but to give something back to myself as well for the extraordinary one and a half years of passionate work, learning, struggling, getting back up again after setbacks and constantly staying true to myself. For this trophy I took my inspiration from a very early prototype model, which I handcrafted myself. This was basically the first ever shoe, which I made without any help or instruction from the technicians. It was my starting point that led me to who I am now – not only as a designer, but as a person as well. The choice of material is partly based on the one model mentioned above and partly of material, which is used in conventional ballroom trophies. Therefore, I decided to combine sculpted Jesmonite, acrylic sheet and metal screws – all cheap materials, which fake the look of something with high value like marble, glass or silver. Fake it till you make it. 1

'The Grand Prize Trophy'

'The Grand Prize Trophy'

'The First Prototype'

The first prototype was developed during the research studies and was used as a main inspiration for the grand prize trophy. This prototype was made of Jesmonite, cork, leather, acrylic sheet and metal screws.

Final Photoshoot

Model: Michelle Nguyen / Sattva Ninja | Photo by: Suthathip Saepung

Final Photoshoot

Model: Michelle Nguyen / Sattva Ninja | Photo by: Suthathip Saepung

Final Photoshoot

Model: Michelle Nguyen / Sattva Ninja | Photo by: Suthathip Saepung

Final Photoshoot

Model: Michelle Nguyen / Sattva Ninja | Photo by: Suthathip Saepung

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