If you've ever read the FF blog, you'll know that we're ardent supporters of skyscraper heels - comfort be damned! So of course we couldn't pass up an opportunity to spend the afternoon at Holt Renfrew with up and coming shoe designer Jerome Chouinard-Rousseau. He met us at the door, in a fitted Hugo Boss shirt, vintage bow tie and elephant grey Buddhahood boots. Before we got into it, we were met by his friends Leslie Feist and Simone Rubi (from Rubies, a Cali band by way of Sweden) who joined us for the afternoon. From his design inspiration, to his friends, it is clear music is very important to him.
Jerome's love of shoes began at twelve while watching Deee-Lite's music video for Groove is in the Heart - the perfect combination of "60's psychedelia with 70's disco".
He left Montreal at 18 to study at London's Cordwainers College, which also boasts Jimmy Choo and Patrick Cox as graduates. Once finished school he worked in London for Matthew Williamson, John Richmond and John Rocha. He then moved to LA in 2004 to head up the shoe division for Isabella Fiore, until 2007 when he launched his own collection of shoes.
Now that we're all caught up - let's get to it - what to expect from Jerome for SS09. Inspired by Ettore Sottsass the architect and designer behind the collective, Memphis Group; and hardcover book, Dreamscapes by London artist Verena Paloma Jabs, Jerome's outlook on spring is all about angles, lines and whimsy.
Saga is available at Holt Renfrew for $ 795CDN
This is also the shoe he picks up, when asked about his favourite.
He shows us the colour palette inspired by Jabs, consisting of mint green, lilac, lipstick pink, bright coral, and a chartreuse green - subtle, but sexy.
Dragon is available at Holt Renfrew for $625CDN
The shoes he creates are inspired by women, and named after goddesses for SS '09; and so, fittingly, they are beautifully constructed and mindful of the wearer's comfort (with padded soles, straps and linings). All of his shoes are made in Tuscany, in the same factory as many of the blue chip labels he will be standing next to on the shelves of Holt Renfrew, Barney's and Harvey Nichols.
Looking ahead to FW '09 - Jerome has mad love for Elli Medeiros of 80's French electro-pop group Elli et Jacno. The Victorian boho look of London's late 70's in Kate Bush is also a major influence - he is fascinated with the way she moves. As for colours - his signature element, it looks like purples and jewel tones will be featured.
Inspired and surrounded by strong women in music - I am compelled to ask, who is the Jerome Rousseau girl? "She has twelve lovers and another fifteen crushes ... they don't know about each other and she loves to wear her most beautiful shoes dancing alone at home to her favourite song - she's quite musical." He wants a love affair with his customer - "she will choose one of these shoes because she falls in love with it, like a crush - head over heels - the emotional connection between people and shoes is the most fascinating..."
Since he's "into shoes through music" I ended the afternoon looking for some personal inspiration, by asking what tracks are currently topping his playlist, he answered:
1. Elli et Jacno: "I am madly in love with them... #1 on my playlist"
2. A Camp: Nina Persson of The Cardigans, side project
3. Patrick Wolf: a British singer-songwriter
4. Simon Bookish: a British electro-pop composer
5. Rubies (Simone Rubi's band)
6. And of course, Ms. Feist
Posted by JACQUIE