Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Shoes

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UPDATE: The new Spring Summer 2009 Collection from Melissa and Vivienne Westwood Anglomania is out! Don’t miss it!

“Life in plastic, is fantastic” spoke a song years ago. I guess they must have been familiar with the Brazilian ways.

Melissa is a well known brand in the shoes industry (at least in Brazil) and if you take a look at this 1979 sandal, you’ll know exactly what Melissa is all about! Besides being made from plastic, Melissa Shoes also seem to have a golden hitch somewhere for they sell about 2.3 million pairs a year.

Melissa Plastic Sandal from 1979

Starting by selling plastic packaging for wine crates, Mellisa is selling designer footware now. The world’s most talented and known fashion designers (and architects) gave a touch of art to the jelly shoe. So it seems it was not the Swedish Giant H&M who invented haute couture designers for high end fashion, but the Brazilian Mellisa who convinced Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler do show off the plastic shoes.

Melissa Shoes by Vivienne Westwood

Since then, Melissa has partnered with leading designers not only from fashion world but also architects and furniture designers. Latest on the list is Vivienne Westwood who signed two models for Melissa.

Vivienne Westwood for Melissa

There is nothing more ‘ordinary’ than a Coca-Cola bottle or a can of Campbell’s soup, but properly portrayed in Andy Warhol’s work and it became refined pop art. We use similar reasoning behind Melissa’s strategy. Why should modern design and taste only be characterized by expensive products for the wealthy classes? Said Edson Matsuo, the brand’s creative director

Vivienne Westwood Melissa Shoes

Hm. Can’t really decide if it’s because I’m not Brazilian that I don’t feel impressed with these shoes, or it’s because there’s really nothing impressive about them at all! As for their creative director who compares Warhol’s work with plastic shoes, well, that leaves me a bit confused. What does a pvc shoe has to do with art if it’s not by the very perversity of the world we live in that we make a relation between the two?

Say I held my voice for vegan shoes because I respect animals and therefore I’m not very comfortable at the idea of killing them for our eyes pleasure, but when plastic involved, that’s a bit of another story. For the short story and to keep you informed – “PVC” or “vinyl” and chemically known as (C2H3Cl)n has been reported for being human carcinogen. Additives mixed with PVC resins such as stabilizers, plasticizers, and fillers can leach out of a PVC product during its useful life posing public health hazards, including the development of reproductive problems in children.

I’m not a paranoid person, nor do I want to imply that over at Melissa they don’t respect the environment (or the human being for the matter), but PVC shoes make me kinda freak out and ask myself what goes so wrong with people who absolutely want to make every step of every day in plastic shoes.

Besides being two impossibly ugly shoe models (the Vivienne Westwood signed shoes), what do you think about plastic shoes? Could you? would you? Do you wear plastic shoes? (via, Images)

As for the Friday song – Royksopp Remind Me, a music and animation masterpiece that I see fit for the occasion.

18 comments

#1 Michelle on 02.12.08 at 9:02 pm

I’m not big on these plastic shoes at all, sorry to say! I much prefer http://www.vegetarianshoesandbags.com/

#2 Emily on 02.23.08 at 3:57 pm

I just bought a pair of Melissa shoes. They are 100% biodegradable, can be recycled, and are made from recycled materials. They are extremely comfortable, stain proof, water resistant, and smell like bubble gum. The company also recycles much of their waste and pays their employees well above the minimum wage in Brazil. It’s a happy time on my feet with brand new silver shoes.

#3 No Gisele Bunchen Collection for Dolce and Gabbana — StyleFrizz on 03.06.08 at 8:34 am

[...] closet for inspiration purposes found nothing more but victoria lingerie, bikinis and her Ipanema beach sandals (due to her living in Brazil and all), there was no inspiration point to take over the actual [...]

#4 Brandy on 06.28.08 at 7:33 pm

Couldn’t disagree with you more on several points. First, as an earlier poster points out, the company that makes these shoes has gotten major kudos for its small environmental, umm, “footprint.”

Second, the leather industry is about as environmentally unfriendly as it gets. Turning biodegradable skin into the durable, inert stuff that gets made into shoes is a chemically intensive process, involving substances that are detrimental to human health through both factory run-off and consumer product off-gasing.

I’ll take the compassionate plastic over the formaldehyded body any day!

Third, I think Melissa shoes are just about the most adorable I’ve ever seen!

#5 Brandy on 06.28.08 at 7:37 pm

and I forgot to mention the enviro devastation of the animal agriculture industry itself! the UN calls it the biggest enviro health threat.

check out this

#6 kpriss on 07.08.08 at 6:01 am

Brandy, I agree that some of the models from Melissa are completely adorable (I too own and love a transparent plastic sandal!). However, the Vivienne Westwood in question were really stylewrecking!

As for the leather-shoe wear industry it’s both immoral and environment unfriendly, I agree, but it’s already a mentality, so I don’t really think it will change soon!

#7 C on 11.18.08 at 4:13 am

you really don’t get the warhol point? i really hate that reference being overused, but i think it’s fair enough here. it’s about taking what’s thought of as cheap and common, and giving it an artistic flair. the first thing i thought of when i saw these shoes was pop art.

a lot of great fashion in the 60s is plastic, and even though that’s a problem eco-wise, there is a philosophy to it i appreciate, which is accessibility, as the melissa shoes designer says. seeing the everyday, the affordable and how beautiful it can be. so i welcome a more eco-friendly version of plastic shoes, and i’m sure they’ll keep finding ways to improve its green factor.

thinking of these as pop art is a key to how to wear them. you don’t just pop them on with a nice suit, obviously. a vintage mod dress and bright tights would look amazing with these.

#8 Lise on 01.07.09 at 5:00 pm

These shoes are ugly. If you think they’re not you are in serious denial. I love Westwood, but the thought of this on my foot grosses me out…just nasty. Like Poo!

#9 Nicky on 01.12.09 at 3:21 pm

I had the luck of finding a few pairs on sale last fall and I am still utterly in love with these shoes! They are more comfortable than you can imagine!
Living in Los Angeles, shoes can get very dirty very quickly (all of the black smog settling down, ew!), but these shoes are mercifully easy to clean, so they are ideal for urban living.
As for Vivienne’s style… well, I own the first pair in silver and the second in red. I get more compliments on the red shoes than I’ve ever received in my life! They may look odd to you online, but in person they’re really stunning.

#10 daisy on 02.11.09 at 3:15 pm

I have the vivienne westwood ones – a pair of fushia heels and some red pumps, and i have to say they must be the comfiest shoes i’ve owned in a long time! i want another pair now – either the blue flocked ones from last season or some of melissa’s ‘oswald’ ultragirl pumps!!
and as for all the enviro-crap, these plastic shoe manufacturers care about the environment a hell of alot more than some other companies i could care to mention…

#11 Camille on 03.20.09 at 3:34 am

I disagreed about your opinion on these shoes (and with Lise as well). I wouldn’t wear them cause my style is extremely minimal. Still I find the shoes beautiful so I didn’t understand what you meant.

Then I saw your header design, the dark fuchsia mixed with red and melon, the whole blog design, and I understood from where it was coming.

#12 kpriss on 03.20.09 at 7:30 am

Talking about plastic shoes… If I have to choose, I’ll go for Kartell (you can see them here). That’ll fall into your tastes too, Camille, I think! They’re by far the minimal shoes par excellence!

#13 Niki on 03.22.09 at 1:09 pm

I coudn’t disagree with you more.They are the best shoes ever!! I own a pair of the red mary janes and i can say they are the best looking pair of shoes I’ve ever owned – comfortable, affordable, and sexy as hell…that’s what Vivenne does best!

#14 Niki on 03.22.09 at 1:11 pm

oh, and I have to agree with Camille’s comments about design and taste too…

#15 Lisa on 03.23.09 at 1:41 pm

sexy as hell? galoshes look better than these!

lucky thing you know so much about design! and taste too!

#16 Niki on 03.24.09 at 9:44 am

Lisa, I suggest you go and actually see a pair of these shoes in real life – they look fabulous on – nobody would have a clue they are rubber in the first place – and as for design an taste, yup, I know a lot about both and can also recognise when somebody doesn’t have either :)

#17 Fallopia Tuba on 04.10.09 at 9:07 pm

I have several pairs of Melissa shoes, including the red Vivienne Westwoods. They are totally the best—comfortable, biodegradable, and long-wearing. (I walk dogs for a living, so I could be a beta-tester for shoes.) I still have the first Melissas I bought a few years ago; they haven’t decomposed.

Before today, I actually hadn’t been aware of how environmentally-friendly Melissa Shoes is as a company, but something like 99% of their water and waste is recycled, making the factories themselves very sustainable. The PVC in the shoes is actually Mel-flex or something, a non-toxic variant of the dreaded polyvinyl chloride.

I have my eye on the three-strap sandal, even though I already have something like eight pairs of Melissa shoes. Oh well; they go with everything.

#18 Bruna on 05.13.10 at 1:42 pm

Be sure to UNDERSTAND what you would like to write about before posting it. I agree with Brandy and C: Melissa shoes are eco-friendly (way more than your average leather ones), they’re a true symbol of POP art (if you didn’t grasp the meaning behind the A. Warhol comparisson, too bad for you), and regarding their beauty, I agree it can be questionable, but you just happened to pick up 2 of the ugliest models around – if you check their website you will find amazing ones! I own more than 5 pairs. And as to your “Can’t really decide if it’s because I’m not Brazilian that I don’t feel impressed with these shoes…”, being Brazilian myself, well, I could easily say that maybe because I am not from USA that I don’t feel impressed with A LOT of things. This is not a very polite thing to say, by the way.

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