Brazilian footwear label Melissa has been producing its trademark “jelly" shoes since 1979. Manufactured by footwear giant Grendene – the world’s largest manufacturer of sandals – they have become one of the country’s most successful and best-loved brands.
To celebrate their 25th birthday, Melissa approached Brazilian design duo Fernando and Humberto Campana to create a new range of shoes and bags in their signature style.
The Campana Brothers have become international stars in recent years thanks to their exuberant furniture designs, such as the Favela chair (see page 142). These are inspired by the spontaneous creativity of the Brazilian people and employ unlikely materials, such as hosepipes, children’s cuddly toys and scraps of fabric and wood.
For their Melissa range, the brothers revisited a technique of weaving pliable, off-the-shelf materials, such as plastic tubing or nylon string, randomly back and forth across a frame. This was an idea that was inspired by the sight of tangled hoses lying in the gardens of suburban São Paolo.
They had already used the technique, which they call “zigzag", to create a range furniture items, such as chairs, stools and screens, with loosely-woven seats backs and surfaces. The same process seemed appropriate to moulded “jelly" shoes, since the resulting fabric has numerous gaps that would allow air to circulate around the feet.
The brothers began experimenting with 3 mm (1�?�8 in) diameter aluminium wire, which they hand-wove into the shape of a shoe. This prototype was then refined by Melissa’s designers to create the open-weave effect of the final product. The result is a range of three types of moulded plastic shoe – high-heeled, low-heeled and tennis – and a bag. All are in an range of primary colours plus black and white.
The low-heeled shoes are moulded in one part, while the high-heeled version has a moulded upper fixed to a clear plastic heel. The bag is made of two circular side panels and a base that clip together.
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