The search for inspirations that resonate can be a fascinating part of the process when designing shoes and developing ideas.
It’s an intriguing journey and results in more unique, distinctive ideas when the source of inspiration is a little more unusual.

I’m neither a pianist nor a connoisseur of Pianos, but since my last post, I’ve been intrigued by the various tenuous links I started to notice.

The immediate visual, scenic connection, of a piano being played on a beach reminded me of The Piano; the 1993 film written and directed by Jane Campion. It had been years since I’d seen the film and was curious about the detail, so I sat and rewatched it a few nights ago. Aspects of the opening scenes – the protagonist being rowed across a sea and landing at a dramatic beach – reminded me of Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, which I wrote about in  New Letters recently.

The night preceding The Piano, I’d watched The Power Of The Dog; a slow burning masterpiece also written and directed by Jane Campion. I’m not sure whether it’s a theme in her movies, but there was – playing a smaller but significant role – a piano!


Nick Cave’s tongue-in-cheek letter written in response to a fan also came to mind.
He’d been asked which Piano he’d played for his Idiot Prayer performance at the Alexandra Palace.
It was a Fazioli.

Handcrafted in the North East of Italy, in a small town called Sacile.
They are a beautiful instrument.
Herbie Hancock won’t play anything else, and has them written into his contracts.

The view inside a Fazioli is exquisite. An elegant colour palette and intricate pattern of strings; perfectly positioned and rich in vibrations.

All laid beautifully inside their polished majestic case.

“An instrument that reacts to your thoughts and leaves nothing else to desire! …
No other instrument inspires so much love, joy, freedom and brilliance as Fazioli!”
Inspiring words from Georgian pianist Ketevan Sepashvili.



Earlier today, I spent some time immersed in the music of Hania Rani.
Especially this video, shot in Iceland, directed by Neels Castillon, featuring dancers Mellina Boubetra, Janina Sarantsina and Fanny Sage.
A beautiful mix of being dramatic, while exuding calm; elegance and emotion.

This performance too.



Alex Kilbee, AKA The Photographic Eye, recently shared some fascinating insights in to the work of photographer William Klein.

In the last few days I listened to a wonderful conversation between Malcolm Gladwell and David Epstein at the 92Y – talking about his book RANGE – which is about how generalists succeed in a specialised world. And how, if we experiment in lots of things earlier in our lives, we have a greater breadth of experience to bring to our specialism later on.

So it was interesting to see the parallels across mediums of creativity – how Klein explored the breadth of his range – initially interested in abstract painting and sculpture, to a career behind the camera; from photojournalism to fashion photography, from documentary to feature film making.


A few posts ago – SHOESTORMING – I mentioned Drillog – a beautiful new dip-pen.
Something about the pattern of the engineering and the flow of the ink down the nib to the paper inspired this sketch … mainly of the outsole, but the ‘flow’ could incorporate an aspect of the upper too …


As I was sketching it out, I was thinking about the ‘flow’ aspect, and of all the different directions this idea could go in.
A way to channel liquids away from a shoe ?
Or to encourage blood flow while wearing the shoe ?
A digital download of prose being flowed around the shoe ?


Jenny Holzer‘s work came to mind … which I first came across at the Guggenheim in Bilbao over a decade ago, and then again at the Tate Modern in London just a few years ago …

A conceptual artist from New York, her work focuses on the delivery of words and ideas. Often in her signature medium of LED’s – the words and messages scroll down the length of the installation – and was one of the first artists to use information technology as a platform for political protest.

Finding unique sources of inspiration results in unique design, which helps your product stand out from the crowd.

Here’s a blend of all the above using some of my own poetic prose as the message.