As soon as I planned my escape to Europe, I knew I had to meet our favorite shoe designer, Chie Mihara. Her studio and factory are located in Elda, a small city near the eastern coast of Spain so I set off on a roadtrip through the dry Spanish terrain on a sunny day in April. It was a long journey on highways and through tiny towns, but I knew it would be worth it. When I finally spotted the “Chie Mihara” logo on an inconspicuous dark building on an unassuming street, I was all smiles.
The downstairs of Chie’s studio space is open and spacious with staff that was incredibly welcoming and gracious during their busy workday. Upstairs, Chie and her patternmaker work amidst boxes filled with beautiful trim, cabinets full of vintage shoes, and inspiration boards with photos of loved ones. I was elated when Chie asked me to try on a few pairs of sandals during a fitting. She was so incredibly knowledgeable and precise; adjusting the shoe by a millimeter here and there to make it absolutely perfect. She and her staff even joked that I need to eat some chorizo since my feet are so narrow! Chie and I discussed her playful approach to design, which I first fell in love with watching this video. She sweetly encouraged me to follow my sewing dreams, and to remember that innovation stems from fun!
The FW12 collection of Chie Mihara shoes is expected to arrive at Lille Boutique tomorrow, but you can pre-order online here. These are my favorite styles yet!
(All photos courtesy of me, Rachel Rector)