Chris Donovan, an unlikely high fashion shoe designer
December 7, 2015 1:22 PM   Subscribe

Chris Donovan was a telephone technician for 25 years, when in his early 50s, he decided to change careers rather drastically. He sent his designs to Polimoda in Italy to enroll in fashion design, specifically shoe design. He was accepted, and graduated at 55, and now designs high fashion women's shoes, inspired by everything from gnarled trees to hip replacements, architectural features and plumbing fixtures, as seen on his Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts.
posted by filthy light thief (20 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
 
I love that he still rocks his casual attire, as he's seen largely (only?) in tie-die t-shirts in that video, despite graduating from a school of high design and designing crazy fantastic shoes.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:43 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love design students like this. We had one around the same age back when I was in admissions/studentstuff and they add an entirely different flavour to the class mix and teamwork.
posted by infini at 1:47 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


Some of these designs are amazingly gorgeous! Others seem like torture. This sketch seems to combine two of the least foot-friendly things I can think of: pointe shoes and a bucket of Legos.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:48 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


This gives me hope.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:48 PM on December 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


Apparently, Chris' shoes were featured in the first episode of Project Runway Season 14 (FanFare thread, no mention of Chris), and he won a contest put on by Lifetime and AARP and got feedback from Tim Gunn on his designs. (And it seems that if I was following mathowie on Twitter, I would have seen his video sooner.)
posted by filthy light thief at 1:52 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


This.is.sculpture
posted by infini at 1:52 PM on December 7, 2015


I think this just means I don't understand high fashion. But good on that guy.
posted by soren_lorensen at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I know nothing about fashion, high or otherwise, but simply looking at his shoes, while most are aesthetically pleasing, my feet hurt thinking about wearing them.
posted by AugustWest at 1:54 PM on December 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I love design students like this. We had one around the same age back when I was in admissions/studentstuff and they add an entirely different flavour to the class mix and teamwork.

I think that's true for many different college programs. I went straight to college from high school, and my first year of Landscape Architecture was a class of similarly experienced kids. The next year, some people changed majors, but the class almost doubled in size with "returning students" who had varying levels of additional experience, which made the classes a lot more interesting.

In short: more of that kind of thing.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think high fashion is quite simply wearable art, with the notion that you're not wearing it for very long (unless that is part of the performance). It can then get distilled into and inspire rather expensive but more "wearable" versions, which then get further simplified for the mass market.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:58 PM on December 7, 2015 [8 favorites]


Would love to see what he would do with hats.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 1:59 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm just glad I've still got 10 years to figure out what thing it's going to turn out I like doing and am totally awesome at.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:04 PM on December 7, 2015 [19 favorites]


And then you have two more decades to relax before following in the footsteps of Grandma Moses.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2015 [4 favorites]


And the Massachusetts lineman debuts his fall liiiiiiiiiiinnnnnne...
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:15 PM on December 7, 2015 [10 favorites]


AND he graduated from theology school?????????


This is an interesting fellow.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:33 PM on December 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love that he still rocks his casual attire

But god forbid he design flats? That would be an interesting high fashion challenge.
posted by jeather at 4:44 PM on December 7, 2015 [9 favorites]


I wish I could say I love them but none of them appeal to me. The heels are interesting, concepts like the split sole are interesting, but the shape and overall look of the shoes is off.

To the extent that means he's taken a strong stance with his designs rather than trying to make crowd-pleasers, I applaud him. Of course, this is coming from a person who has about a 0.3% chance of purchasing a pair of high-heeled shoes on any given day.
posted by mantecol at 12:17 AM on December 8, 2015


AND he graduated from theology school?

He's still bringing soles to gaud.
posted by pracowity at 3:12 AM on December 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Looking at all those heels, platforms and inflexible-looking soles, I am once again reminded that "fashionable" shoes can really only be worn well by the very young.

I had a stunning great-aunt, very trendy and chic, who wore high heels her entire life. Even wore heeled mules around the house when cleaning. Once at a family gathering when she was in her 80s she showed my sister and I her feet without shoes. "This is why you shouldn't wear heels," she said calmly as we beheld her Barbie-doll feet which were locked permanently in a distorted, toes-down, high-heel position. Neither of us wore heels again.
posted by kinnakeet at 3:25 AM on December 8, 2015


He actually has links to some amazing high fashion flats on his Pinterest page. Not his own designs, but cool inspiration
posted by fermezporte at 5:14 AM on December 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


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