Ipanema With STARCK: Philippe Starck Dips his Toe into Shoe Design
Calling it “a real need, not an accessory,” Philippe Starck has joined forces with Brazilian flip-flop brand Ipanema to design a collection of modern summer sandals that go toe-to-toe with the ideals of minimalism. The Ipanema With STARCK collection—4 designs, each available in a suite of 12 colors—employs the bare minimum amount of materials (and number of elements) needed to arrive at sandals that manage to be both practical and innovative. It’s no accident that Starck’s first foray into fashion footwear begins with that summer staple, the flip-flop. “When I was traveling I realized two-thirds of the population wears sandals. I think it’s the number one shoe in the world by far, because Asia, Africa, South America, this wide strip of hot climate countries wear flip-flops.”
Inspired by his grandmother’s words, “You can be poor but you always need to have clean, perfect shoes,” Philippe Starck set out to elevate the status of the flip-flop from that of a cheaply crafted and unimaginatively designed summer shoe to “something intelligent that is affordable for everyone.” To that end, Starck’s supremely simplified sandal designs—soft cushioning and slender strips of pliable plastic tubing are the featured composition in each—and the use of 30% recycled materials, appear to achieve the designer’s goal of material restraint, visual elegance, and a price tag of around $30-40 per pair.
The wide range of colors assigned to the Ipanema With STARCK sandal collection was a deliberate choice, injecting a dash of ‘more’ into the tightly edited offerings, and assuaging Starck’s desire to imbue the footwear with a sense of “…freedom to find something to make you unique. That is always difficult in mass production. That’s why I made 48 different colors, and with the 48 you have to choose what fits you.” In true modernist fashion, black, white and smoky neutrals hold sway with vivid, summery hues.