I'm rubbing my eyes wondering whether I got the date right. I first wrote about Laura Villasenin's show label Miista back in January 2011. Fast forward two years later and the progress that this affordable shoe range has seen is nothing short of astonishing. It's not just the volume of stockists that Miista is sold at, but the quality - Solestruck, ShopBop, Anthropologie, Shoescribe, Urban Outfitters - all brands that could make Miista a household name. I shouldn't be so surprised. Villasenin saw a gap in the market and armed with her degree from the prestigious Cordwainer's school in London, instead of going for the obvious high end route, she sought to bring independent-minded design at tangible prices. They're just as people-friendly when it comes to interacting with customers, engaging in campaigns such as the "Cheaper with a Tweet" allowing followers to set the sale prices of shoes or inviting people to contribute to a Pinterest board which would inspire the new collection as well as a well-updated and substantial blog. All in all, Villasenin and co. deserve to pat themselves on the back for the amount of work achieved in such a short period of time, in conditions that haven't exactly been kind to the young and independent.
The spring summer 2013 collection is just coming into stores right now and it represents a bit of a turning point in Miista's design aesthetic. The collection entitled "Electromancer" is a mystical melting point that explores the sweaty energy of an industrial rave, retrofuturism derived from novels such as 1962's Necromancer, beauties of the world beyond like the Omega Nebula and then the natural occurences of our planet from the structure of geodes to the neon body of a jellyfish. These highly visual elements all play into the light-filled collection which sees Miista using lucite, iridescent and pastel coloured leathers and matte plastics to great effect. A crystalline structure is recreated in a lucite heel. Nebula explosions are transferred to dyed silks that form the prints of the collection. Degrade leather is made to look as though the leathers were bleached by light. Even a summery raffia wedge heel is given the gradiated colour effect. Despite the far-and-away fantastical inspiration points, the Miista team have blended a cacophony of elements into something very much in our reach.
In fact, some of the styles that have started dropping onto the comprehensive online store are already making my brain explode (alas not in a beautiful nebula-esque way). For instance, which Zoe lace-up shoe to go for...?