The Emmylou model. Leather shoes handmade in Spain that blend tradition and innovation

Articles on handcrafts and shoemaking

The Emmylou model is the pefect example of Aldanondoyfdez’s hallmark formula of combining the old ways of shoemaking with a contemporary twist. On one side, these leather shoes are handmade in Spain the traditional way. This atelier masters the old tecniques of leather shoemaking as carefully preserved for generations by local cobblers in Barcelona. On the other,  Aldanondo y Fdez’s creations blend that traditions with a contemporary inspiration and innovations in desing.


Shoes inspired by architecture

Galician architect Alejandro de la Sota wanted to design buildings that could practically be built with a screwdriver. The ecological concern for recycling was already in this author’s mind since the 1960s. In his texts, he made a dinstiction between «chemical architecture» —where elements come together in an irreversible reaction generating a new one— and «physical» —if the links allow the different pieces to mantain their individuality—. Reforming a work of chemical architecture always requires a demolition that will cause debris. Comberselly, a physical one is dismantled obtaining reusable pieces.

This was the inspiration for a series of new additions to Aldanondo y Fdez’s web store in 2018. In those shoes, when the design allows it, the typical stitching that joins the pieces definitively together is avoided. This gives way to another type of links. Some parts maintain that individuality that almost allow them to be disassembled with a pair of tweezers, as De la Sota sought. This is achieved through attern making, replacing stitches for crosses, buckles or tabs.

The story of a classic

Another of the inspirations was the curiosity of today’s public for craftsmanship. In this case, the artisan element is understood as a story to be shared with an audience that is curious about this other form of production. Hence, exposing the pieces to view, making the shoe explain itself and invite those who see it to wonder how it is built.

Emmylou tells the story of the blucher, highlighting pieces that speak of the origins of this classic. It was a type of footwear created by the Prussian army in the 19th century. Back then, it was common to attach gaiters to the shoes—fastened with buttons and a buckle across the sole—or wear them supported by the horse’s ring. Von Blücher was the general who commissioned a design for his troops with versatility in mind. The most characteristic element of the Emmylou model is the buckle that is inspired by those leggings or rings.

  • Emmylou in natural leather made in Spain under
  • Emmylou in natural leather made in Spain left
  • Emmylou in natural leather made in Spain rigth
  • Emmylou in natural leather made in Spain front

The model’s female name is inspired by country singer Emmylou Harris. The American Cosmic Music, a movement she belonged to, understood popular culture as universal unity and not tribal division. This reflection has not lost its validity in our days.