Meet the label everyone is following on Instagram right now...
When poised with the question, 'What is this season's most talked about shoe?' The obvious answer is of course, the mule. Be them backless, square-toed or raffia-soled, we'll take them all please! And two individuals soon spotted a business opportunity...
Former fashion stylist Vanissa Antonious and shoe designer Alan Buanne have been friends for over ten years and put their minds (and creative skills) together to found Neous, a shoe brand like you've never seen before.
Inspired by the radical design principles of the Bauhaus school and everything from mid-century design to architecture, the design duo successfully launched their debut spring/summer '17 collection.
Neous spring/summer '17 collection
But what makes the brand stand out, is the sheer attention to detail. Materials are sourced from Italy, the home of shoe design, while the designers carefully consider not only the aesthetic but the fit.
Each and every shoe which comes into their grasp is handcrafted to ensure that they are not only works of art designed to please the eye but most importantly, 'wearable'. Expect juxtapositions of materials, striking colour-play and of course, the brand's signature gold ring.
The Square Toe Mule is pictured above
Grazia caught up with the design duo to get the lowdown on their ten-year friendship, the brand's ethos and which shoes they would choose if they could only wear one pair for the rest of their lives...
Describe Neous in three words...
"Modern, wearable and creative."
Who is the Neous girl?
"Our woman values quality and design and appreciates form and beauty as well as fashion. But has the confidence to value comfort over fashion, longevity and practicality in her wardrobe."
Neous pre-autumn/winter '17
What makes Neous stand out from other competitive shoe brands?
"Our aim was to create wearable, Italian-made shoes at a contemporary price point. We wanted to create shoes which were versatile and which were comfortable enough to be worn all day. These three characteristics combined make up our point of difference along with our unique design aesthetic. Not all brands in the contemporary market have the luxury of working exclusively with Italian materials and factories. We feel very privileged."
Where do you source inspiration for your designs?
"Our inspiration comes from multiple sources, modern art, mid-century design, architecture and music. Sometimes it can be the smallest thing in everyday life that inspires a whole theme. We have a very practical approach to design so inspiration also comes from the modern woman we know and love. Working together on design also means you feed and are inspired by each other."
Neous pre-autumn/winter '17
Who do you namecheck as your role models?
VA: It is so difficult to name a few - there are so many, I'm mostly inspired by people who step outside of their comfort zone or have fought through difficult situations.
Left: Open Toe Sandal, Right: Patent Loafer
AB: Stanley Kubrick. I have always been captivated by his films and enjoy the attention to detail in every scene. His work continues to be a source of inspiration and ideas.
You have been creative partners for over a decade. Do you ever face disagreements?
"We are fortunate in the sense that we inherently have a similar design method, creative approach and share the same vision for Neous. On matters other than design, we have been friends for over 10 years so we have a very honest and understanding relationship."
Which shoe has proven to be the most popular?
"We have only been in stores since March 2017 so it's difficult to say. The white leather and transparent mule and the closed toe mule with the ring have been the most popular so far..."
If you could only wear one pair of shoes for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
VA: I live in our style called 'Seven', it is modern, easy to get around in and works with pretty much with every outfit.
AB: If I wear a woman today, I would wear the flat square toe loafer with the soft back, I travel all the time and there seems to be an effortless sense of style in this shoe.
Where do you see the brand in five years?
"Right now we are concentrating on perfecting each collection and offering a collection of shoes with a strong point of difference to suit the Neous woman."
"We are growing organically and logically to meet her needs. In five years time this could mean having a virtual reality boutique. Let's see where the world takes us..."