WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
Discover the up-and-coming label that is fast becoming an authority in sculptural shoes.
Colourblock pumps and architectural heels is Grey Matters speciality. Images via @greymattersnyc
If you love sculptural yet laid-back shoes, Gray Matters is for you.
The label is fast-becoming a real authority in novelty heels, neutrals and all things modernist, with some of the best retailers around the world now buying into it, from Bergdorf Goodman, to Le Bon Marché and Holt Renfrew.
Designer Silvia Avanzi looks at shoes as sculptures in their own right, so you’ll often find block heels in the shape of geometric cubes or rough-cut rocks in the brand’s collections, as well as sleek curved lines and plenty of neutrals. Her philosophy has always been about “adding subtle nuances” into design, instead of making extra loud or imposing statements – hence the name gray, which is the perfect neutral backdrop to create from, as far as the designer is concerned.
Having lived in New York for years, first to study at Parsons and then to work in marketing for a variety of brands, Avanzi is focused on mid-heels and easy-going styles that can suit a modern, fast-paced life: You’ll never find an uncomfortable shoe in a Gray Matters selection, which is all about strappy kitten heels for summer, block-heeled mules and the perfect flat loafer.
While the brand’s design approach is as modern as it gets, Avanzi, who is an Italian native, also embraces Italy’s heritage in the craft of shoemaking as part of her process. All Gray Matters shoes are made in Italy by three generations of shoemakers near Venice.
The brand is also growing a very stylish community of women who wear its shoes and you can join in the action by following along on Instagram. As you’d expect the brand’s feed is a minimalist haven, filled with modernist art, interiors and close-ups of the shoes. But the real standout is its Style Diaries featuring creative women from across the globe walking you through how they style their Gray Matters shoes – expect to see content creator Anum Bashir style a pair of stark white ‘Micol’ pumps with breezy summer dresses in Dubai; stylist Lucy Alston from London show a more androgynous twist with loose tailoring and a pair of the brand’s classic ‘Mildred’ pumps; and Dione Davis, Tibi’s style director talk through her favourite summer styles.
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