WORDS BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI
A deep dive cum love letter, all about the shoe powerhouse that is Amina Muaddi.
Amina Muaddi’s SS21 is filled with colour, crystals and some new shapes. Images courtesy of Amina Muaddi.
SHOP AMINA MUADDI HIGH SUMMER
If you’re here, chances are you know all about Amina Muaddi and probably have a pair of Begum pumps – or ten – sitting pretty in your shoe closet.
Muaddi, a Jordanian-Romanian footwear designer, has really taken the shoe world by storm ever since launching her eponymous label in 2018 — and her influence is only getting bigger with time. No matter the lockdowns, the rising popularity of all things flat and extra comfortable, or fashion’s recent turn towards minimalism, the brand’s bright pumps and crystal sandals have kept selling out.
So why can’t we have enough?
There’s one very simple answer: Women love fantasy shoes and no matter how many years pass or trends come and go, the dream of the Cinderella shoe will always stay alive in every shoe lover’s heart. It triggers an emotional reaction that no other design object, no matter how genius, can equal.
And nothing says fantasy or Cinderella shoes like a pair of Amina Muaddi PVC Begum pumps, embellished with the brand’s signature crystal broach; or a pair of sparkly Gilda heels in bright neons or sassy animal prints.
But then again, Muaddi is not the first to offer feel-good, sparkly shoes. So why all the fuss?
Muaddi’s SS21 shot on a summery beach. Images courtesy of Amina Muaddi.
Perhaps, it’s because she took the Cinderella fantasy and said it from a modern woman’s perspective: The magic is still there, but the old-school concept of the uncomfortable glass slipper or extra high heel, has been replaced with the designer’s new cone-shaped heel silhouette and mid-heel heights that let women move more freely and dance the night away, without having to “suffer for beauty” or run away in the middle of the night.
She has even replaced the fantasy of the Prince for all that matters, with her all-female dream team — which can clearly tend to women’s desires much better than anyone else. Strange as it sounds, this is probably one of the first times that a small, women-led team has managed to create such a global powerhouse in the footwear world, without the perspectives of men being involved. This level of intimacy behind-the-scenes and the strong female perspective that goes into each product is probably one of the reasons we keep coming back for more.
Team Muaddi has certainly done it again for summer. The brand’s newly-launched high summer collection is filled with bold, bright pieces that have an infectious optimism – just what the doctor ordered after lockdown.
Calling it the “hot girl summer starter pack,” Muaddi is adding some show-stopping new styles to the mix, including the Paloma sandals featuring a crystal-encrusted toe and PVC, barely-there straps, as well as a pair of dalmatian-print Robyn mules with thick, buckled straps. Brand classics like the Lupita are back in bright green and there’s also a “glass” wedge version in PVC and silver mirror leather — talk about making modern-day shoe fantasies come alive.
Also get ready to meet the brands first flats, in the form of flatform lace-up sandals featuring neon greens and zebra prints.
Muaddi updated her signatures, The Gilda and Begum for her summer collection. Images courtesy of Amina Muaddi.
Along with the new shoes, Muaddi has also been slowly but surely expanding the rest of her accessories offer to match with your favourite footwear. This summer, there’s crystal hoop earrings and mini evening totes galore, like the Amini crystal chainlink top handle or a new satin mini tote with the words ‘Ciao Bella’ embroidered in crystals all over.
Basically there’s humour, mixed in with feel-good colours, glamour, the right amount of ease, and plenty of sparkle to get women’s hearts racing. That’s why, as soon as a new style is revealed on Instagram, you see the comment sections fire up with everyone from Kim Kardashian and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley to celebrated British authors Dolly Alderton and Otegha Uwagba, sending heart emojis and discussing their favourite styles with each other. It seems like a pair of Amina Muaddi shoes can create this universal, joyful experience, with women of many different backgrounds coming together to share their excitement.
“All I care about is that women feel good and confident,” said the designer.
Beyond the final product we all love, there’s plenty of other moments of inspiration in Muaddi’s story.
At first glance, you could easily mistake her for an Insta-girl that got lucky and had an overnight success. “Isn’t she just a socialite,” a naysayer once said when the brand had launched.
But in fact Muaddi had a long journey until she reached her big moment and has been honing in on her craft for years. She started off by studying at the European Institute of Design; worked as a stylist; spent a year learning the craft of shoemaking from world-class artisans in the Italian region of Riviera del Brenta; and helped develop the shoe brand Oscar Tiye for over six years, before going at it on her own.
She was also bold enough to set up her business on her own terms rather than following the rules of the system. Instead of showcasing her collections six months in advance during fashion weeks, just like every other brand, she keeps everything under wraps and only reveals new styles when they are available to shop – putting her customers first, rather than teasing them with previews they can’t access.
I didn’t wish for women to see the product before they were able to buy it. In this time, everything moves so fast, we get bored of things and move on to the next with such speed and I don’t like that. I wanted my product to be timeless and desirable. So having a see-now-buy-now brand paid off, even if it wasn’t easy to [establish],” she explained.
The new ‘Robyn’ sandal with PVC straps. Image courtesy of Amina Muaddi.
Of course, Muaddi’s good looks and ability to pull off the hottest runway looks – from Marine Serre bodysuits to head-to-toe Valentino – her strong social media presence and army of equally successful, high-profile supporters, helped catapult the brand to success too. Everyone from Rihanna, to Kylie Jenner, Hailey Bieber, Attico designers Gilda Ambrosio and Giorgia Tordini and many more, have turned into Amina Muaddi collectors in the last few years.
But there might just be one more ingredient in her success recipe that makes all the difference, and that’s kindness — as simple as that.
“Amina’s shoes never stop selling out and she’s also the sweetest person to deal with. It’s like ‘How can you be so talented and so nice all at the same time?’” said Browns’ buying director and fellow shoe girl Ida Petersson.
When the shoes look that good and they also happen to be made by a kind woman on a mission to spread her flair for glamour and confidence around the world, that’s where the magic happens.
SHOP RESTOCKED AMINA MUADDI CLASSICS
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