This photo story is a product of my shoe mania and the ingenious playfulness of Suzanne Rae’s vision of Mary Janes. I’m a fan of Suzanne’s aesthetic and philosophy behind her designs. I appreciate the kind of feminine vibe she promotes, which often incorporates an idea of exposing that inner girl secretly stuck inside many of us. Suzanne does it with a subtly radical and elegant voice.
Recently I’ve started conceptualizing a project involving shoes, building shoe shrines which are perfect way to express devotion.
When I visited Suzanne in her Brooklyn home studio I got instantaneously tantalized by the colorful collection of MJs. The tradition of this shoe genre stimulated my imagination towards children’s games, where a shoe is transformed into a phone receiver, iron, mirror, shower head etc. – equipment often used in domestic settings.
It provoked this vibrant photo essay where we combined dichotomies between trivial even monotonous house chores and magical and exciting transformations which can happen with a hint of lipstick, drop of nail polish, blink of jewelry when a “house wife” becomes a sensual flower proving that even the most common situations can have a touch of beauty/glam…
To complete this project I spoke to Suzanne about her fondness of Mary Janes.
What is the significance of Mary Janes for you and within your label philosophy?
I have always loved a Mary Jane. I think it started with watching Disney’s Alice in Wonderland as a child and then going on a wild search for black Mary Janes with my mom. So when I started designing shoes for Suzanne Rae, I wanted to create a Mary Jane, but one that didn’t feel too childlike. Something that had the whimsey of Alice, but the sophistication that I strive for with Suzanne Rae. It’s a dichotomy that I enjoy in general.
When did you introduce this type of shoes to your collections?
The Mary Jane was one of 4 styles that we launched the shoe line with. Interestingly, it is the one that people responded to the most.
I love that your daughter Ella is an active partition of your process and now can’t wait to see baby Margot bringing new inspirations to Suzanne Rae clothes. How much raising Ella and creating in close proximity influences your imagination? Would you say having Mary Janes as your signature shoe has something to do with your daughters?
Yes, certainly being a mother brings back all my childhood memories, and being around children and their books, toys, movies and magic in general has certainly served as a great inspiration to my designing. I think that my designs have become more playful and less severe. And like the Mary Janes I’ve been able to really hone into the whimsey on top of the elegance.
Do you have die hard fans of your Mary Janes who need to have them in each color?
Yes! It’s our best seller for sure. It’s what people go to for every season.
How many colors of Mary Janes have you included in your collections so far? Forever ago, Mary Janes were originally destined for boys. Girls say that it can influence their usage now during this powerful time of gender fluidity?
We actually have 3 versions of the Mary Jane: the original that is open on the sides (so like a d’orsay) with a slender across-the-ankle strap, a fully closed one version with a thicker ankle strap, and then one that is similar to the original but with a thick across-the-ankle strap. All in all, we have done over 15 variations of color on the Mary Jane already – starting from gold pebbled leather to turtle green satin to magenta satin and recently satin and suede with a detachable bow clip! And with all those variations in addition to our intersectional feminist fundamentals, we have had a diverse audience. We are in fact looking to create larger sizes to accommodate up to a size 44.
I’m sure large sizes will be very appreciated! Thank You Suzanne for giving us the perfect joy of Mary Janes.
Photographer: Pola Esther @faloblu
Makeup, Hair & Stylist: Agata Helena @agatahelena
Model: Natalya Piro @natalyapiro
Still life compositions: Pola Esther
Thank you! Suzanne Rae @suzanneraebk