God knows what I was looking for on Google Images to throw up Thea Cadabra and her Amazing Weather Shoes. Whatever it was, it certainly didn’t matter any more. The cry of ‘FUCKING HELL, what are THESE?!’ drew my friend Charlotte close as we scrolled furiously down our new search, trying to see where we could acquire a pair…
HAHAHAAA. No chance.
How, in my long history of fashion love plus years working in a massive department of art and design books, had I never heard of this woman and her crazy-ass designs? If, like I did, you have a gap in your sartorial knowledge, allow me to fill it in:
She was inspired by David Bowie, Biba, 70s glam and 50s kitsch vintage.
After learning her trade from Mehmet K. Egeli, a Turkish shoemaker in London, Cadabra set up her own workshop in 1975. She won first prize at the Crafts Council Shoe Show for her ‘Lunar Loper Shoes’ in 1979 (below), inspired by ‘Space Oddity’.
In 1985 she took up a design post with Charles Jourdan (love). While there she met American designer Beverly Feldman, who was looking for someone to assist her with her line of exotic, colourful shoes. For six years Thea worked under Beverly’s direction, designing fun and exciting footwear.
Cadabra now works as a shoe design consultant.
I think it’s fair to say that she’s been a major influence on many, notably Irregular Choice who have definitely taken up the baton here. Also, Charlotte Olympia whose ‘Lobster’ shoes (below, now sold out) made me cry with desperation as I stared at my bank account, willing it into the black.
We can but fantasise.