Summer shoes for Israeli women are usually all the same - flat, open-toed and, most importantly, comfortable. The shoe collection designed by Merav Hillel for the Portuguese brand FLY London turns this rule on its head.
This is the second year that Hillel, 44, is designing the women's line for FLY London. Hillel started off in the shoe industry back in the 1980s, working as a salesperson in the local outlet Gazit before studying shoe design in Italy and establishing her own independent label. A few years ago, she met the managers of FLY London - sold in Israel, Europe and the United States - and she readily agreed to their invitation to design for the brand.
The current summer collection features seven models with heels from five to seven centimeters tall. The designer intentionally avoided flats.
The forms of the shoes are similar, and all styles are narrow, expose the toes in little "peeptoes," and come in a variety of colors: blue, red, green, light blue, yellow, turquoise - and very little black. Despite the delicate, feminine line, the shoes are comfortable for walking, and the soft, rounded styles are certainly a refined improvement over the ubiquitous flip-flop.
Since work on the collections must be completed about a year and a half before launch, Hillel says it's impossible to anticipate seasonal trends. For that reason, she makes sure to design her collection in a uniform style, inspired by the brand's clothing and accessory lines, with only minor adjustments each season.
Still, the shoes' broad color spectrum corresponds precisely to the color trend that many Israeli women have gladly embraced this summer. The collection consists mainly of diverse and unusual color combinations that normally wouldn't go together, such as red and blue, and yellow and pink. One style features red-orange leather with five colorful straps in yellow, gray, turquoise and red.
Another more classic style comes in uniform black, but with interesting and unconventional openings near the toes, and a delicate strap around the ankle. The high-heeled blue suede sandals have a strap in the middle of the leg made of bits of leather in different colors including beige, light blue and brown, as well as a strap that wraps around the ankle. These shoes are suitable for older women, mainly because of their solid appearance and relatively low heel.
Blue sandals designed in a 1950s style feature a peeptoe and leather and elastic straps that stretch around the back of the ankle and leave the back of the foot exposed. These sandals are appropriate for fans of the vintage look, and might be combined with a knee-length skirt or an A-line dress.
Another solid style, offered in shades of blue and turquoise, has a relatively open shape and closes around the back of the foot behind the ankle with straps that form an "X." Undoubtedly the most interesting style in the collection, this shoe can be worn by just about anyone at any time of day.
The collection is available at Story outlets, 246 Dizengoff Street and 60 Sheinkin Street in Tel Aviv, and at the Givatayim Mall. Prices, before end-of-season sales, range from NIS 649 to NIS 689.