“Eumachia” S/S 2010

Amazing shoes arrive in my inbox on a regular basis from names like Christian Louboutin and Nicholas Kirkwood, but rarely do shoes like these arrive from a fellow Canadian. Not to downplay Canadian talent — we have a lot — but we are not exactly known for shoe design. That’s all about to change, with some remarkable fresh talent emerging from Canada, one of them being Toronto-based Abel Muñoz. Having studied shoe design in Milan following a career as a graphic designer, Muñoz’s focus is to carry on the artisanal craftsmanship of handmade shoe making, the art form that it was prior to the introduction of mass production. His limited edition S/S 2011 collection, titled “Pompeii,” is very much an ode to this craft: meticulously constructed and detailed top quality leather shoes that every woman is bound to covet.

Abel Muñoz has already caught the fashionable eyes of the legendary Jeanne Beker and supermodel Coco Rocha, and has the editors of Women’s Wear Daily, Elle and Flare swooning. And of course, I’m swooning too: Muñoz knows that a true way to a woman’s heart is through a stiletto heel (um, not in a literal sense, of course).

“Petronia” S/S 2011

You were a graphic designer and magazine art director. What sparked an interest in shoes?

My interest in footwear design is not recent. I’ve been interested in accessories design and all facets of design since I can remember. Footwear design has always been something I have thought about.

How does your background in graphic design influence your shoe design? And how does shoe design differ from other design?

I think that all forms of designs are interlaced. I tend to streamline and incorporate graphic elements in my shoes. I guess that’s where the influence comes into play. Shoe design is probably one of the most complex forms of design as the human foot is three-dimensional and involves ergonomics as well.

“Sabina” S/S 2011

Tell us a little bit about your design process. What influences you?

I am influenced by the world that I live in. All I know is that the ideas usually just come to me. I start the drawing process once I am happy with the outline of the design. I go on to materials and colour selections, then I submit the concepts to the factory and start working with my modelistas on the development of the collections.

Do you have a style muse in mind when you are designing?

I don’t have a style muse in mind per se, but I do have a type of woman in mind. I design for women who want to be different, strong, and independent. Women who are not afraid of spending money on something new, unusual and fashion-forward. 

Is there a style icon you would love to see sporting your shoes?

Yes I have a few in mind, Coco Rocha is one of them and she already wears my shoes. I also would like to work with Lady Gaga and Rihanna.

Can you comment on Canadian style? How do you think Canadian women fare in comparison to the rest of the world?

Canadian style is fairly conservative and mainstream. There is not enough access and coverage of national and international up-and-coming avant garde designers. Since most retailers only bring in the standard brands everyone ends up looking the same. I think that with the help of online shopping and discount e-tailers, out of reach product will become available to Canadian women and will improve their sense of style.

“Calpunia” S/S 2011

What’s the most played song on your iPod?

Anything from the latest Metric disc, Kylie Minogue’s newest, Dragonette, and lots of Guetta remixes of Kelly Rowland.

Describe Abel Muñoz in three words.

Simplicity, Creativity, Ambition.

“Semele” S/S 2011

Abel Muñoz shoes are available in Canada at Ogivly in Montreal, George C and the (soon to be open) Pink Tartan flagship store in Toronto, as well as in the United States at Deliciouz in Walnut Creek, California and Garbarini in Denver, Colorado.