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Fashion insiders turn flip flops into art for female-focused charity

July 5, 2017

Dsquared2's Havianas design for Women for Women International. Image credit: Women for Women International


Manolo Blahnik and Nicholas Kirkwood are among the designers giving flip flops a high-fashion makeover for a cause.

In support of Women for Women International, 12 fashion personalities were commissioned to elevate the rubber footwear into a work of art. The resulting pieces are being auctioned off to benefit the organization, which works to support women in war-torn nations.

In her shoes
Women for Women International’s auction was launched in partnership with flip flop brand Havianas. The list of participants was curated by fashion entrepreneur Maria Kastani.

Alice Temperley embellished a white pair of Havianas with pearl and silvery accents, turning the pair into a more formal shoe style. Aquazzura’s Edgar Osorio was inspired by a Greek goddess, and added a red ribbon to replicate the idea of a gladiator sandal.

Others played with heel height, with Mary Katrantzou and Charlotte Olympia’s designs featuring a platform heel and Dsquared2 and model Naomi Campbell opting for high heel silhouettes.

Designs for Women for Women International's auction. Image credit: Women for Women International

Milliner Stephen Jones stuck with his forte, turning a flip flop into a fascinator, while model Arizona Muse had a photo of herself and her family sporting Havianas at a skate park taken, which is being auctioned.

Swarovski thought outside of the single pair, creating a series of flip flops that together spell out the word “sisters.”

Nicholas Kirkwood’s Havianas were given a marble treatment, while Manolo Blahnik paid homage to Sicily with red roses on his flip flop straps.

Hosted on the Givergy platform, the online auction kicked off on July 1 and will run through July 22. Each of the lots has a starting price of 250 pounds, or about $324 at current exchange, and 100 percent of the proceeds with go to Women for Women International.

“At Women for Women International we truly value creative and innovative partnerships and that is why I am delighted to be collaborating with Maria Kastani and Havaianas," said Brita Fernandez Schmidt, executive director of Women for Women International UK, in a statement.

"I am deeply grateful to Maria, whose passion and commitment to raising the voices of women, who are normally not heard, is inspiring," she said. "It is thanks to her leadership that we will be celebrating the imaginative, colorful and inspiring creations that have been made for this campaign."

Even the most ordinary objects can turn into sought-after auction items with the help of some creative redesigns.

Among others, Buccellati and Lanvin lent their creativity to the Tarbouche Project to raise funds and awareness for child abuse.

The initiative was the brainchild of artist Mouna Rebeiz, whose painting series “Le Tarbouche” was on display at the Saatchi Gallery in London at the same time. Ms. Rebeiz handpicked a number of designers to craft a fez in their own style to be auctioned live by Sotheby’s as well as online for Innocence in Danger, a charity that works to end violence against children (see story).