An absence of elevated flat shoes in the market prompted the London-based Lily Atherton-Hanbury and Katya Tyumentseva to establish their new line, Le Monde Beryl.
The duo — who met while working at Phillips Auctioneers — set out to create a comfortable, elegant flat style that carries a cachet of global influence.
“My sister [the artist] Hope Atherton became obsessed with finding the perfect flat shoe and went to Venice for the Biennale, and found that the shape of the gondolier slipper was absolutely perfect, but they fell apart,” said Atherton-Hanbury of their proprietary design’s inspiration. “There wasn’t anything between a ballet flat and a trainer,” she said of the market.
She and Tyumentseva linked up to design a gondolier-type smoking slipper of lush fabrics, fabricated in jewel tones similar to those displayed within the Phillips jewelry cases that they met amongst.
“When we envisioned doing this, we were thinking about having a little store with [the shoes] in millions of colors — having them displayed like a jewel box and having colors not available in other shoes: greens, blues, dusty pinks, colors that are not typically on the market,” said Atherton-Hanbury.
The slippers, presently offered in a single profile, boast a pointed toe box and peaked vamp — lending them an air of Eastern influence. “The thing we really loved about it, was when you change [the style] slightly, you can draw comparison to traditional Moroccan, Mexican, or Indian footwear. For the suede styles, we removed the piping, and it looks more like an Indian or Moroccan slipper than a gondolier flat,” said Tyumentseva.
The shoes come fabricated in suede and velvet. Each foot bed is retrofitted with cushions typically used in dancers’ shoes, offering additional on-the-go comfort. Atherton-Hanbury and Tyumentseva are working to develop satin and mule styles.
Le Monde Beryl made its soft launch this season at London concept shop Alex Eagle. Moda Operandi will take the brand wider with a trunk show slated for September.
For their U.S. launch, Atherton-Hanbury and Tyumentseva are reconsidering the line’s global pricing structure in light of the Brexit. “They are priced at 275 pounds for the velvet and 285 pounds for suede, it was meant to be $395 for velvet and $410 for suede [before the Brexit] and I think we will keep with that instead of adhering to currency conversions,” said Atherton-Hanbury.
In the future, Atherton-Hanbury and Tyumentseva hope to use Le Monde Beryl as a catalyst to support traditional craftsmanship in developing nations — introducing a new geographical story each season.
“One season we could consult Kashmiri weavers, go to Mexico another season — it would be about supporting dying crafts,” said Tyumentseva, of the line’s eventual concept, which would also ideally extend to short films to help build awareness.
“It taps into the story of flats, because of their functionality it speaks to wandering, traveling, exploration — we want it to be sustainable in a sense that you don’t need to buy 12 new styles of shoes per season, you can wear one shape and keep collecting it.”