Brand Spotlight | Artisinal Shoes Crafted in Madrid, Spain
It's a special day when a parcel from Steve Mono arrives at the doorstep. From window shopping online it's easy to see Spanish shoe designer Gonzalo Fonseca has created something truly special with his brand; holding his pieces in hand only serve as confirmation, as his passion for art, architecture, structure, and timeless Spanish design translate directly into his thoughtful and considered shoes.
Nestled into the streets of Madrid lies the Steve Mono studio; a living, breathing, high ceiling workshop smelling of wood, leather and cardboard, with large tables where shoes are crafted and orders are packed. A space for work and inspiration, visitors and customers are often welcomed in to see the concepts and construction of Steve Mono in real life. With personal ties, inspiration, and technique heavily tethered to small local towns, skilled cobblers at Steve Mono use time-honored traditional Spanish shoe making techniques passed down through generations, creating pieces pulsating with artistry and Spanish history at every line, strap and stitch. In line with the lustworthy work-life balance Spain is known for, Gonzalo shares the joy of the studio itself as not only a place for work and idea conception, but as an intimate locale to enjoy a coffee or meal with friends in; a space with a soul, full of energy and ideas; a true home away from home.
Available throughout the world by stockists, Steve Mono has a tangible global footprint, being found in some of the most lovely boutiques and corners of the world. Regularly telling customers and their online community they can message the shop directly to request their own unique combination of size, color and leather type if they are having trouble finding an uncommon combination in stock nearby, one can see how it's impossible to not fall in love with these custom made pieces that wear and photograph like art.
With sandals in hand, arriving at the beach in California, there seems no better way to walk into warm weather months than in the classic two and three strap sandal styles of the 10/17's and 10/01's, which are easily worn alone or with a thin pair of woolen socks on the whiplash inducing back-and-forth days of Spring. Fast friends with a variety of garments these sandals have an expansive vocabulary, conversing effortlessly with more everyday casual pieces like a Lauren Manoogian Crewneck Dress, to more classically structured Margaret Howell trousers or skirts. Ranging from black and chocolate leather to light grey suede, khaki and cognac hues, there's a sandal to complement a range of dress and palettes.
For those who are a bit more adventurous, the undulating leather straps of the gorgeous 10/05's give way to a proper laced upper, walking a perfect line of playfulness, approachability, and enviable sartorial style; a shoe for those drawn to pieces with a personal and intimate essence.
Those prone to a racing heartbeat at the mere mention of a derby will find something quite special in particular about Steve Mono's version. The elastic back of their Glove Derby creates a noteworthy and memorable detail, giving off an air of confidence with its structural, almost architectural movement of leather, and beautiful echo of the heel as it hits pavement. A shoe that exudes nostalgia and androgyny, it's the perfect elevated piece for those seeking classic style.
And no mention of Steve Mono is complete without ending with what may perhaps be a personal favorite; the cognac loafer with its sleek lines, minimalist cut, and deliciously tactile suede. A loafer that instantaneously ups anyone's style IQ the moment it goes over their heel, reminiscent of the comfort and elevation of smoking slippers, this loafer is a piece that is confident, pure, and simultaneously approachable; and one that it is sure to catch the eyes of all who cross it.
The only problem evident with Steve Mono shoes is the conundrum of which style to choose, as Gonzalo and his team are sincerely kind and helpful with their customizations. The best way to sort through one's desires is to scroll their Instagram; a veritable gallery of inspiration of shoe styles and aesthetics reinforcing how inseparable and intertwined art and Spanish culture are with Steve Mono. One thing you can be certain of when purchasing a pair, however, is that every pair radiates the soul, sounds, smells and rhythms of Spain; a cultural and fashionable tribute to what makes this country so special; a welcome moment in fashion when those of us abroad can bring a beautiful piece of it with us wherever we go.
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