Shoe-Fleur, A Footwear Fantasy

I desperately need new shoes. Something fancy, stylish, something that would make me (and others) say Wow!

Looking around I chanced upon these shoes by Michel Tcherevkoff.

All I could say was Wow!

Now before you start drooling, (like me) be warned that these are not real shoes per se.

They are creations in flora and fauna that that look like shoes. The creations have been showcased in a book by Michel Tcherevkoff , titled “Shoe-Fleur, A Footwear Fantasy.”

Now Michel, born in Paris of Russian parents went to law school, before coming to New York to start a career in photography. He has made a reputation for inventive, “reality-with-a-twist” images. Says the ace photographer, “taking pictures of something that just exists was never interesting to me. I’ve always gravitated to photography that’s more illustrative in nature, where I can create my own reality — with a twist.”

The ‘Shoe Fleur’ project started when one day, after a fashion shoot, Michel happened o glance at one of the prints lying on the table.

“The print was lying upside down on a table,” he recounts, “and I said — although no one was listening to me — ‘Hey, that looks like a shoe!’”

There began an odyssey, a whimsical, inventive and, in its own way, rigorous fancy of flowers and footwear.

A wholesale flower market being located just four blocks from the building where Tcherevkoff lives and works, helped in the experiment. “I bought all these flowers and leaves and started to shoot,” he says. “It was fun and pretty and just what I like — a total fantasy.”


Though these shoes are in the realm of fantasy, Michel did not treat the project lightly. In fact he applied exacting standards to “Shoe-Fleur” deciding to craft each invented shoe from a single variety of flower or plant.

“I decided early on that I wouldn’t mix different types,” he says. “Every shoe and handbag [most of the shoes in the book have matching purses] would be made from one particular plant or flower.”

So he took millions of pictures of flowers and stems, tying, twisting, knotting and weaving meticulously like a master cobbler.

“Each plant spoke to me in a different voice. One was very light and delicate,” he says, “so the strap had to be thin. Another one said, ‘I am big and strong — I could walk for miles.’ From that I designed a more rugged shoe.”

Like traditional fashion shoes, the book is organized into four collections, fall, spring, resort and bridal.

“I used plants that were in season,” notes Tcherevkoff. “Now,” he says, “every time I look at a plant, I see a shoe.”

I, on the other hand am still looking for my perfect shoe…