Meet Muxart: the designer championing Spanish craftsmanship
Faced with the challenges of innovation, creativity and uniformity, Hermenegildo Muxart is safeguarding the craft of shoemaking, keeping it alive through his unique footwear collections. Discover his covetable artisan designs in the Village.
“To awaken desire, a shoe must convey excitement and exclusivity. And that can only be achieved through creativity, trade and craftsmanship,” explains Hermenegildo Muxart from the brand’s pop-up boutique in La Roca Village. We spoke with the designer about talent, tradition, trends and the revaluation of made-in-Spain design.
What is Muxart’s hallmark?
Art and craftmanship. Savoir faire. From the beginning, as a professional, my philosophy has been to be a pattern-maker as well as a designer. For me, the essence of shoemaking has been icons such as Salvatore Ferragamo, André Perugia and Roger Vivier – design masters who made the shoe totally vertical. My job has always been the same: generate an idea and know how to develop it. We always seek perfection, innovation, mastery.
To play devil’s advocate, we’ve seen models on the catwalk who can’t even walk in some designs…
It happens when you try to transfer the idea of a designer to a very complex industry without completing a detailed study first. The last is the basis of the work on a shoe; we study the last in detail. We take great care with each design from the very beginning and we follow the development of the shoe through all stages of production – the fitting of materials, the heel – everything goes through the artisan process.
Aside from the great shoemakers, what inspires you?
A cocktail of elements, from the history of fashion to social trends, seasonal colours and current demands.
Do you think that the new generations are committed to craftsmanship, quality and, above all, individuality?
I don’t know. We live in a time of uniformity and trainers. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, the most aspirational thing was to wear trainers. Then, in the late 90’s, designers brought trainers to the runway, and from there the trainer has become a widespread trend for daily wear, and streetwear has become a success. Perhaps the time has come to turn it around and make shoes the new aspirational option.
Is craftsmanship synonymous with luxury?
Unquestionably. Firstly, because of the cost of production. Secondly, because there’s little craftsmanship in Spain and it’s starting to disappear. The artisans are getting older and there is no relief from the next generation, so we need to keep a close eye on it. We look for small workshops where everything is done manually, and there is still a lot of attention and care dedicated to the shoe.
Where are those workshops?
In Mallorca and Menorca. The Balearic Islands are the cradle of quality footwear.
What does the label ‘made in Spain’ mean today?
If we go back 20 years, Spain was a productive country, but it didn’t have that quality hallmark. As a result of globalisation, the industry was relocated a lot. After all this time, the perception of made-in-Spain product has changed, and today it has an international seal of quality. Although products made in Italy or France are seen to be more aspirational – Italy has always sold better – we can compete by having an industry that is talented. I like to look for genius; and the passport is creativity.
Since 1989, your brand has been based in Barcelona. Do you think your designs would be different if your workshop was based elsewhere?
No, I think creative restlessness has always been there. Barcelona helped us launch the brand in 1989 because the city seemed cosmopolitan to an international audience. It was the decade of Catalan fashion and design; Javier Mariscal, Roser Marcé, Toni Miró, Joaquim Verdú, Lydia Delgado. There were endless creators.
Why do you like shoes so much? Many people prefer to invest in them over clothes.
A quality shoe can dignify a basic piece of clothing. It’s hard for a stylish piece of clothing to dignify a basic shoe. It’s the ideal complement. Hence the saying: shoes are worn on your feet but they go to your head.
Are you among those who believe that the heel was the corset of the 21st century?
The stiletto, the sandal and the heel are all concepts that will last forever.
Is there a height limit?
On an anatomical level, the heel shouldn’t exceed eight or ten centimetres. But we can play with other elements to get more height. For example, with the use of a platform, the composition of the last is the same, but the foot is raised a few centimetres more, so the height can be increased.
The design of the shoe also determines the posture of the whole body.
Correct, and the ideal height is four centimetres.
The pandemic brought in the reign of sneakers; do you think it's time to bury them?
Bury them? No. But stop abusing them? Without a doubt. This sporty style (or weekend style) is an historic reference from the twentieth century, associated with weekend sportswear. In other words, we shouldn't bury them as a product, but rather as a look.
Which designs can’t be missing from the perfect shoe rack?
I don't know, but there must be the excitement of having a product that you not only like to wear but also to look at. For instance, a sophisticated shoe, a stiletto, or an occasional sandal for her. And for men, an ankle boot with a good design, a good shape and made from good leather.