Pop art for your feet

Stuti Agarwal

Hand-painted shoes in vivid colours and wow designs are quite the rage among fashionistas.

Legend has it that Cinderella left behind one of her glass shoes and that's how Prince Charming found her. Only today, if you want to dazzle your Prince Charming, all you'll need are a pair of handpainted shoes. A rage across the country and a must-have in every fashionista's shoe cabinet, these assets come in various colours, shapes and designs — all pre-ordered as per your specifications.

Art of the matter
Rohan Arora, who's wowed buyers with his Bollywoodinspired shoes, says, "I prefer to have a theme in my shoes. Thus I have muhawras and posters and dialogues of cult films like Shree 420, Sholay, Deewar, Devdas and Mother India painted on my shoes." However, Rohan takes care that faces of real people are not displayed. "We know where to stop. While making Devdas shoes, we painted Paro on one and Chandramukhi on the other, but changed the faces a bit so that they didn't resemble the actresses who played the roles."

Anis Salim works with abstract patterns, nature and animals. He realized the potential of hand-painted shoes when in 2011 he took 30 pairs to a flea market in Bangalore and sold 26 pairs in five hours. On the other hand, Kartick Kapoor likes to paint his version of pop art on shoes. "I am inspired by Madhubani art among other things," says Kartick, who studied in England before moving back to Kolkata to launch his brand.

Best foot forward

-Wear them with solid colours and let the shoe do the talking
-Do not go overboard with the accessories. A statement shoe is enough to jazz up an outfit
-These shoes deserve better than chipped nails and cracked heels. So get an appointment with the pedicurist before donning the pair
-Don't forget to wear that killer attitude

When it comes to hand-painted shoes, you will be spoilt for choice. Imagine all kinds — converse, boots, pumps, peep toes, ballerinas, kitten heels, stilettos, gladiator flats, Kolhapuris and flip flops — with your favourite motifs. "I sometimes like to paint a story on just the heels and let it be. I prefer to work on handwoven khadi and chicken leg leather shoes. We've got a very good response. We sell almost 50 pairs a month," reveals 28-year-old Rohan, whose shoes are designed by rural artistes, who originally used to paint film posters on walls. "The paint we use, won't come off in a 100 years," explains Rohan.

Anis has trained people who used to draw signboards. "It also results in employment for those who have art in their blood. They create stunning designs using acrylic," says Anis, who works on leather and faux leather. Whenever someone asks him about the longevity of the paint, Anis conducts a little experiment. "I pour water on the

Buyers are growing
shoe and ask them to rub off the paint with all their might. And I'm always the winner. The shoe may get damaged, but the paint won't come off," he adds. Kartick uses a mix of different acrylic-based pigments and paints."I work on synthetic leather as I am against natural leather,"he says, adding that he paints many a pair himself.

These shoes are meant for experimental ladies, and also some daring men.Anis's clientele includes city celebs like Swastika Mukherjee, Koneenica Banerjee, Richa Sharma and Payel Sarkar. His shoes are priced between 2,000 and Rs 3,500. Rohan says that his youngest client is a 15-year-old girl but "recently, a 42-year-old lady walked into my store and bought Raj Kapoor boots as she was a big fan of the legend". His price tag? 2,000 to 15,000. Kartick, who caters to the modern urban youth, says, "Apart from exhibitions and my store, I sell these shoes online. As my shoes are reasonably priced at 1,800, people do not hesitate to order them online."

Each pair takes about three hours to two days to paint,depending on the design and the make. So go ahead, add a dash of art to your feet.