Shoe designer Matt Bernson and fashion blogger Grace Atwood of Stripes & Sequins have teamed up for a sparkle-filled collection of ballet flats. In each pair, Atwood’s love of glam is infused into Bernson’s classic silhouettes, resulting in practical, comfortable, and eye-catching designs. We talked to the two shoe lovers about their experiences working together and the inspiration behind the collection.
Grace in an A.L.C. dress. Photo credit: Lydia Hudgen.
SHOPBOP: Describe the collection in 6 words or less.
GRACE ATWOOD: Girly, sparkly, fun!
MATT BERNSON: Fun, Grace-ful, wearable, energetic, collaborative.
SB: What was your inspiration for the collection?
GA: I wanted to make sure the flats were wearable. Even though I could have easily gotten carried away with the glitter, I didn’t want them to be too over-the-top. Matt’s shoes are insanely comfortable, and I wanted to design a shoe that would be equally practical, so we went with more subtle touches—a glittery polka dot or toe cap. The Izabel mini-wedges are the glitziest in the collection, but I think the stripes temper their extravagance.
MB: Grace and I met through Twitter. She tweeted that she loved the Waverly ballet flat, and then we started emailing about working together. I felt the clear vision of her blog could be applied to our silhouettes. The Matt Bernson team worked hard to present Grace with materials and options that would spark her creativity, and she in turn came up with the ideas. The inspiration was an appreciation of each other’s aesthetic.
SB: What did you love most about working with each other, and what was the most valuable thing you learned from the process?
GA: Matt and his team are such lovely and gracious people, making them very easy to work with. I learned that not every great idea translates to a shoe. It took a lot of tries to arrive at each final design.
MB: Grace is a sweet and easy person to talk to. We were able to keep things positive and moving forward from start to finish. She loves fashion and a fun DIY project, so we made sure to capture that in the shoes.
The Stripes & Sequins x Matt Bernson Mulberry flats come in pink, silver, and turquoise glitter.
SB: Grace, you admit to a sparkle obsession and we love how a little bit of glam is incorporated into each pair of shoes. In what other ways did your personal style influence the designs?
GA: I am a sparkle addict, but a subdued one. If I wear a statement necklace or a sequined skirt, I keep the rest of my look simple and classic. This kind of practicality is reflected in the collection. The flats have plenty of sparkle but maintain classic appeal.
SB: Which pair of shoes from the collection will you wear most often? How will you style them?
GA: I will probably wear the grey polka-dot flats the most, simply because they are the most neutral pair in the collection, but I have a soft spot for the pink pair. I’m excited for the temperature to warm up so I can wear them with my skinny white ankle jeans and a floaty camisole.