Daring, innovative, surreal, sexy, bizarre, chic and simply genius. Ever since a pair of Natacha Marro shoes featured in Vogue several years back her designs have made it onto more and more catwalks and into the feet of many an audacious celebrity. Marro’s clientele include Daphne Guinness, Chloe Sevigny, Lady Gaga, Dita Von Teese and Bjork. The designers’ signature style never ceases to amaze and defy imagination with bold silhouettes, brash colours and crazy fabrics. She knows no limits, literally.
WHAT ARE THE HIGHEST PLATFORMS THAT YOU HAVE CREATED?
AND WHO WERE THEY FOR?
A drag queen performer, called Twiggy who has a fetish for high heels. They were platform boots, he always wants his shoes to be made higher and higher. Twiggy has quite a collection, he has some red glitter patent boots that are made to look like dripped paint. For him it is about the whole look; the make-up, the outfit and the shoes. Twiggy can never have enough with a shoe, you can go as fancy as you want, that’s why it’s fantastic working with him.
HAS ANYONE TOPPLED OVER IN YOUR SHOES – LIKE THAT LEGENDARY NAOMI CAMPBELL FALL IN THOSE VIVIENNE WESTWOODS?
Well someone tumbled a little bit but did well to recover herself in the Charles Anastase spring 2011 show, she didn’t actually fall though. Apart from that no, I haven’t had any calls from hospitals with people saying they have broken their legs.
HOW DID YOU BEGIN WORKING WITH HOUSE OF HARLOT – THE LATEX AND RUBBER COUTURE DESIGN LABEL SO EARLY ON IN YOUR CAREER?
I always admired Robin’s designs and his work with rubber and I had the opportunity to do an exhibition, which I invited him to. We met after that and started working together. The rest is history!
TELL ME ABOUT THE VOID OF COURSE ‘COCK HEELS’ WORN BY LADY GAGA?
Void of Course came to me asking if I could make the shoe, if it was actually possible. I quite like the impossible so I thought let’s try it, why not. The label wanted to make the shoes look like they had sperm inside the cock heel. I had a contact of someone who was very good at working with perspex and in the end, the final shoe worked, they were a great success. Void of Course wanted to do these shoes first and they were hoping that Lady Gaga would like them and she did … of course!
HOW DOES SEX INFLUENCE YOUR WORK?
My shoes are something to be attracted to, sexy but with taste. The silhouette is sexy, and rubber gives an incredible silhouette, that’s why making shoes at House of Harlot was so great.
EVER HAD ANY REALLY STRANGE REQUESTS?
Well we have a list, it’s a bit of a daily routine for us here in the studio, the crazy request! This one guy wanted a pair of rubber boots with a zip that he wanted to lock with a padlock. He wanted them so tight and so small that it was going to take him about six hours to struggle to put them on but he didn’t care. The rubber stretches of course but it doesn’t stretch that much, I think there was a lot of circulation cutting off in that process of getting them on, but he loved them. Also I was thinking about the padlock, what if he lost the key?
DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW THAT YOU WANTED TO BE A SHOE DESIGNER?
I knew I wanted to do something creative, whether it was hats, bags or papier-mâché. It was finding something to express my creativity and I tried all different things. I tried interior design and clothing but when I tried shoes I thought wow, I really enjoyed it. You have to have that click and shoes did that.
SO THEN YOU WENT TO STUDY AT CORDWAINERS IN 1992?
Yes. I think, whatever you do in design, you should go to college because you can go straight to an apprentice and learn from someone but the school is giving you training. Afterwards you may feel like you have left not knowing anything, though later when you start working you discover that you actually learnt a lot.
WHO HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNER TO WORK WITH?
Charles Anastase, I love Charles Anastase. I mean the Dungeon boot is the one of the most copied styles of boot ever – the Geoffrey Campbell, Lita is basically the Dungeon boot.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER WHEN CREATING A SHOE FOR A CLIENT?
It is about getting the right shoe for the right person and making the shoe fit. If I were designing a shoe for you, I would think of you and not try and impose myself and my style.
WHAT WAS TEH FIRST PAIR OF SHOES YOU EVER MADE?
I made a pair of little ankle boots in black leather with black fur, red lining, a round toe and a black heel. They are still here somewhere in the building. They were black. I can’t believe it, because now I would never do black leather for myself!
WHAT FABRICS DO YOU LIKE TO WORK WITH?
Anything with a print, polka dot, stripes, check and anything colourful with a texture. Also snakeskin, I’m a big fan of snakeskin.
WHAT’S NEXT IN THE COVETABLE, CURIOUS REALM OF MARRO DESIGN?
It’s always a surprise, I don’t know what may come my way. I am making shoes and I am loving it and learning and being challenged. The day your not learning is the day you’re not enjoying it.