There is something suggestive about an empty shoe isn’t there? Van Gogh knew it when in 1853 he painted his own, caked in mud, laces indecently round their ankles, agape… As always with Vincent, colour makes sense of his subject, his brown is the brown of dusty potatoes, of the saturated mud of Northern France, the earthy preamble to his later revelation of the light of the South.
As Vincent made sense of his world with colour, so does David Collins Studio for Harrods. Perhaps the glittering halls of London’s most famous department store are as far from the Dutchman’s cobbled, chaotic universe as one can get, but the two spaces share a sumptuous revelling in colour that brings a logic to the mire.
Red, wrapping up the Superbrands like a burgundy ribbon, or the inside of a smoking jacket, slathered claret lubricating the hallowed halls. Like the open shoe, an invitation; grown-up, and forgive me for using the word at Harrods, but… rich.
Blue, sex appeal blue, the blue of a Rolls Royce with the hood down; Venetian master, knock-you-out stand on its own two feet, go-faster stripes blue, this is the colour for trainers.
Finally, of course, that green. The green that doesn’t truly make sense without the gold of the Harrods lettering. It’s the green of that train your great-great grandfather remembered, lacquered and steaming. The green of a mossy velvet loafer, of the card tables in Monte Carlo. Green is heritage and identity and ‘that’ green is Harrods’ own, saved for classics.
So back to our open-mouthed friends flapping their gams across the plush carpet and glistening marble. I hope there is something fun about the works I made, that suggests maybe after they’ve left the well-ordered universe that David Collins Studio has so lovingly laboured upon, been boxed up and tissued and ribboned to within an inch of their lives, spritzed and bundled by the doorman into that blue Rolls, that they might make their way back to the floor somewhere bereft of a foot, and just have a gape at you, without a tree, that wooden fig leaf of the shoe, and go back to being a bit indecent, like Vincent’s boots marked by life and a bit of mud.