The mystique of Venezia, La Serenissima, canal upon canal, the enchantment is unquestionable. A city that tantalizes, a labyrinthine, an intricate web of water ways. Secrets, betrayals, a history of masked men and women, merchants, and unimaginable riches. Art and architecture, gold and blue, glamour and melancholy, decadence and piety, the sensual and the visceral, it all somehow fills the air. Narrow passageways, towers and church bells ring faintly, the flutter of a pigeon’s wings in Piazza San Marco, lapping waves on grey Istrian stone, the hushed voices of gondoliers beneath Ponte dei Sospiri, telling stories of a thousand years.
With the Solana Venice Collection, we aim to create from our memory, with a sense of timelessness, weaving our experience of the City of Water into each design. Mediterranean, Eastern, Renaissance, Byzantine. These join in lush velvets and silks, in rich violet and maroon, in green and magenta. As always, delicate embroidery plays a role. With each thread, we join in the idea of Venezia, and with all designers who strive to produce work with lasting meaning.
45.4408° N, 12.3155° E
The Vivarini is a velvet esparille inspired by the velvet production in Venice. Today, there is only one remaining producer, the house of Bevilacqua. The rustic atellier is reached by foot or by boat just off the Grand Canal. Upon entering from the water, you are greeted inside a room filled with fine velvet tapestries produced for buyers such as the Vatican, Dior, and the White House. Each shoe bolsters an embroidered symbol. The lion for Venezia, the giglio for Florence, and the four-pedaled flower, an homage to the Doge’s palace, one of the icons of La Serenissima.
“There is still one of which you never speak.’
Marco Polo bowed his head.
‘Venice,’ the Khan said.
Marco smiled. ‘What else do you believe I have been talking to you about?’
The emperor did not turn a hair. ‘And yet I have never heard you mention that name.’
And Polo said: ‘Every time I describe a city I am saying something about Venice.”
- Italo Calvino
Tessitura Luigi Bevilacqua
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
45.4408° N, 12.3155° E
The Polo is a velvet sandal that came into being one sunny afternoon at the Peggy Guggenheim on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice. Lounging on the canal, watching the water taxis passing by, we dreamed of a sandal for languid days and afternoon drinks on the terrace. We chose stars in honor of Renaissance Plazza San Marco. Stars are a classic Venetian motif and a celebration of the clock tower, Torre dell’Orologio. They are also where our mind is.
Emerald of the Equator
Each Solana collection is inspired by a culture around the world. This is part of Solana's mission to celebrate differences and bring people together in greater understanding. The idea began a couple years ago with Lebanon and Mexico before finally launching the Indonesia collection.
The Indonesia collection is inspired by our time exploring the Emerald of the Equator. As we created the designs, we tried to capture the feeling of our journey as authentically as possible. With each design we aimed to give the feeling of serenity and peace, calmness and vitality, and to reflect on the beauty of the islands while honoring Indonesia’s diverse spirituality. Mostly, we tried to embody the friendliness of the people, their genuine smiles and ease of being.
7.9425° S, 112.9530° E
This design is named after Mount Bromo, an active volcano in East Java. Before dawn we traveled by Jeep to the base of Seruni viewpoint, then climbed our way to the lookout. As we waited, we sipped on coffee around a bonfire by an old, tin shack. When the first light broke, we stood amongst a small crowd of strangers, huddled together to keep warm as the blanket of clouds turned from blue to bright pink. From the horizon, Bromo emerged, proudly steaming, framed by the entire Tengger massif. The cloud pattern, which we captured in this design, is called mega mendung. It is a classic Indonesian motif inspired by Chinese iconography.
Indonesia + the Planet
As we began, we were left with a sense of humility in the face of Indonesia’s grandeur. Considering each place, we could not escape the fact that our images were connected deeply to the natural world, to the palm trees, to the coffee plantations, to the volcanoes, to the temples overgrown by more green fauna than one is likely to see in a lifetime, to the crystal blue water surrounding all 17,508 islands. We knew that to create a shoe we were proud to share with the world, we had to consider the planet.
Sustainability + Fashion
Working with master craftsmen in Spain, we developed Solana's exclusive take on the classic espadrille. The shoe is impeccably crafted with exceptional quality and detail using vegan and certified sustainable materials. The commitment to quality is true to Solana's mission to create a cleaner, more culturally conscious world. The shoes are culturally inspired and consciously made, not only a representation of Indonesia but also a testament to the natural world.
Explore some of the places that inspired Solana's Indonesia Collection:
Borobudur is a UNESCO Heritage Site built in the 9th century CE in Central Java. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world with nine stacked platforms and a massive central dome. The dome is encircled by 72 seated Buddha statues all enshrined by stupas. Along the walls are relief panels that blend indigenous ancestral worship with the Mahayana concept of attaining Nirvana. Built on fertile land in "the garden of Java," Borobudur is 40km from Yogyakarta.
Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO Heritage Site built in the 9th century CE during the Sanjaya Dynasty in response to neighboring Buddhist temples. It was the largest Hindu temple of ancient Java and dedicated to the Trimurti, the trinity of Hindu's three main gods - Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Inside the temples are ornate statues to the three gods, as well as to their consorts. The temple is 20km outside Yogyakarta.
Mount Bromo is located in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java. It's not easy to reach but worth the journey. To take the striking landscape photo, we had to wake at 3am and make our way to Sernui viewpoint, where we climbed to the top. When the volcano appeared, framed by the Tengger massif, it was one of the most impressive sights we had ever seen. Afterwards, we trekked the Sea of Sand and climbed to the top of the caldera to peer inside.
Ubud is a yogi town in the uplands of central Bali. It's iconic rice fields were made popular by Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. The town sits in the midst of a rainforest with a huge monkey sanctuary at its heart. There are ancient holy sites all around and cafes for working remotely or relaxing. The town has become ex-pat friendly and many of the best restaurants require a scooter, which is a must have for total freedom here. We stayed for one week but could have easily stayed a year.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces are 10km outside Ubud in the center of Bali. It's a quick scooter ride and very pleasant in the early morning. The green, terraced rice paddies make for one of the most picturesque locations you will find. For this reason it's also a very popular tourist hotspot. We made sure to get there before it opened, which made for a cool, early morning ride and a quiet stroll through the terraces. By the time the crowd arrived we were sipping tea.
Uluwatu is a surf town located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali. It found its popularity after the making of a classic surf film called Morning of the Earth. The town is incredibly laid back, everyone seems to know each other, and its surrounded by beautiful ocean cliffs. In fact, Ulu literally means "land's end" and watu literally means "cliff." We ended our trip to Indonesia here but it will be the first place we go when we return.
8.5069° S, 115.2625° E
We chose to use the Om symbol for our Ubud design as it reminded us of our stay in this pleasant, spiritual town in the uplands of Bali. Outside nearly every home are stone shrines where offerings are made for spiritual merit or objectives. Many of these shrines are etched with the symbol Om, oftentimes painted in a bright yellow or gold. Walking around Ubud, there are also many shrines dedicated to Sang Hyang Widi, the One God in Balinese Hinduism.
Like all representations of Om, the meaning is derived from Sanskrit. The rishis, known as the "seers of thought" in the ancient Vedas, heard the vibration of Om when meditating on the sound of the Universe. This symbol and sound is often written and recited at the beginning and end of sacred texts and mantras, and it is believed to signify the reality of ultimate consciousness and the atman, the Hindu equivalent of the soul.