From Punk to Pringle: Max Kibardin



Max Kibardin’s shoes rock. This is meant literally: his mega-heels for riot-grrl band Chicks on Speed actually come with three strings and can be wailed on like a Gibson or Stratocaster. Aside from his bespoke, individual pairs, the Siberian-born footwear aficionado has launched a men’s shoe collection (last January at Pitti Uomo in Florence), debuted nearly 40 styles of exquisitely crafted men’s shoes at an installation-type exhibition, and teamed up with New York artist Ike Ude for inspiration. Craftmanship and deliberation are key Kibardin qualities—he takes months to design a piece and uses materials like ostrich, rich suede, and crocodile, creating a piece that boasts a strong heritage before it’s even purchased.


This spring, after wowing the world with his challenging men’s collection at Pitti, he’s been tapped by another brand that prizes well-heeled quality over trends: Pringle of Scotland. Kibardin created an ostrich feather-laden sandals for Pringle’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection, and the collaboration is extending into Pre-Fall, with an elegant pair of shearling ankle boots. The peep-toes have a huge heel, and the suede folds over to reveal soft lamb’s fur (or can be kept up for a taller cuff). The minimalist, refined approach to the heeled bootie—in comparison to, say, his neon collaboration with Chicks on Speed—demonstrates that Kibardin is as versatile a shoe designer as can be, embracing a collaboration and the ethos or aesthetic of his partner. The young imagineer is turning out to be the collaborator everyone wants, whether the inspiration stems from punk rock or Pringle—or both.