Shoe designer Jan Jansen: fallen in love after 50 years!
Isn’t it fascinating? I have SEEN orchids for over half a century, but I’ve never really LOOKED at them. But now I am. And I immediately fell in love with a flower!
My mother loved flowers and always had fresh bouquets in the house. For her an orchid was the apotheosis of luxury, the queen of flowers. It didn’t do much for me. At the time I particularly loved autumn, with its falling coloured leaves.
The love only came very recently, when I was forced to take a closer look. That was when a number of orchid growers asked me to design a shoe inspired by the orchid. In order to experience the flower in all its aspects – to see, to feel, to smell, to watch it move – my house was promptly filled with orchids.
At first I was particularly impressed by the number of flowers. That soon changed. I got the feeling that I was not looking at the flowers, but that the flowers were watching me. I became increasingly fascinated. I looked back and suddenly saw the beauty, voluptuousness, the fascinating colours, the many different varieties and the erotic shapes of orchids. “Yes, dear. You see erotic shapes everywhere,” said my wife.
My interest only increased further when I talked to a flower specialist I know, who told me all sorts of wonderful stories, such as the one about how aristocratic ladies used orchids in the ballroom to send lascivious signals to the gentlemen present. As a result, I was constantly viewing orchids from a different perspective. And so my ideas for the orchid shoe gradually took shape.
Initially I did not dare touch the flower. It was too beautiful, too fragile, too special. That changed when I got to know her better. I felt velvet-soft petals and I knew: this has to be made of suede. And so I designed the ‘Orchid Shoe’. When the design was finished, I understood my mother immediately. The orchid is sensual, erotic, almost organic and voluptuous and it thereby really is the queen of flowers. It just took me a while to discover it…”