By Lisa Stasiulewicz
Designer Tiffany Tuttle has been obsessed with feet her entire life. As a professional ballet dancer, she studied the lines of the leg and the arches of the foot with a scholar's intensity, and now puts her knowledge to good use with LD Tuttle, her line of shoes and accessories.
"I used to watch my friends wrenching their feet to get the arches higher, pushing themselves to get the legs straighter," the former Nevada Ballet Theatre dancer recalls. Ballet's fixation on flawlessness has lead Tuttle to reject the goal of perfection in her work. "There is more of a sense of life, a vitality in something that's imperfect," she says.
Tuttle is especially inspired by the intersection of natural rawness and man-made refinement in her environment. "L.A. is a perfect example—there are beautiful surroundings and then there's concrete everywhere," says Tuttle. "It's strange and interesting."
The theme of dichotomies extends to the designing process between Tiffany and her business partner and husband, Richard Lidinsky. Tiffany is a minimalist and former clothing designer—she cut her teeth at Givenchy and Tracy Reese—while Richard, an artist and graphic designer, has more of a rococo aesthetic. The two opposing, yet complementing forces work together to translate the overarching themes—raw vs. refined, perfection vs. flaws—into silhouettes, creating a look that they call "organic punk."
A signature element of LD Tuttle shoes is the experimental shapes. For spring the challenge was incorporating sculptural, puffy straps into the collection. The solution was the Muffintree shoe, a high stacked heel with thick, twisted straps around the top of the foot creating a strong, sexy silhouette.
"I think of the shape I want and then have to figure out how to make it look pretty on the foot," says Tuttle. "If it doesn't make the foot and leg look good, then it just won't work."
LD Tuttle is available in New York at Canary 145 Ainslie Street, Brooklyn; 718-782-0521.
A former career as a dancer propelled Tiffany Tuttle into smart shoe design. Now her signature line of strong, sexy footwear, LD Tuttle, makes graceful strides beyond the studio.