Metamorphosis and contrast

  • Amber Verstegen / Master fashion design / shoedesign

Amber Ambrose Aurèle Verstegen (Master’s student in Fashion Design, first generation Shoe Design): “In my work I search for the boundaries between fashion and art. When do my designs become objects instead of wearable shoes? I have a conceptual approach to the design process and use it as an artistic expression. For my graduation collection, I didn’t want to make any concessions with regard to commerce or wearability. In my thesis research, I used semiotic analysis to change and deconstruct existing meanings and opposites such as the fatal, seductive, ‘bad’ woman and the ‘fragile’, elegant woman, and create new meanings and forms. The design of the heel is extremely important: the higher the heel, the more seductive, but also the less stable. I looked for designs that expressed both strength and fragility; both elegance and a certain toughness.”

Femme fatale and femme fragile

“Our graduation project was to design and make three shoe lines, each including at least three pairs of shoes. My mini collections are called ‘Ice, Ice, Baby’, ‘Imprisonment of the continuously shifting’ and ‘Original Sin(suality)’. These three lines are all based on the metamorphosis of things that seem like opposites. The starting point of the first two lines was the caging of things that seem uncageable: things as ethereal as water freezing into ice or as unstable and temporary as light. I used modern techniques such as 3D-printing and LED lighting. The last line is conceptually based on early Christian images of women. The figures of Eve, Mary and Lilith – the first ‘feminist’ figure in mythology and often depicted as evil – inspired me to makes designs expressing both vulnerability and strength. Ultimately I searched in my collections for designs that embody the ultimate seduction of a woman who dares to be both a ‘Femme Fatale’ and a ‘Femme Fragile’.”


“I prefer designs and materials that contain both this strength and vulnerability: the fragility of a 3D-printed heel that’s strong enough to support a woman.”


Download the thesis (soon online)


Photo 1: Peter Stigter

Photo 2: Eva-luna Schulte
Photo 3: Simon Claassen