“I design my shoes like chairs,” Julia Lundsten says. “The heels are like the chair legs; and the leather uppers, where you place your foot, are like seats.” The Finnish designer is the daughter of an architect and an interior designer, and her desire to work with structural elements led her to study footwear rather than couture. Lundsten feels it is important to make cardboard models of all her shoes—just as in furniture design—before constructing them in leather and wood, despite their relatively small scale. She also has the sculptural birch or Brazilian hardwood heels crafted rather than using the premade ones more common in footwear. The heels are then dyed in vibrant hues using a patented new technique that allows color to permeate the wood so it won’t fade with wear. “It’s fashion, but it’s also product design in a way,” she says. “And the mad, crazy colors are great.” Lundsten’s first collection under her London-based label, FINSK, was released this spring. Her upcoming 2006 autumn/winter collection will also include boots (Sail Boot pictured here).