Society: Shoetopia! exhibit wows the crowd at CCS

Chuck Bennett
Chris Donovan, designer of these shoes

“Shoetopia!” the first exhibition of its kind in North America to gather contemporary footwear, art, video and related designs into one space, is curated by Liza Snook, founder of the Virtual Shoe Museum and Aki Choklat, Chair of Fashion Accessories Design at College for Creative Studies.

The exhibition looks at shoe design through the lens of seven themes: Metropolis, Ritual, Utopia, Feast, Nocturnal, Techno and Eco. It features an array of objects, from footwear by international designers like Comme des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela and architect Zaha Hadid, to sculpture, painting and works by artists and designers like Willie Cole, Chris Francis, Fantich & Young, Kobi Levi, Peter Popps and Frederico Uribe.

On Thursday, about 300 people attended “The Future of Footwear” panel discussion in the GM Auditorium at CCS, and 150 guests attended the exhibition preview reception in the Valade Family Gallery following the panel discussion. As usual, celebrated caterer Forte Belanger made magic with food and drinks — “Shoe-tinis, cool hors d’oeuvres and fabulous desserts like bacon-covered donuts and apple-pie pop-tarts on a stick. DJ Mike Medow played dance tunes as guests were awed by the shoes on display.

Liza Snook, left, is the co-curator of ‘Shoetopia!,’ Chris Francis is a featured Los Angeles-based designer, and the co-curator is Aki Choklat.

“The preview was attended by Detroit society, as well as the fashion underground,” explains Choklat. “The connection between the two was the love of footwear. The reaction was the same from all the attendees ... silent mouth, open awe. I was super happy and honored to be able to bring such a show with Liza to Detroit. I think this will resonate years to come as the opening not to miss. A truly special night.”

“Shoetopia!” is sponsored by Lisa Applebaum, Nicole Eisenberg, Lynn Gandhi, Danialle Karmanos, The Vivian Pickard Shoe Collection, Sandra Seligman, Julia Reyes Taubman, and Molly Valade. The exhibition is free and open to the public and runs through Dec. 16 at the Valade Family Gallery inside the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education at the College for Creative Studies.

Chuck Bennett is the creator of TheSocialMetro.com, hosts “Chuck’s Closet” every Saturday from 4-5 p.m. on Super Station 910AM, and is the Fox 2 News Style Ambassador.