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The SUNROOM Q+A: Le Monde Beryl

Go behind the scenes with the designers behind Le Monde Beryl (which we're calling THE shoe of fall — utterly chic Italian-made reinterpretations of the classic gondolier's slipper.) We chatted with the brand's founders Katya and Lily about their inspirations, collaborative process, and the things they never travel without...

How was Le Monde Beryl born?

Katya and I met while working at Phillips Auction House in London. We bonded over a shared love of jewelry and gemology and decided to pursue an idea I had to create a flat shoe that could take the contemporary woman from the school run to work, to an art fair, opening, dinner, and home again in an elegant and practical way.

How have your respective personal styles influenced the ethos and aesthetic of the brand?
Although we have quite different styles, we are both drawn to chic, functional, and sustainable fashion. Our design process is a system of checks and balances and if we are both happy with the end product, we take it forward.

Where does the name “Le Monde Beryl” come from?
The name Le Monde Beryl references a family of gemstones that includes Emerald, Aquamarine, Morganite, and Heliodor, long considered talismanic to travelers and artists. It also pays homage to the pioneering aviatrix and adventurer Beryl Markham, who was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west.

Can you speak more about the history of the Gondolier's slipper and how you've evolved your designs from this specific historical and cultural context?
The furlane slipper originated during the Second World War. Marrying Venetian style and wartime austerity, the slippers were originally made from scraps of velvet or felt and rubber from old tires, making something beautiful and functional from what already existed. The shape is so simple and elegant and the history behind them reinforces our focus on form follows function and that style is born out of necessity. The concept behind Le Monde Beryl was to look back in order to make something new, perfecting what was already an ideal shape and concept. There is a common theme of tradition, reinvention, and timelessness that our brand shares with the original Venetian slipper.

Each Le Monde Beryl collection provides a new-take on a streamlined, universal form, using the finest Italian leather and luxury fabrics with minimal to no waste. Crafted by master artisans, the slipper can be endlessly adapted, all the while retaining its inherent practicality and durability. Katya and I thought it would be really interesting to use the slippers as a canvas to explore traditional craft and textiles from all over the world; appreciating the human hand and cultural history, while creating something new and timeless. Each subtle change brings with it a host of different decorative connotations. In sumptuous velvets, the slippers speak of the Silk Route and Venice; in suede, of India; in jeweled fabric, of Kashmir. We also place a huge emphasis on creating no waste through a seasonless style and handmade, lasting quality.

My design ethos in three words: Sustainable, elegant, functional

I always start my day with:
Katya: Exercise
Lily: making smoothies for my children

Secret talent:
Katya: Karaoke
Lily: Jumping rope

Song I'm loving right now (or what’s your pump-up/dance jam?): We are listening to Super Mama Djombo in our office

Travel destination I always re-visit (or suggest to my friends): We both go every year to the Balearic Islands

Five things I’ll never travel without: Numerous pairs of our slippers, a good book, headphones, NARS lip pencils, and a party dress, just in case. 

My mantra: Vibrate on a high frequency

We are most happy when... we are in nature, surrounded by family.