Katrine Hanna, the young shoe designer who established her luxurious eponymous label in Dubai since 2017, has introduced her shoe collection inspired by the unknown world of Australian flora.
With her design ethos to transform women into an allegory of fantastical nature, Katrine Hanna expresses her inspirations through the use of unique material combinations and silhouettes. Starting with the Australian bush, Katrine’s first collection translated elements of its botanical makeup through embroidery details focusing on the Banksia heel.
- Did you always know at heart that you wanted to design shoes or is it a passion you acquired with time?
I always knew at heart that I would do something creative. During the foundation part of my degree at Central Saint Martins I experimented with many creative outlets but found myself drawn to fashion accessories. I would design jewellery, textiles and shoes but somehow there were always more shoes. From there I decided to specialise in footwear design and was accepted into the Cordwainers footwear product design degree at London College of Fashion. What I particularly liked about this course was that it was not just design. I covered all aspects of shoe making; hand crafting several pairs myself.
- What is your visionary design philosophy? What is the innovation / uniqueness you bring into the world of footwear design?
I love nature and I love fantasy. I am inspired by the juxtaposition of the surreal and real: the fantastical and the natural world. I express this through the use of unique material combinations and silhouettes. My design ethos is to transform women into an allegory of fantastical nature. My shoes are hand crafted by highly skilled artisans in Italy to ensure a luxury shoe that feels transformative when worn. The uniqueness of the Katrine Hanna is the banksia heel. My first collection is inspired by the unknown world of Australian flora. I translated elements of their botanical makeup through embroidery details. My second collection was called “beneath the garden” and took inspiration from field mushrooms and the fairy realm.
- Could you tell us more about your signature banksia style?
The banksia flower is native to my homeland, Australia. It grows on a tree as a yellow flower that eventually dries up into a nut, like a pinecone. It is then handpicked from the Australian bush and carved into a heel revealing an exotic pattern. This is completely unique to the market. Each heel has its own characteristics making every pair of shoes truly unique.
- How would you describe the Katrine Hanna brand? And what is the message you would like to convey to the people who wear your designs?
The Katrine Hanna Brand is focused on luxury and craftsmanship. I design to develop a pair of shoes that can be worn in the evening or just as easily with a casual outfit. The shoes have a sense of fun, a sense of not to take life too seriously.
- Many people have passion projects, but they lose steam after a certain point. What has been the biggest factor motivating you to actually keep going with this venture?
It was very difficult in the beginning when things were slower. Once you see your ideas come to life and you are touching the materials and wearing your shoe, it gives you a huge boost. I am a very physical, visual designer so when I am working hands on and crafting this is when I am most happy.
- Why did you decide to launch the brand in the Middle East?
I grew up in Dubai with Lebanese and Australian heritage. After studying in London, I decided to return to Dubai to launch my brand. Dubai is now a booming fashion and design hub and I wanted to be part of the growth just as I was part of the city growth when growing up. Dubai is constantly changing and striving to break boundaries and I see that as something I also strive for.
- How significant the Russian market for you? Anything special for the Russian consumers?
The Russian market is a very significant market for me. The Russian customer is very discerning in its love for luxury fashion. I follow several Russian shoe designers myself. Many of my shoes are special for the Russian market as I like to use lux colours and materials.