Mismatch a practical handbag and playful winter boots
There are many ways to add colour to your winter wardrobe, but none quite as unique as a pair of Maria Paola handmade winter boots. Think playful gummies that have encountered comfort and style. Now pair them with an equally beautiful handbag and you’re set for just about any outfit.
Bennita Paola needed comfortable, sexy shoes to explore the French countryside seven years ago. She found a pair of espadrilles in a little shop in Carcassonne and decided she not only needed another four pairs, but also needed to bring them home to South Africa. Maria Paola Handmade Espadrilles was born.
Not without a few challenges though, as anyone starting out on a new (ad)venture will tell you. Form had to follow function and the imported product just didn’t meet her style and comfort criteria. She ended up redesigning the soles and ripping off the fabric uppers.
“All the European ones were in solid colours. Africa is colourful and diverse. We love colour.”
And that’s the part we’re really interested in. These diverse fabrics are sourced from all over by Bennita as she buys whatever catches her eye, knowing her customers will love it too. Designs range from West African prints to classic toile and if some of them look like Design Team’s good work to you, you’d be spot on.
Soon, these beautiful espadrilles branched out into the gorgeous, practical boots and handbags we now have on our winter shopping list.
Forgetting for a moment the fabulous factor of the boots and focusing on their practicality, you’ll find each boot designed and produced with comfort and quality in mind.
Instead of sheepskin inners, she uses felt inners that are more suited to the comparably mild African winters. The boots are made from adhesive self-correcting foam, which allows the soft linings to be stuck on without creating hard and scratchy bits, while the genuine leather and designer fabric outers blanket your leg. Beautiful form following function.
“I can’t be the only one who has trouble finding a practical handbag. I thought, if I can make shoes, I can make handbags.”
What does a practical handbag look like? It’s large enough so you can fit everything you need, but not so large that you can lose a small child in it. It has genuine leather slings that won’t crack and fray before the bag is a year old and some designs have specially made compartments on the inside to keep phones, keys and diaries where they belong.
Each shoe and bag design is extensively worn and tested by Bennita and her staff at their Kayalami factory until they’re sure it’s ready to be produced and sold to customers. Not before they get named after the style icons that inspired them though. The likes of Grace Kelly, Isabella Rossellini, Coco Chanel and Penélope Cruz can all grace your shoulders and feet, and as Bennita only buys small amounts of fabric, each piece is a limited edition.
If you can’t find your size or colour at the Bryanston Organic Market or their factory in Kyalami, they can be custom made within a week or two. So you still have enough time stock your cupboard with a locally made winter staple.