When stylist Vanissa Antonious and shoe maker Alan Buanne first met at the University of Sydney, they weren't to know that their burgeoning careers in the fashion industry (both were working in retail) would continue to evolve into a sartorial venture of their own, almost a decade later.
Following parallel careers in high fashion, (Antonious at Harper's Bazaar Australia and UK where she rose the ranks to Market Editor and Buanne's turn practising under a Florentine artisan shoe maker was followed by a stint at Nicholas Kirkwood) the two noticed a void in the shoe market for something understated, luxurious and wearable but - and here's the catch - at an accessible price point .
After settling on the name 'NEOUS', an anagram of the last letters from both the designers surnames, the duo set out on what would be a year-long, exacted search to an Italian artisanal practise to work with that would ensure the brand remained accessible financially - and happily, with prices that begin at $330, they do.
Using a mix of butter soft suede and leather, NEOUS also works with transparent synthetics and woven macramé in a bold palette of delightful unexpected colour combinations; Deep, Yves Klein blue is offset with a shock of gold at the heel while a rich, autumnal burgundy is threaded with candy pink.
Following only a single showing season at last month's fashion week, they've already been picked up by fashion ecommerce heavyweights, Moda Operandi, where you can shop the collection exclusively until the 7th of November.
Here, the duo discuss design, inspiration and all things south of the ankle.
Who is the NEOUS woman?
There isn't one woman in particular that comes to mind. We know she is effortless, confident and promotes natural beauty. For her, fashion isn't the most important thing. Instead she gets lost in her imagination and daily inspiration whether it be books, art or films.
How do you see the collection being worn?
It was made for the modern woman. We want her to wear her shoes all day and night, to truly live in them. With the wearable heights and comfort of the shoes, we hope she never takes them off.
What was your starting point for this season?
One of our main inspirations this season, was the work of Pierre Cardin in the 1960's the purity and sensual lines of his creations. The circle hardware detail in particular was inspired by a Cardin quote we came across, when researching: "The circle is the symbol of eternity. The moon, the sun, the earth are pure creations, boundless, without beginning and end."
Bauhaus art and architecture as well as Kandinsky and Malevich were great reference points for colour and shape. That being said, one of our main starting points were women we admire and respect - how we could create something they would feel confident in and what they could wear with ease.
What sets NEOUS apart from other brands?
From the beginning, we set out to create something that wasn't offered in the footwear market. NEOUS is 100 per cent handmade in Italy with local fabrics and materials and sits in the 'contemporary designer' bracket. This is a rarity for shoes made by hand in Italy and is important for the aesthetic, quality and detail of the shoes - but most importantly, the shape, comfort and long-term wearability.
What is inspiring you at the moment?
Vanissa Antonious: I recently saw the William Egglestone exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery by far one of the best photographic exhibitions. I've recently watched Stranger Things for the second time.
Alan Buanne: I am transfixed by the US election at the moment, however it is a combination of fascination and horror. I am equally obsessed watching American Horror Story and the nuanced world of Stranger Things.