Combining tradition with contemporary design, Moroccan-based brand Zyne pays homage to the classic babouche by bringing it into modern territory. “The babouche is the iconic shoe worn throughout Morocco for traditional events, and encapsulates centuries of history, from the effervescent buzz of the souks to the timeless landscape across the country,” designer Zineb Britel tells Vogue Arabia about the conception of her footwear brand. “Customarily created by hand out of leather, the babouche molds itself to the wearer’s foot over time, so that it truly belongs to no one else.”
Decked out in beaded embellishments, colorful overlays, and textured details, the Zyne Fall 2017 collection infuses glamour into a slipper silhouette. Split into three lines, the offering features a streamlined shape with a curved vamp called “Sobryss,” which contours the foot; a profoundly versatile design that evokes a sense of ease and can serve as a trans-seasonal shoe staple. Meanwhile, lending an air of opulence to the collection are the Medzo and Full Up lines. Speaking high-volume, the up soles are peppered with pearl adornments, fur, and sequined accents.
In recent seasons, designers have been dreaming up the babouche amid their collections, where we saw the angular flat sprouting up at Céline, The Row, and Acne Studios. While designer brands opted for a minimal approach, Britel elevated the traditional pair with luxurious materials. “We really had the envy to put the babouche outside the house and make it live forever. It’s a heritage from our culture and tradition.”
As for craftsmanship, the ESMOD Paris graduate––who did stints at Sonia Rykiel and Christian Dior before launching her label––turns to her local community for production. “Our babouche are first hand-beaded by a cooperative dedicated to supporting local women in the community, and then they are pieced together by a cooperative of men that are passionate about craftsmanship and learning about new techniques,” she says. “We are very concerned to stay working as a small atelier––we have no factory to make the product. Every piece is unique and made by the finest materials.”