In a world where fashion is taken very seriously, why not have a little fun? With his back to the Future 10 Collection, intended to celebrate his 10th anniversary, Nicholas Kirkwood designed 80’s-inspired shoes featuring bold colours and characters snagged from video games and movies. For the project, he used a 3D printer, which created some genuinely mind-boggling and fashionably nerdy products.


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The shoes were packaged like one might market a child’s toy; they’re set up in bright, printed boxes with fun text and drawings. A clear, plastic window allows the viewer to see the shoe, but it’s more of a spectacle than anything else. It’s almost hard to imagine that anyone could wear it on a runway. One example is “the arcade booties”, which are covered in doodles of the iconic Pac-man images, ranging from the little yellow dots Pac-man himself munches up to the colourful ghosts that flee his pursuit.


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Another is the “back-to-the-sneaker peep toe booties”, which sport a thicker heel but a similar shape than the arcade booties. These, of course, were inspired by the well-adored eighties hit film, Back to the Future.
The shoes come packaged in a collectable box adorned in lighting bolts and light beams (see gallery), while the shoes themselves sport metal-looking straps across the front and back. For a fashion item, they look pretty comfortable and sturdy, and obviously, futuristic.


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The “fast car platform stilettos” were likely inspired by the Tracey Chapman song, which came out in 1988. On this box, speedometers surround the title, and the window is surrounded by red and yellow racing tape. The shoes are bright red and gloriously shiny, just like a brand new Porsche or Corvette. And similar to new “fast cars”, it makes everyone who sees them want to take them out for a spin.


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At a first glance, the “game over stacked heels” look like a visual illusion. It took a couple of double takes before I fully realized what I was looking at. It must be Kirkwood’s affinity for 3D printers that created the intricate artwork on the shoe; it seems to be either a crescent moon or a train left behind by a comet. The space theme is reinforced on the box, which literally states, “Join the space race!” in the upper corner. Tiny UFO’s also dot the cardboard, shooting little laser beams at each other around the stacked heel.


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It’s not often that those who love both Star Wars and fashion can combine the two interests, but Kirkwood made it happen with the “millennium butterfly slingbacks”. These are arguably the geekiest of all of the shoes, but they’re also incredibly interesting to look at. The design actually appears to be a part of the Millennium Falcon, covered in white, silver, and bright, electric red. The shoes seem like they might also function as jet boosters or a weapon of some sort; it’s hard to believe that they’re just shoes. Undoubtably, if princess Leia were to wear these on screen, it would blow some minds.

And just in case anyone was doubting the incredible abilities of 3D printing, the “neon city heels” should convince you otherwise. The heel literally spells out “neon”, in neon. The rest of the shoe is all pink, purple, and neon green, and every surface is covered in patterns. Zig zags, leopard print, and squiggles contrast against each other from every side. Prior to the invention of 3D printers manufacturing shoes like this was technically impossible. The box that the shoes arrive in is covered in glowing geometric shapes and patterns (see gallery). It’s like going back to the eighties, but without having to be ashamed of wearing something so bold and wild.


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The “NK-PO stacked heels” were designed to look like an android, as proven by the wire-like thread stretching along the side and the metallic golden surface. It doesn’t take much to imagine these on a gender-swapped C3-PO, who is certainly the motivation behind the name. With Nicholas Kirkwoods 10 year anniversary collection, it’s become pretty obvious that he is a fan of the Star Wars Saga.


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Kirkwood also makes a second mention of Pac-man with the “Pac-man platform heels”, black shoes which fasten around the ankle. A pixellated image of Pac-man is plastered onto the side, right above a peep toe. This shoe is likely the simplest of all of the ones in this collection, although the box is equally as cute as “the arcade booties”’.


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It gets complicated again with “the short circuit booties”, another robot-inspired design. With a thick heel and a peep toe, the shoe is all white and gold, tied at the top with ribbon and laced at the bottom in a crosshatch pattern. The cutouts on the shoe are all very geometric, as a robot should be, but they definitely have a personality. It’d be nearly impossible to walk into a room wearing the booties without turning every head.


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Finally, the “snow fighter platforms” finish off the collection. It’s the last Star Wars tribute in the collection as well (Snowspeeders are a Rebel Alliance vehicle shown in The Empire Strikes Back). Like the millennium butterfly slingbacks, the snow fighter platforms resemble the exterior of the ship they’re named after. Their design is almost identical to the short circuit booties, with a few changes in colour. There’s more blue in the platforms, and the box has doodles of snow-peaked mountains shown through a windshield. Stars appear in warp speed in the background of the box, just to add a little theatricality, as if that were missing in Kirkwood’s 10 year anniversary Back to the Future Collection.