Leading Light: Behind the Scenes of Le Monde Béryl and Cloth Collective’s Collaboration
“Our shoes are a blank canvas to explore traditional crafts and materials,” muses Le Monde Béryl co-founder Lily Atherton Hanbury. It’s fitting, then, that upon her introduction to Charlotte Lawson Johnson, the founder of the British-based environmentally-conscious fabric studio Cloth Collective, she quickly began imagining how Le Monde Béryl’s signature slippers and slides could be transformed with only natural dyes at play.
“We do everything by hand making it an extremely slow process,” Lawson Johnson, a self-proclaimed life-long textiles enthusiast, says of her time-honored alchemical approach, which incorporates botanicals and food waste, all the while adhering to strict standards of sustainability. “It’s not for the impatient,” she adds. To wit, developing custom colors for Le Monde Béryl turned out to be a three-years-in-the-making endeavor, as Atherton Hanbury and Lawson Johnson experimented with a handful of locally-grown plant extracts — altering the ratios; dialing down the saturation — to achieve their singular shades.
Taking the palette of the English countryside, where they both reside, as their starting point, the neighbors-turned-creative partners eventually landed on two earthy pigments made with 100% compostable linen: a cork-like khaki reminiscent of the variegated blades of field grass, and a dusty, 1970s-esque lilac drawn from the wildflowers that crop up around their homes.
Seen on the classic Regency Slipper, as well as new knot-strapped sandals — which are available in both flat and heeled heights — the hushed, hazy hues “are almost like a neutral,” insists Atherton Hanbury, who notes that the sculptural stiletto has become the ideal springtime companion to her year-round uniform of a denim-on-denim. As the season shifts, presenting an opportunity to reinvent a wardrobe dominated by darks, consider the quiet offerings an unexpected — and timeless at that — indulgence of light.
Explore the Le Monde Béryl x Cloth Collective collaboration here.