If mid-century artists wore sneakers, what would those sneakers look like? Perhaps a pair of three-hole leather shoes – the ones in Melbourne footwear label McGuffin & Purpose’s new range.
Designer James Cameron has been paying homage to Los Angeles mid-century style, architecture and design since he launched McGuffin in 2015.
“It was an optimistic period where anything was possible,” he says of his fascination. “You could go to the moon! All the great artists moved west because there was the hope to be yourself and be free.”
This week, Cameron launched McGuffin and Purpose’s first full range with a Ray and Charles Eames-inspired pop-up shop at menswear boutique Up There Store. With its classic arch window front and dusty pink wooden frame, the installation looks more like a deconstructed house than a shop.
Inside, you’ll find three core styles: a classic desert boot (the style Cameron first debuted in 2015), a chukka boot with white rubber soles, and the aforementioned three-hole sneaker. Each is a simple yet finely hewn shoe that you can wear at the pub as well as to a dressy dinner.
“What’s really important is that McGuffin is tongue-in-cheek,” Cameron says. “It’s fun and serious at the same time.” Cameron is serious about construction. McGuffin and Purpose shoes are handmade from Italian leather in the Portuguese town of Guimarães, which is known for its leather artisans and craftsmanship.
As for the fun? You can spot it in the footwear’s bold colourways and surprising patterns, including pairs in dusty pink, berry red and dappled pony skin. Those versions are joined by classic white, blue and black.
There’s also the brand name, which, unless you’re a movie buff, may have gone over your head completely. A ‘McGuffin’ is a plot device used in film, where the protagonist sets out on a mission that’s irrelevant to the overall plot.
“McGuffin is nothing, and ‘purpose’ is something,” Cameron says. “It’s the yin and yang of the brand.”
With the shoe line now in full production, you can expect a menswear range from Cameron – who ran an eponymous fashion label for eight years before McGuffin – at the end of the year.
The McGuffin and Purpose store-in-store is open at Up There Store until Friday August 25.