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Modern, contemporary, and structural are just a few words which came to mind when I first saw the creations from footwear designer Max Kibardin. Previously an architect student, Kibardin gave up his studies in Russia to follow fashion and is currently based in Milan. Inspired by elements of architecture, costumes and inhabitants of the underwater kingdom for his Spring/Summer 07 collection, a humble Kibardin shares a little about himself and his work with us….
When did you decide your future was in designing shoes and not architecture and what prompted the career change?

Unfortunately I’ve never seen my future in architecture, even if I take a lot of inspiration from it. My parents wanted to see me with a serious direction in my studies and with scholarship won I just chose the most prestigious speciality at my University. But I always had passion for Fashion. So I was modelling, styling and then studying again Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni. Designing clothes I discovered that my drawings were too constructive (I think previous studies influenced) that doing colloquiums and showing my works to some important designers, I was suggested to consider really the idea of designing accessories. From accessories my favorite’s were always shoes, so once I tried I’ve never stopped.

How have you applied your knowledge of architecture to your work?

I am very precise in drawing, having almost a mathematical approach, looking always for the balance (I believe like the most designers ) between toe and heel, always trying to resolve my inspiration into the lines and shapes rather then embellishment.

What does a typical day for you involve?

Since the brand MAX KIBARDIN began in 2004, there is a lot of work which we face in order to grow, I have to spend all day long in the office, following production, commercial and public relations activities, being in contact with factories, manufacturers, buyers and journalists. It takes a lot of time and energy (which I love) but to keep updated I read WWD, IHT and other favorites during the breakfast. And the only time I can dedicate to do research, go to exhibitions, movies and book stores are Sundays and Saturdays.

What’s the most extravagant piece you’ve worked on?

(MADLENE: see top image) I am afraid you won’t find extravagant enough, because the shoes I design are influenced strongly by artisan traditional manufacturing. So my collections are mostly having the classic elegance touch, revised in a fashion way, kind of modern classic elegance.

What are you reading at the moment?

Banana Yoshimoto and “Lost Splendor” autobiography of Count Felix Yussupov.

Life ambition?

To enlarge the quantity of my shoe “fans”.

In your opinion, what does it take to be a successful shoe designer?

For me success is to be able to compete in terms of the quality and design with the other high street brands.

What are you most looking forward to next year?

Honestly, being in the market for 2 years, to keep going and evolving my brand.

What would you say is your most treasured luxury?

Maybe time, I think also space.

Advice for anyone trying to pursue a career in shoe design?

Focus on your target and find a right factory to interpret your product.

Last song you listened to?

In my office people are listening to Virgin Radio so it’s like at least 10 times a day I have to listen to “Nothing in my way” by Keane- he is very popular between my assistants. Great song I guess!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My wife’s former editor-in-chief was always saying to her: never look what the others are doing, just concentrate on your own business”. I made it mine, so whenever I feel competition I always think about it.

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