Kron by Kronkron is the creation of Hugrún Árnadóttir and Magni Þorsteinsson. Over the last ten years they have designed 1200 pairs of shoes, which equates to a new pair every three days. They are constantly on the run between Milan, Paris, Reykjavik, Spain, Þórsmörk and Portugal.
Hugrún and Magni are a pair, a husband-and-wife team. They opened Kron, a shoe store, in Laugavegur in 2000, and followed up with fashion store Kronkron in Vitastígur in downtown Reykjavik in 2004. Hugrún and Magni’s ambition is to pair designers who have different perspectives, but share a strong sense of being true to themselves and not being unduly influenced by market forces. By doing this, they manage to create a magical universe where their customers immerse themselves in beauty when trying on items that have made it through the finely woven net that is Hugrún and Magni’s aesthetic sensibility. Anyone can open a shop, but the true magic lies in creating a unique atmosphere, as they have done. This atmosphere carries through to their own design of shoes, clothes and accessories which they started producing under the name of Kron by Kronkron in 2008.
The shoes are produced in Spain and Portugal by exceptional craftspeople with decades of knowledge and experience. Magni and Hugrún know the production process from A to Z and work closely with the craftspeople. When the design of a shoe is complicated, patience and resilience are needed to get them through the year and a half it takes until the final product is ready. A single pair of shoes may represent the expertise of up to 40 people. Each pair is made from many small parts, each of which plays an important role. There are many considerations to be made in getting each pair through the production process, everything has to work out. The time constraints are an additional complication since each shoe passes through the hands of many craftsmen, with no connection other than the role they play in creating a particular pair of shoes.
The first step in forming the shoe is getting the structure right. This part of the process is time consuming and costly as there is a specialist behind each building block. Once the structure is ready, the next step is the search for the perfect material. It is at this stage that the distinctive Kron by Kronkron look is determined, a look that is characterized by an unusual combination of colours and materials that has been their DNA from the start. The shoes exude joy, originality, and a colourful, adventurous spirit that spreads out through the toes and from there throughout the whole body and gives the wearer a true sense of a special occasion.
The fashion industry classifies shoes as adornment and people tend to be passionate about shoes. There is an Icelandic term for this, to be “skósjúkur”, literally sick for shoes. This is possibly because of the fact that the choice of shoes does not depend on one´s body shape, everyone is equal when it comes to shoes. We walk into a new day wearing shoes, and we walk through life in our shoes, of course they make all the difference.
Curator and exhibition design: Ástþór Helgason