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    The Last Conspiracy Autumn / Winter 2014, photography by Daniel Stjerne
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As the Scandinavian winter cranked up a notch, we ducked down in the studio of The Last Conspiracy whilst the torrential snow pounded on the pavements outside. This remarkable Danish brand takes pride in crafting sturdy yet aesthetically pleasing footwear that lasts comfortably. Over coffee, we spoke to Roald Nore, the brand’s Creative Director, about Portuguese craftsmanship, leather memories and the Nordic realm of the gods.

Mr. Nore, Thank you for having us. How are you today? 
I’m well; we’re in the process of preparing for the SS15 collection already and will head to Porto next week to meet with our special craftsmen and technicians to continue this process.

As the driving force behind The Last Conspiracy, what constitutes footwear design for you?
For me, it’s about construction, materials and the final finishing, where it all needs to come together. Next to this, functionality is very important. A shoe should always appear strong and comfortable enough for day-to-day wear. Therefore, personally, I don’t appreciate ‘overly-designed’ shoes… or clothes for that matter. Our expression is rather clean and subtle.

From conception to final product, could you describe your creative process? First of all, it’s an ongoing process. We don’t exactly start from scratch every season. Naturally, there will be new materials, cuts and lasts. In footwear design, the lasts are the first step – we like to experiment a lot until the last is simply perfect. This process is rather meticulous, as having the right foundation to each shoe is very important for the DNA of our collections. When this is set, we hand-develop the leathers together with two different and unique tanneries. It allows us to decide how we shall treat the leather, so we can play with texture, hand-feel and surface detailing.

Interestingly, you seem very aware of leather and its memory – what makes leather such an exceptional material to work with?
Well, leather is a most genuine material. Each leather has its own expression – to me that’s very interesting. Furthermore, it’s possible to change or enhance this original expression by treating it. Of course, the final ‘treatment’ starts when the shoe is worn. This is when ‘the memory’ of the leather gets very interesting and relevant. Each pair will have its own lines, creases, showing graceful aging and illustrating different paths and stories.

As The Last Conspiracy hails from Denmark – but your construction takes place in a special place in Porto – could you tell me more about the exceptional team over there? 
We bring our clean Scandinavian design heritage, but without our Portuguese pattern-maker and the technical crew in the factories we wouldn’t succeed. Our technicians all come from long family traditions of shoemaking and know each other very well. This is why this special understanding between us all is essential to what we do. Naturally, they often visit the fairs where we exhibit and, on these occasions, we explore the cities we’re in together, always looking for craftsmanship and inspiration. We’re very thankful for this special relationship. The resulting collections are controlled, yet quite substantial.

How would you describe the difference between women’s and men’s styles? What nuances come into play?
In the goodyear welted part of our collection, most of the styles are the same. Here the handcrafted expression is more important than the feminine / masculine divide, as we don’t like to exclude people, but instead aim to beckon to all. Nonetheless, for the women’s line we naturally also work with high heels and therefore different lasts. A last is a piece of industrial design and a heel is another different piece of industrial design. These two must fit perfectly together before you apply the fashion design (the styling and detailing).

For AW14, you crafted a special capsule collection called ‘ASGAARD’, which we first discovered during Pitti Uomo in Florence. Could you describe the reasoning and spirit behind these remarkable pieces and the artistic bronze shoe horns?
As you might know, ASGAARD is the home of the Nordic Gods. This small selection is as particular and crafted as I imagine this special place to be. It all started with a shoe I made for myself – on a more progressive last developed from a special leather. During this process, I discovered that the reverse side of the horse culatta leather has a fantastic texture and decided to craft a sample, which turned out great. Every piece in the ASGAARD collection is made of this leather and on lasts that have history. For me, the shoehorns fitted in perfectly here because of their individual texture. Also they emphasise the ‘viking spirit’ we embody. The idea of combining bronze and horn came from us and the crafting is done by the Belgian jewellery artist Malvine Marichal. Of course, each shoehorn is unique.

Speaking of originality and interaction, you also worked together with DENHAM The Jeanmaker and Asger Juel Larsen during the past season – can we expect any similarly eclectic collaborations from The Last Conspiracy in the coming season?
For sure.. but it’s a little too early to reveal these….do stay tuned!

Marlo Saalmink

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