Interior Designing A Shoe

February 17, 2021

Dropping today, a unique collab between award-winning designer and artist Jill Malek and Cougar aims to bridge the gap between interior design and modern footwear. The capsule features the popular Cougar Kensington Chelsea rain boot with a custom print designed by Jill  in four limited-edition colourways. We chatted with Jill about the range, and what it takes to “decorate” a shoe. —Vita Daily

Hi Jill! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.

In a nutshell, I design wallcoverings, rugs and textiles for the interior design and architecture community. I am inspired by moving forms in nature and try to capture those movements in my work. My studio is in NY, in the city, but I live on the 22nd floor in a Brooklyn landmarked building with my husband, 11-year-old son and a cockapoo named Dublin. There are three languages spoken in our home (English, French and Armenian) and we celebrate a range of holidays throughout the year. I love to laugh, eat sushi, and am stuck like glue to ’80s music!

How did you first hook up with Cougar Shoes? Why did a collaboration seem like a “perfect fit” (no pun intended!)?

I was introduced to Cougar through their amazing U.S. PR firm. Always admiring the ladies who can rock stylish hats and wear bright lipstick, I introduced myself to the owner in the elevator of our shared work offices. She subsequently told me she always wanted to work with a wallpaper designer. Months later, when she began her relationship with Cougar, they were looking for an artist who could fashion patterns on their classic Kensington Rain Boot in an interesting way—that would be functional, inspired and appeal to their audience. I was intrigued and was introduced to Cougar’s president and head of marketing at a meeting here in NY. We all connected through our love of design and it just felt right, I knew there was potential for great collaboration. I guess you could say, we were all in the right place at the right time, and the rest is history!

Tell us about your Cougar capsule collection: what does the range include, what is the custom print?

The Rainshine pattern is a story of translucent, shimmering rain that kisses the surface of the Kensington classic rain boot. The range of colours are all neutral and are paired with pops of metallic printed “rain” that fall off the shoe and shift in tone along the boot. The colours available are Tea (a warm taupe), Lake (a soft blue), Mica (a steel gray) and Night (dark charcoal). It was important to choose colours that worked together as a unit to tell a story and could also work well with the silver metallic that runs along each boot.

How does this partnership bridge the gap between interior design and modern footwear?

I experiment with patterns primarily to help shift the energy in a room in dynamic ways. Transitioning from a wall surface to a shoe surface is a reminder that space has no limits and we can immerse ourselves in newly configured worlds wherever we go. The Rainshine pattern—inspired by the light that shines as it falls on moving objects—it could also line the closets where boots live, it could adorn an umbrella used as further protection from getting wet. Anything is possible!

So, which pair from the range will you be rocking on repeat?!

Definitely the Night colour! As a New Yorker, my closet is a sea of endless black textures. The silver pop in the Night boots will be the perfect complement to my black pants and dresses. My son’s foot is now as big as mine and he told me he will be borrowing!


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