Raphael Young was born in Seoul, South Korea, and grew up in his French adoptive family's home town of Romans, the birthplace of French luxury shoe making. Following in the footsteps of his uncle, the renowned Alexandre Narcy (a legendary bottier who created the Yves Saint Laurent Shoe Studio in the 60’s) Raphael created his very first pair of shoes at age 14.
Today, Raphael creates each prototype from stitch to finish- a rigorous method that few of his peers still employ. More than just a savvy designer, Raphael is a shoe maker and cobbler in the old school mold, an artisan who carves every last and heel and develops each and every aspect of the shoe design himself. Thanks to his earlier education in the engineering, Raphael bridges the gap between the sciences and shoe design.
Inspired as much by Plato as he is by Le Corbusier or Mies van der Rohe, Raphael draws inspiration from architecture, history and industrial design. When fashioning his wares, he looks not at trends or even the future, necessarily, infusing his 21st century collections with traditional techniques. After lending his creative design skills to some of the best Parisian and Italian couture studios as well as creating shoes for Manish Arora, Elie Saab, Louise Goldin and Hannah Marshall, Raphael finally launched his eponymous label in 2008.
His designs were quickly propelled into buzzworthy territory thanks to the superior quality and craftsmanship of his shoe designs, coupled with his inimitable style. The response of the international press was immediate, and Raphael soon became one of the most soughtafter emerging design talents around. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Monica Bellucci and Rihanna to name a few have also worn Raphael Young designs from Vogue Covers to Red Carpet events.
In 2011 Raphael made a move to NYC to head the shoe design team at Calvin Klein Collection. His designs garnered fantastic reception from the fashion press.