Archive for September, 2008


Heelarious? You Be The Judge

When it comes to fashion, I’ve seen it all—including, but never limited to, men in chinchilla fur, ostrich feathers and the occasional pair of opaque tights and Jimmy Choo ankle booties. But just because I live in the San Francisco Bay Area doesn’t mean I can’t maintain my belief that men should dress like men.

I have also extended this rather old fashioned “dress your part” philosophy to include babies and puppies. In the event I am a proud mother to either someday, I vow never to outfit them in sinfully sexy “big people” ensembles: Marabou-embellished headbands, rhinestone collars, jewelry, miniature denim, and high heels are off limits.

That’s right, I said high heels because in case you haven’t heard, there is such a thing as baby’s first high heels, produced by a company called Heelarious. Granted, these are not made for walking—they’re soft to the touch and simply designed to look like high heels for crawlers ages 0-6 months. They come in six styles, which span precocious zebra stripes and leopard prints, as well as solid black and hot pink options for, um, more conservative wee ones. The finishing touch? A purse-shaped gift box.

Since these are essentially novelties marketed to shoe-loving grown-ups, I’ll withhold my criticisms. However, I’m curious to find out if these actually aspire to make a chubby munchkin’s legs look longer and leaner, and if I can look forward to seeing any babies (and that includes little boys) actually wearing the things.


Pennies From Heaven

Cole Haan has shed its ultra-conservative image and turned out some alluringly sexy shoes that transition from desk to dusk. I’m ringing in the brand’s 80th anniversary with the Penny Air High Moc, high heel penny loafers equipped with Nike Air technology. I plan to wear them on the town this weekend, paired with a fringed mini dress (consider it my own tribute to Cole Haan’s jazz-era roots).

Last night—amidst intrepid shutterbugs—I got a glimpse of the rest of the very sweet fall 2008 collection. A private dinner party was held at San Francisco’s Spruce, hosted by Cole Haan’s charming Design Director Paul Overfield and jewelry designer Anna Sheffield. Sheffield is the New York-based accessories prodigy who has ever-so-brilliantly re-imagined a series of pennies to complement Cole Haan’s fresh crop of loafers and penny keeper clutches. She’s a study in edgy-elegance (her ladylike updo and glamorous baubles belie her colorful tattoos) and proof positive that you needn’t always wear a white blouse, cardigan, blazer or pencil skirt to pull off American classic footwear.

To check out the latest confections from Cole Haan, visit


Dark Circles, Desperate Measures

My Benefit Bad Gal Lash mascara is clinging to the skin below my eyes with a singular ferocity. I think. I try the moisturizer-on-a-cotton-swab trick. Nothing on the swab. So my makeup is washed off after all.
I look back at myself. My lids are distressingly sunken and an alien gray-blue underneath. I’m a melting wax-figure.

How long have I had dark circles under my eyes?
I immediately pile the mascara back on, followed by black eyeliner and shadow. My thinking is this: In an hour it’ll smudge naturally below my lash line and what are actually circles will appear to be the rumpled-European-edgy-girl look. Rather than conceal the flaw (I’m too young to conceal!), I’ll accentuate it. The just-out-of-bed smoky look will camouflage the actual need-more-sleep thing I have going by hiding it in plain sight. Like when I hide my roommate’s birthday card in the pile of bills on my desk.
To pull this off I’ll need an edgy shoe. I think oxford right away but that style doesn’t seem mysterious enough. Smudged black eyeliner belongs on people who can’t be placed, like private investigators, world travelers and musicians on tour.
I have the perfect thing. The shoe that can’t be placed. The Dingo shoe boot. It’s the drifter of my closet, not quite fitting in with the pumps or the boots, it says, “No, I’m not as tough as a cowboy boot, but you probably shouldn’t mess with me.” At least, not until I come to terms with using under-eye concealer.


O Manolo!

Manolo Blahnik knows how to give a woman goosebumps (that’s us getting cozy in the photo). For me, it’s not just about his fanciful stilettos, it’s his very essence: This is a man for whom the words “gallant” and “debonair” were invented. During his recent cameo at Neiman Marcus San Francisco we danced (briefly), kissed (oh, the fireworks!) and talked Hollywood (off the record).

What transpired from my one-on-one interview is a list of things every woman ought to know about the man who takes up so much of our collective closet space:

* HE loves chocolate, especially mousse, and takes much of his inspiration from its naturally decadent hue.

* HE despises platforms (don’t get him started…), a testament to the fact that he knows what he likes and creates what he likes, despite of-the-moment trends.

* HE belongs to an elite species of designer—the kind who sees a shoe through from idea to sketch without a design team or assistant.

*HE began sketching at the age of 7, on the beach at his home in the Canary Islands. In the early seventies—upon feasting her eyes on his illustrations —Diana Vreeland insisted that he bring them to life. He now turns out about 130 different shoes each season.

*HE is modest and charming and witty and loyal to good friends, many of whom turn to him for custom-made confections. We ran into former fashion model and Bazaar contributing editor Tatiana Sorokko at the event and she thrilled us with stories about a pair he fashioned from vintage buckles channeling Marie Antoinette.

*HE personifies perfection and is rarely without his bow tie. The first thing Team Shoetube spied upon arrival were his orange, matador-inspired slip-ons that practically cried out “tada!” He designed them for his own comfort and owns several pairs—all of them in vibrant colors.

*HE has been king of the luxury shoe market since B.C. (before Carrie), opening his first boutique in London’s Chelsea, followed by locations in New York, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong and beyond.

For more scoop, stay tuned for fashion footage from the event…


Shaping my Slippers

Psst. I have a shocking confession: in recent weeks I have been hanging out at the barre much more regularly. Normally, I am a more Modern kind of girl but dancing with David Parker and The Bang Group in Nut/cracked again drove me to it.

Most of the dancers with whom I work warm up on the floor a la Martha Graham, Erick Hawkins or Lester Horton, but the Bang Group prefers to undergo a battery of Ballet exercises to kick off rehearsals. Inspired by this gang’s rhythmic grace and envious of their leaner-than-a-greyhound’s thighs, I’ve decided to give Ballet another try.

At first, I was bumbling about the barre barefoot, but then, I stumbled across a pair of white Capezio slippers in a box in my basement. When I began searching for our Christmas stockings, I was startled to discover many bizarre treasures I had squirreled away there. I mean, I don’t even know when or why I bought these obviously unused shoes. Somewhere in the back of my muddled mind, I have an incomplete memory of the bargain bin at Capezio that might explain their presence. Why else would I have chosen white over the more prototypical pale pink shade?

Forcing my feet into this pair felt funny but oddly familiar. It’s been decades since I studied ballet seriously. Of course, my discomfort was also due to my aversion to dancing in footed tights. Lumpy socks don’t sit so well in calfskin slippers. Thinner hosiery, however, would have allowed the split sole in these shoes to accentuate my underachieving arches more.

If you have never worn them, you may not realize that ballet slippers are unlike almost every other type of athletic shoes. There is nothing in them to support or cushion you. In fact, they are designed to be stretched into the shape of the dancer’s sole.

When they are made, they don’t differentiate between the left foot and the right. Their supple leather is intended to mold to your metatarsals and conform to the unique contours of your foot. If you aren’t born with superhuman strength in a very specific set of foot muscles, then you must spend endless hours doing barre exercises before your slippers can set off your poetic point. I’m still searching for mine.


Reinventing Myself One Sole at a Time

Once a month I feel the need to reinvent myself. It is usually nothing drastic—eat healthy, exercise more, drink less—and it often begins with a new pair of shoes. For example, you can’t shop at Whole Foods without a new pair of eco-friendly flip flops and you can’t exercise without a new pair of tennis shoes (even if the exercise in question happens to be barefoot yoga.)

The past few months have been a total whirlwind. I ended a seven year relationship, moved into a new house after my landlord failed to pay his mortgage, and planned and executed an event for over 900 people including the Mayor of Baltimore. I feel like I have grown more in these past few months than I have in years. So in an effort to make my newly found maturity apparent to the outside world I have decided to wear “nice” clothes to work.

Don’t get me wrong. We have a dress code in the office that I adhere to and I always look presentable (at least I would like to thing so.) However, I have a beautiful closet of clothes that tend to be overlooked, because they are high maintenance. These pieces of, albeit beautiful garments, need ironed or dry-cleaned, have ten million buttons and zippers, and/or get a little tight around the waist after lunch.

To entice myself to step up to the proverbial “shoe plate” I purchased these. They are the most comfortable pair of shoes, and make me feel like the fashion couture diva that I would love to be, but fall slightly short of all too often. They say, “I am serious, but still know how to have a good time.” Exactly the effect I hope to achieve.

Hopefully, my new digs will also score me the raise I need to pay them off. Not exactly the most mature thing I have ever done, but all work and no play makes Faith not only dull, but also unfashionable, and this I simply cannot deal with.


Only Choos Can Prevent Parking Tickets

I’ve spent enough money on parking tickets since moving to D.C to easily give good ‘ole Imelda Marcos a run for her strappy sandals: there was no way I was going to get yet another $100 ticket.

It’s me vs. rush hour vs. D.C. Parking Enforcement; Monday through Friday at 4:00 if I don’t move my car from the street in front of my office, I am the lucky recipient of a $100 parking ticket. Needless to say, after my first ticket I put a reminder on my Outlook calendar to alert me at 3:45 to “Move the Mini”!

One dark and stormy day at the office things were a little crazy, and for some unknown reason the Microsoft gods were working against me. I was engrossed in a project, but happened to glance at the clock: it was 4:15! So much for setting a reminder! I frantically jumped up from my desk and hustled out the door; I was sure I was done for, but I hoped and prayed that the torrential rains were keeping the parking patrol at bay. As I stepped out the door into the rain, I spotted a poncho-clad figure issuing tickets with a vengeance.

Normally, I always change into suitable shoes for traipsing through the elements, so I don’t ruin any of my beloved dress shoes.

However, when $100 is at stake there is no time for swapping shoes.

Neither puddles, worms, nor oncoming traffic could stop me as I sprinted to reach my car before the parking officer. As I was making the mad dash, I had two thoughts running through my pea brain: A) I couldn’t believe I might get another ticket, and B) Jimmy Choo ballet flats are actually pretty decent running shoes!

Narrowly avoiding an oncoming Range Rover, I managed to get to my car just as the officer was flipping open her ticket book. Perhaps it was because I was drenched in rain and looked pathetic or maybe she noticed I was willing to sacrifice my Jimmy Choos for the sake of opening up the rush hour lane, regardless, she decided to spare me the $100 ticket. From that day forward my silver metallic ballet flats weren’t just Jimmy Choos, they were my Running Choos.

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September 2008