Archive for December 10th, 2008


Glamourama at London’s Liberty

1For me, a Londoner, I simply love all the chatter about shoes on ShoeTube. Yet sometimes I feel a little like an outsider . . . we just don’t have many of the same shoe shops this side of the pond. However, all feelings of exclusion and inadequacy are banished when I consider the incomparable ‘shoe heaven’ that is Liberty, in London’s Regent Street. Not so much a department store, but an institution.
2Perhaps even more legendary is the building itself . . . a prominent Tudor-style Grade 2 listed construction (which for those not in the know means having special architectural or historic interest).

Today, the store’s interior still retains its original Tudor Revival detailing: carved wooden balconies and staircases, decorative lifts and a labyrinth of small rooms arranged around an atrium lit by glazed roofs.

It is within this divine setting that the new Liberty shoe boutique, or ‘house of heels’ as its referred to within the inner sanctum, recently opened its doors to resounding celebration. The exquisitely presented shoes from designers such as YSL, Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Ann Demeulemeester, Commes des Garcons and Giuseppe Zanotti are displayed as pieces of art in their own right. Each vertiginous heel or embellished flat a shrine to gorgeousness, and a poetic reminder that shoes can look beautiful either on or off.

Redolent of a stately home, with grand masters (faux I presume) hanging on the walls, the ‘house of heels’ Garden room is a tropical paradise; the Boudoir, a seductive bedchamber furnished with a sumptuous 4 poster; and the Piano Room, with its red velvet chaise longue, the height of decadence befitting a bygone era when everyone dressed for dinner and men were chivalrous.

31This is where the crème de la crème reside . . . Prada, Mui Mui, D&G, Georgina Goodman, Marni and our very own Burberry and Viv (Westwood). Uniquely, they are presented in/on some amazingly eclectic antiques. . . a Chinese lacquered cabinet, a pre-war Cadbury’s chocolate display case, a Chesterfield sofa and a black baby grand.

The glamour doesn’t stop there. In the true spirit of Liberty, ‘house of heels’ showcases some of the newest, coolest shoe designers, as well as exclusives from shoe-gods such as Nicholas Kirkwood and Rupert Sanderson. The latter being acclaimed for his stunningly well crafted designs and perhaps less so, for the naming of all his shoes after types of daffodil

And if that isn’t enough to fuel your inspiration, you get a mini stately home visit thrown in to boot!


Reduce, Reuse and Rewear all Winter

2633601358_c816037340The other day, as played shoe dress-up in my closet for the umpteenth time with my toddler daughter, I became wistful about the strappy ones, the ones I had always assumed were strictly relegated to the summer.

In Boston, we are a practical people. We don’t do ostentatious displays of wealth, we dress sensibly for the season and we try not to trip on the cobblestone that pervades the city. So open-toed shoes? Barely even a summer “do” around here.

But my closest friend lives in New York City and she tells me that there, it is a do. In fact, the City that Never Sleeps apparently also condones tights with open-toed shoes for the truly fashion courageous.

While I am not sure I can rock the clothed toe look (It is a little too “organic co-op grocery store in Cambridge, Mass/Birkenstock sandals accompanied by thick, rag wool socks for me), I do think that open toed shoes in the winter make quite a statement because where do we see this look the most? On celebrities.

Yes, that’s right. Check out those feet on the red carpet in January. They are all showing off their posh pedicures under the heated lamps and tents. And why not? They are rich and they live in LA where is (kinda) warm all year round.

That is the thing about rocking the peep-toe look mid-winter, in the same way a $2 million dollar; five-carat engagement ring does, it screams, “I have money.” Because it requires perfectly pampered piggies when there is snow on the ground. Because it means taking cabs instead of walking from the subway. And because it implies, “I have door to door service.” It is a luxury to rock this look.

So is it a do or a don’t? I say, go for it. Would you get weird looks in Boston? Probably. But in New York or LA you would be seen as fashion forward and impossibly posh.

Besides, if you are spotting your open toed shoes at a party in Beacon Hill and someone mocks you for not being sensitive to the economic downturn with your pedicure and your cab rides and your impracticality, you can always respond by explaining that, in fact, you are thinking only of the environment. After all, you are recycling a summer look. What could be greener than that?

Photo thanks to.

Shoetube on Twitter

December 2008