Archive for September, 2009


Stepping Up, and Stepping Out

It’s really easy to forget how incredibly lucky we are.

Whether we blow our money on expensive takeout, tumescent rent, or simple daily wastefulness, we often–no matter how frugal we may fool ourselves we are–live lives of excess, whether or not we can afford it.

Vanessa Minnillo and Kelly Rutherford at DSW Presents: Step Up & Step Out’s Champagne Brunch, Photo Credit:  Kristen Somody

Vanessa Minnillo and Kelly Rutherford at DSW Presents: Step Up & Step Out’s Champagne Brunch, Photo Credit: Kristen Somody

And then we see a glimpse at the people who truly can’t. The people who struggle for that every carton of milk, every metrocard, and realize we are blessed. And it’s that blessing that makes it our duty to stop obsessing about ourselves and start contributing to the world around us.

This past weekend, I had the honor of being a guest at DSW Presents: Step Up & Step Out, an event that started out a champagne brunch and started out the hottest shoe sale of the year.

It was held at the super-fancy W Hotel, and began with a VIP champagne preview brunch and a designer shoe sale featuring labels from DSW Shoes and interactive style lounges. Sales helped raise funds for the Step Up Women’s Network program in New York.

Film and television personality Vanessa Minnillo served as honorary chair, accompanied by shoe-lover and Gossip Girl star Kelly Rutherford! The event’s host committee was lead by DSW spokesperson and renowned stylist Bobbie Thomas. The DSW event benefit the female empowerment charity Step Up Women’s Network,and Vanessa spoke at length about the importance of having women role models in her life.

The network raised money through sales of fabulous shoes – and the day was all a very good time, as VIPs tried on fierce stilettos and sipped pink champagne. But it had a bigger message: Indulge in the fabulousness of our lives, but remember to share our blessings, and be there for the next generation as the generation before has been there for us. One day, not so far away, they will be raising their own glasses…in equally smashing stilettos…and making a difference for someone else out there.


Tess Tuesday: Let the Wild Rumpus Begin

To be honest, we haven’t been this excited for a cultural event…where-the-wild-things-are-206x300

Since, well, since maybe ever.

And while we’ve determined that it’s impossible (or at the very least, certainly inadvisable) to actually become a wild thing…wild-things-300x196

That doesn’t mean you can’t, from time to time, pretend.  After all, aren’t fur (or faux) vests already an it item this fall?fur-vest-152x300

You pair one of those babies with a pair of these babiesdolce-boots1-300x300

And you’re good to go. And growl, if you want to.


What Would Dorothy Wear?

IMG_0500What would the Kansas farm girl-turned fashion icon wear today? That’s the question Warner Bros. and Swarovski posed to 19 shoe designers you love (I know you love them, don’t doubt me) and one FIDM design contest winner, Kaddie Lam (pictured with her spiral-heel stiletto). The result? Mouthwatering red confections that would make any modern-day Dorothy want to perfect her yellow brick road strut.

A very chic friend I’m now indebted to was kind enough to take on the role of field reporter and sent back pics of her favorites; as displayed last night at Tavern on the Green for The Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Emerald Gala.

What’s the fate of these gorgeous creations? They’re being auctioned off here until September 29, with the proceeds going to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which works in 17 countries to prevent and treat HIV and AIDS.

So if you’ve got the budget, bid away. If you don’t, just click your heels together… or maybe watch the movie. It won’t bring you ruby slippers, but it will bring you back to your shoe-loving roots.

Moschino platform pumps with an oversized half bow on each toe. So sweet!


Christian Louboutin satin heels with fabric-feather detail.IMG_0497

Abaete crystal-encrusted pumps with bow detail.IMG_0501

Tuleh strappy pumps covered in satin and tulle. Dubbed a hot mess by our reporter. IMG_0498

Precarious platforms from Alberta Ferretti.IMG_0503

And L.A.M.B. by Gwen Stefani wooden open-toe platforms with satin bow. Not to mix magical stories but, these are the fairest of them all.IMG_0502


Fashion Week’s New Take on the Ankle Wrap

Though the strappy lace up boots-meet-sandals aren’t going away anytime soon (and I’m not complaining), the September runway shows in New York turned up some interesting variations on that theme. Derek Lam‘s spring collection received plenty of raves and while fashion writers didn’t spend a lot of time at the Bryant Park tents shoes waxing poetic over the footwear (it does kind of get lost in the face of all those gowns/high waisted trousers/ginormously padded shoulders), Lam’s shoes merited mentions.

Derek Lam, Spring 2010

Derek Lam, Spring 2010

“Shoes, belts and bags were all by the Lam himself and figured prominently as they are a growing part of his business,” wrote StyleList. “The shoes were boy-meets-girl — elaborate strappy lace-ups and colorfully banded sandals.” The New York Post agreed, writing, “Many of the best bits of Derek Lam shows are the shoes and bags.”

Also from Derek Lam

Also from Derek Lam

My faves, Lam’s gladiator-ish laceup sandals, have clog-like soles and come in olive green and cranberry red. Both colors are unusual yet could be paired with a wide range of outfits. The extra-long laces, which the models wore wrapped around their calves above the top of the shoes, give a tough punk girl in combat boots look, which tempers the beachy boho feel of the open leather work.

Balenciaga, resort wear 2010

Balenciaga, resort wear 2010

Balenciaga turned out two different themes on the ankle wrap in its resort wear collection. One, a platform creation with black patent leather layered, origami-style, over neon-bright blue and orange strips, is all at once 80s-retro, disco glam and wildly futuristic.

Also from Balenciaga's resort wear collection

Also from Balenciaga's resort wear collection

The other pair that caught my eye is reminiscent of the legwarmer-meets-slipper booties popular when I was in college. (Mucklucks, my mother called them.) Balenciaga’s sweater boots feature platforms, open toes and thickly woven coils of fabric wrapping the calves. The designer has been experimenting with a similar concept for a couple seasons, prompting blogger My It Things to write (last spring), “Since Balenciaga introduced the open toed flat boots in their Spring ready to wear 2008 collection, they are slowly making their way to the market. It’s still unclear if these are meant to be ever embraced by the masses. It has nothing to do with innovation, but rather with function. It’s hard to find the perfect occasion (or weather) for something so controversial.”

Though few bloggers have gotten around to addressing Balenciaga’s 2010 collection footwear, I Want-I Got did rave, “The shoes, my god, the shoes.”

Finally, Burberry’s ( spring collection caught my eye, not so much for the muted pallet and rain-ready jackets as for the excellent subversive/girly “Twisted Classics” leather platform shoes. According to
“[Burberry designer Christopher] Bailey’s collection … gave us twisted leather platform shoes, braided leather platform shoes, leather and satin bandage boots with zipper details on the back and will work so well with those short, deluxe, sexy dresses.” The runway prototypes were silver and beige, but actress Emma Watson ( was photographed at London fashion week in a black pair.
Burberry, Spring 2010

Burberry, Spring 2010

Finally, Burberry‘s spring collection captured my imagination, not so much for the muted pallet and rain-ready jackets as for the excellent subversive/girly “Twisted Classics” leather platform shoes. According to A Woman and Her Shoes, “[Burberry designer Christopher] Bailey’s collection … gave us twisted leather platform shoes, braided leather platform shoes, leather and satin bandage boots with zipper details on the back and will work so well with those short, deluxe, sexy dresses.”

The runway prototypes were silver and beige, but actress Emma Watson was recently photographed at London fashion week in a black pair.


Burju Perez Dishes on Dance Shoes

bcBurjuDiamondscropMaybe it’s all the weddings I’ve been to lately, or the Fame remake, or even the new season of Dancing with the Stars; whatever it is, I’m all about dance moves these days. That’s why I tracked down world-renown ballroom dancer turned chic shoe designer, Burju Perez to give us the scoop on her new line.

How long have you been dancing?

All my life, but Salsa for about 10 years.

What made you want to start designing shoes for professional dancers and later for all women?

Dance shoes just weren’t cutting it. They had the comfort and support we needed but lacked the flavor. And flavor is the main ingredient in Latin dancing! That was my main goal, to bring on the flavor! Then I realized that every women deserves a comfortable and supportive shoe. So I’m starting with brides and eventually hope that any woman with a fetish for stylish heels but a craving comfort will own a pair of Burjus.

What’s your design philosophy?

Shoes are walking art. They make a statement about your personality. So color and embellishments matter. I’m also a believer in the “bottom up” method of dressing where shoes are picked first then the outfit coordinates.

I know this is tough but, can you tell me which of your pairs is your favorite?

-3I love all my shoes but if I had to pick one it would be this custom pair. They’re hand-painted (by me). Any time I get a blank canvas to work on, my true artist emerges and takes over. It’s the same with choreography. I love a clean slate. It’s a challenge and a bit intimidating to get started but once you get going the fear dissipates and creativity flows. Mistakes become exciting new designs and the outcome is stunning. I honestly stared at these for hours after they were finished.

…I love ’em too! I also love this Mary Poppins style for fall. And next week our fitness guru, Karen, will be testing out a pair of Burjus in ballroom dance class. Stay tuned for more Burju!Mary Poppins1


Tess Tuesday: A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever

keats-233x299You know who said that? John Keats said that. No. Wrong. Sorry–he wrote it.  In 1818.  Here’s the stanza you can find it in, from the poem, Endymion:

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:

It’s loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health and quiet breathing

And do you how old John Keats was when he wrote this?

He was 22 years old! He’d be dead by 25.

And do you know what those lines are about?

That’s right! You guessed it! They’re about shoes! Beautiful, beautiful shoes!

No. Just kidding. Sorry. They’re not about shoes.

corso-como-bots1-300x300But they could be! Right? After all, what’s more beautiful than a perfect pair of shoes? And while they can’t quite last forever, who doesn’t have a blissfully beautiful pair of shoes emblazoned in their memory for all time? I mean, who doesn’t think back, from time to time, wistfully, on the best pair of shoes they’ve ever owned? I know I do.

And I bet you anything that Keats did as well. (Though of course, it’s unverifiable.) So whenever anybody gives you a hard time about your insatiable need for beauty on your feet, just give ‘em some Keats, a man so Romantic they capitalized the word for him…

(P.S. If you like this post clikc here and comment. Tess is giving $50 to one lucky commenter of the week!)


Seasons of Change

I’ve had a lot go down the last few weeks – friendships end, friendships be renewed, jobs end, new jobs begin.


Guiseppe Zanotti sandal,

I’ve noticed something about change, and myself. I’m scared of it. I hate to lose what feels comfortable, but when you do break free of unhealthy or unproductive situations, suddenly you feel more alive than ever.

This weekend is the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashonah, it’s a celebration of a new year. For our family celebration, I wore this sexy heel from Giuseppe Zanotti, $184.00 at

With its patent leather criss cross strap and a  t-strap of onyx and crystal, it’s bold and daring, but its delicate ankle straps symbolize the need to hold on to what is dear and meaningful to us – while stepping forward and away from all that, ultimately, wasn’t meant to be in the first place.

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September 2009