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28
Jan
10

Live Nude Shoes

Following the Spring 2010 runways shows, Vogue reported, “The big story for summer is nudity — the vast majority of shows opened with nude, ice-cream colours, making cut and drapery the big style statements as opposed to eye-popping colours.” And, while flesh-toned shoes did make a showing for summer ’09 as well, they’re back.

Listed among the spring trends at Neiman Marcus: Nude shoes. They’re available on the high end (like these Louboutin cutout booties):

Christian Louboutin's Cutout Bootie

And in the mere mortal price range: “Pierre Hardy continues to design shoes for Gap, for summer 2010,” blogger Nitrolicious writes. “The shoes retails for $98 and will be available at select Gap stores on May 4th. I’m not too sure about the shoes at the moment, would need a better look in person before I decide if I want them or not. Your thoughts?”

Pierre Hardy for Gap

The sole comment thus far, from “Stylish”: “Love the nude cork wedges…perfect for summer with white dresses.”

Easy wedges not your style? Obsessed With Shoes notes Fendi’s summer collection 2010 sandals, which seem to wrap the foot, all Grecian-like, in swaths of pantyhose. “They are simple sandals covered with lightweight mesh material that wraps around the ankle, with lots of extra material for an extra bulky bow,” the blogger writes. “The interesting aspect of the shoe, is the transparent platform, of course. It gives the shoe a futuristic, utilitarian look.

Fendi sandals

“Nude shoes make your legs look miles long. We love it!” enthuses About.com in a tutorial on how to wear the color. Need more inspiration? Style blog What She Wears suggests, “If you’re after a sharp, sophisticated look, the best fit shoe wise would be nude shoes. To be specific; patent, peep toe shoes in a nude colour (also referred to as camel or beige).”

Yep, nude is the new black. And why not? Black, by the time warm weather rolls around, is the absolute last thing anyone wants to wear. And white shoes: Let’s face it, unless you’re 10 years old and attending an Easter egg hunt, or a member of The Strokes, white shoes are pretty ridiculous. Nude, taupe, cream, egg shell, ecru and beige are not just for kitchen appliances anymore: Turns out those skin-colored neutrals make for go-with-everything footwear.

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20
Jan
10

Cute Clarks (no joke!)

I have to admit, I felt a little sheepish leaving the shoe store with a pair of Indigo by Clarks Sylvie heels. After all, Clarks have always been for sensible English women of a certain age; these were meant to be worn with my new silk dress. On New Year’s Eve.

Sylvie by Clarks

Apparently I’m not alone in my new found appreciation of the staple comfort shoe brand, though. “When did Clarks get so cute?” asks Shoeblog. Yep, it’s true: The brand’s Indigo line is suddenly packed with not just sensible but whimsical/fun/cute/crush-worthy/oh-my-god-am-I-old-or-are-these-actually-hip pumps and booties.

Rae booties by Clarks

On a Yelp thread about San Francisco shoe stores, one commenter wrote, “I used to date a podiatrist and he told me that Clarks makes some of the best shoes. They actually have really cute shoes now as well.”

Flash by Clarks

Söfft is another company that’s ramped up the style aspect of its comfort shoes. High but walkable wedges, patent leathers, stacked wooden heels, metallics and straps number among the options.

Cally by Sofft

One reviewer on review site Tumblr wrote, “These surprised me the most because I tend to get the mental image of orthopedic shoes when I think of this Söfft, but this style is really cute.”

Redondo by Sofft

Still not sure? Even Project Runway’s Tim Gunn gives Sofft the thumbs up, according to a video posted by the shoe manufacturer. “Angela has wide feet and had given up on finding cute and stylish shoes for her hard-to-fit feet. That is until Tim Gunn and Gretta Monahan open her eyes to the world of Söfft Shoes,” reads the intro text.

All of this, of course, beg the question, What other formerly-frumpy brands have suddenly gone cute?

12
Jan
10

Women + Shoes = True Love

The blog Shoewawa writes, “According to a recent study, women are more likely to remember the first shoes they purchased then the name of the first person they kissed.”

Image from justsayplease.co.uk

The study, published in The Daily Mail, caused a ripple around both the science and shopping blogospheres. Possibly the first time that’s ever happened.

“Ninety-two percent of women could remember the first pair of shoes they bought, whilst only 2 in three could remember the name of the first person they shared a smooch with,” Shoewawa posts. “Ninety-six percent of those surveyed regretted throwing out a pair of much loved shoes, whilst only 15% of those regretted dumping a boyfriend.”

BlogCatalog added these numbers: “Statistics show that about one in two women own more than 20 pairs of shoes – with 8% having more than 100 pairs in their wardrobes. One in every 5 women admits spending a whooping $1,000 on shoes each year.”

Chevy Traverse "Raining Shoes" ad

In 2008, The Daily Mail estimated that “Shoe-mad women will splash out more than £33,000 on footwear over a lifetime, according to new figures.

“Each year, women treat themselves to eight pairs of new shoes, and with each pair costing an average of £65.88, that adds up to more than £527 every year – or £33,204 over a lifetime.” (That’s $852 U.S. dollars annually; $53,333 spent in a lifetime. Hey, it costs roughly a quarter million to raise a child, and shoes won’t tell you they hate you and wish they’d never been born. Just sayin.)

But enough about what we spend; back to why we spend it. “Experts say women’s fondness for fabulous footwear comes from positive feelings associated with purchasing new footsie covers. Women also remember the special occasion for which the shoes were purchased and anchor the shoes to the experience,” says Rev. Roy’s Blog. The good Reverend adds, “Do women love shoes more than men, probbably not.”

Image from blog.al.com

But women do love shoes more than many things. A 2008 blog discussion posed the question, “Why do women love shoes? Ladies, help us guys understand. What is this phenomenon all about.” Responses included, “They’re fun to wear, they make our legs look great, they compliment our style, their expensive and fun to buy” and “I love buying shoes more than buying jewelry.”

But there were also some non-shoe-lovers: “I don’t like shoes. I prefer motorcycles” and “90% of the time I wear the same pair of flat black shoes that I bought at WalMart for something like $13 a few years ago (to replace a similar pair that wore out).”

Image from labloggergal.com

To the biker I would answer Harley Davidson makes some very cute boots. To the Wal-Mart shopper I would suggest, just once, a trip to a non-big box shoe aisle. That’s just me, though it seems I’m not alone in both my personal love of shoes and my desire to share the obsession.

Six months ago, before the More-women-remember-their-first-shoes-than-first-kiss study emerged, Associated Content writer Madeleine Francis listed “The Top Ten Reasons Why Women Love Shoes so Much.”

It’s a good list, a practical list. Variety, style and durability number among the reasons. But my favorite reason is number 10: Friendship. “If diamonds are a girl’s best friend than shoes are a woman’s best friend,” Francis states. “Shoes will always be there for her. They will never shun her or treat her wrong. They will never try to steal her boyfriend or call her fat. They will never let her down. The bottom line is a women needs as many of these friends as she can get.”

23
Dec
09

Clear & Present: See-Through for Spring

“I can see “clearly” now: Prada’s 2010 spring summer show features clear plastic heels, bags and shades,” writes social diarist The Daily Truffle. “This post is … about the re- occurring theme of plastic, vinyl, and crystal accessories. What caught my attention about the accessories of this collection, was the repetition and cohesiveness of the designs. The shoes, sunglasses, and purses all fit together beautifully.”

Prada, for Spring 2010

As The Daily Truffle points out, Prada is not to the only designer who brought clear plastic accessories to the Spring 2010 runway shows. Chanel and Michael Kors followed suit, though these are a far cry from the the inexpensive plastic “jelly” sandals that dominated beaches in the 80s (and experiences a resurgence a few years ago).

Michael Kors

“Michael Kors designed a sleek and architectural shoe collection for his Spring/Summer 2010 collection,” writes blogger Obsessed with Shoes. “They had a very polished and clean look in basic colors like black or white. Clear plastic was a key component in this collection, and while that can sometimes cheapen a look, that wasn’t the case for Michael Kors.”

Prada collection, images from InStyle.com

In the January issue of W Magazine, Prada’s clear (clearly expensive, that is) heels make a showing in the extensive Spring Fashion spread.

Christian Louboutin's Engin spikes

Even Christian Louboutin jumped on the bandwagon with a pair of peep-toe pumps. The soles are the ubiquitous Louboutin red; the toes are clear plastic with silver cone studs. “Don’t be jealous about the Christian Louboutin men’s spring/summer 2010 collection, the women’s collection is just as good if not better,” enthuses blogger Nitrolicious. (Though one commenter noted, “I just don’t dig the clear plastic on shoes; is it ever flattering? Sorry, not these Loubs for this kid.”)

15
Dec
09

Famous Feet

Thanks to the New York Post, we all now know that “Lindsay Lohan wannabes now can dress just like her. The actress is selling off second-hand clothes on her family’s Web site, Lohanhouse.com. Up for grabs are a pair of Stella McCartney black leather boots and jackets, jeans, hats and handbags, starting at $25.” (I tried clicking the “Authentic Shop” button but nothing happened. Sigh.)

Lohan-like black boots from Stella McCartney

Less weird, more star studded: Clothes Off Our Back is a 501c3 foundation that hosts charity auctions of celebrity attire. Through Feb. 26 you can bid on a pair of Ruthie Davis shoes that Beyonce wore to fashion week’s “Fashion Rocks” red carpet event, and autographed. Proceeds benefit Feeding America, The Art of Elysium, Hope North and H.E.L.P. Malawi.

Beyonce's red carpet look

Web site Who What Wear talks about the recent 7th on Sale — “Touted as the ‘world’s biggest sample sale’ the event was started in 1990 by the CFDA and Vogue to raise money for services and housing for people living with HIV and AIDS — which includes designer goods and celeb-worn items like “the four-inch Calvin Klein heels Madonna wore to the Vanity Fair Party.” Can’t make it to the 7th on Sale gala? Shop the ebay’s Fashion Vault. (Currently the site is readying for the next designer sale, but interested shoppers can sign up for alerts.)

Calvin Klein heels, worn by Madonna to the opening of "RocknRolla"

Across the pond, The Daily Mail reported today that “Stars from Robbie Williams to Boy George have contributed footwear to be sold from the boots of 40 smart cars at Covent Garden in central London. All money raised by the sale, hosted by auction house Christie’s, will go to the HIV and Aids awareness charity, the Terrence Higgins Trust.” Shoes for sale include “a pair of Dr Marten’s boots signed by the cast of EastEnders.”

Botega Veneta t-straps

Charity auctions are great, but if you just want to feel famous and aren’t invited to a fundraiser gala, Celebrity Owned on ebay sells shoes, accessories and apparel previously owned by “Hollywood stars, designers & producers.” Newly arrived: a pair of red and purple Bottega Veneta t-strap heels, size 38.

04
Dec
09

Handsome Devil: Morrissey & Stella McCartney design shoes

Furthering the argument that leather-free footwear can be fashion forward, two of the planets most stylish vegans are teaming up to produce an animal-free line of shoes.

Stella McCartney's Koiec flats for Adidas

The U.K.’s Spinner Music broke the news: “Morrissey is to design a range of leather-free shoes with designer Stella McCartney. The designer, the daughter of Sir Paul, said the designs are in the early stages but she hoped they would be in stores next year, the Daily Mail reported. ‘I’m working with Morrissey on a line of leather-free shoes which I’m really excited about,’ Stella McCartney was quoted by the paper.’We are still in the early stages, but the shoes could be launched next year.'” (Also on the horizon: “McCartney is also reportedly set to work with fellow vegetarian Leona Lewis on a new clothing range.”)

New York Magazine’s The Cut blog had this to say: “Finally, the void left by Natalie Portman shall be filled!”

Stella McCartney vegan sneakers for Adidas

Joke all you like; McCartney can deliver. Back in 2004 Discovery Company Treehugger wrote, “High fashion isn’t usually associated with sustainability–at best it does a little greenwashing here and there. But in the case of Stella McCartney, high fashion makes an exception. Miss thing inherited more than just rock royalty genes from Daddy, she inherited Mom’s good-hearted love for animals. All of her clothes are animal-free, including the shoes, which, amazingly, even forego PVC-based plastics in favor of materials derived from plants.”

McCartney’s current footwear lines include an Adidas laceup with a textile upper and synthetic outsole, and a faux-suede perforated bootie to which blogger The Shoe Goddess gave serious props. “While I may think that everyone needs a pair of suede booties for their wardrobe, Stella McCartney has given a beautiful alternative with her faux-suede gray perforated booties,” she writes. “These booties are of course even more interesting and unique because they have the perforations throughout the shoes. The holes are absolutely stunning and turn the shoe into a canvas and creating a piece of artwork on the shoe itself.”

Stella McCartney perforated bootie

So what will Morrissey bring to the project? The former Smiths singer manages to keep his own shoes out of his publicity shots for the most part, but his immaculately tailored suits are epic.

Can you spot Morrissey's footwear?

Racked.com muses, “While the collection is probably going to be more fun that Natalie Portman’s, it has posed a major dilemma for us. What’s the best Smiths reference to make in this situation? Grazia went with ‘Shoplifters of the world uniting…’ Fashionista wrote, ‘We guess all those pleases paid off and he’ll be getting what he wants this time.'”

27
Nov
09

DIY: Design It Yourself

Here’s a little something for all the Do It Yourselfers out there: Design Your Own Shoes sites. Thanks to About.com blogger Desiree Stimpert, we’ve all been introduced to Shoes of Prey, an online shops that boasts it “creates beautiful bespoke women’s shoes, designed by you.”

My first design attempt at Shoes Of Prey

Here’s how it works, according to the company: “You choose the heel, toe, fabric, color and embellishments. Our expert craftsmen then make your shoes to measure, swaddle them in a soft dust bag and crisp new box, and ship them straight to your waiting feet.”

Reports Stimpert, “I had a lot of fun playing with the design tool, and was surprised at how many combinations were possible. But the biggest — and most pleasant — surprise is the price: most shoes cost about …$215 U.S. dollars, which is an incredible bargain for bespoke shoes.”

While Keds and Converse have been allowing shoppers to customize their kicks with color, print and style choices, self-directed dress shoes and heels have been the sole property of footwear designers. That’s changing.

One style possibility at Dream Heels

According to Luxist, Canadian company Dream Heels is offering novice designers/shoe lovers a chance to custom-create styles. “The designs are shown on the Dream Heels Web site and can be voted on. Each month a winning design is chosen. The creator receives $250 and a $250 Dream Heels gift certificate,” explains Luxist.

So far, all of the Dream Heels styles are the same — a pump — but the designs vary wildly from a rainbow stripe to a peacock print. Currently, 25 designs are in contention.

Finally, Glamour Magazine’s Slave to Fashion blog recently posted that “Online shoe retailer Zappos.com has teamed up with Steve Madden for Sole Search, a design competition that gives aspiring Louboutins a chance to share their towering vision with the world.” Aspiring designers can create a design from scratch or by using a downloadable Steve Madden template.

The Lauper, a popular design in Steve Madden's Sole Search competition

So far over 1800 entries have been submitted and there’s still another month of the competition. Check out the competition, review designs (the Lauper got raves like “These boots r amazing & so cool. I love them! I would love to have a pair!” — in fact, most reviews seem to be supportive) and submit your own ideas.

The grand prize: Steve Madden himself will select one of the three first prize winners’ designs (determined by votes on the Zappos site) to be produced and sold online at Zappos.com/Steve-Madden. There’s also a $500 Zappos.com gift card and a $500 Steve Madden gift card. Nice.




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