Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ferragamos for the summer!

Summer has hit Philly hard, like a ton of hot humid bricks. It's generally hard to keep your composure in a 90 degree sweltering heat: coifs crumble, shirts crumple, tops stain, the brow sparkles with sweat. However, one thing, if carefully chosen, will never betray you and will still make you feel like a million bucks: a gorgeous pair of shoes. Such as these fabulous linen Ferragamo wedges, simply purrrrrfect for the summer:I'm not one to walk in high heels anymore, but even I, lover of comfort as I am, admit that wedges offer enough support. These are about 3" high (but the platform will absorb some of the shock), and they are simply yummy. Not only will they keep you happy, but they'll also bring a smile on everybody else's face. Now, that's what I call a shoe!

Clergerie knock-offs?

Remember these sandals?
That's right, they're the Robert Clergerie suede slides "Ravhi," here pictured in "gold" (well, it's more like a mustard color), which I had deemed fit for the emancipated princess in you. They retailed for over $360 on Zappos (I got them for just a little bit over $70).

Well, here's a much cheaper knock-off, on sale at Anthropologie:
It only comes in brown, at least on their site (the original came only in black, orange, and gold), and the sole is man-made as opposed to leather, but the resemblance is uncanny, isn't it? At about $70 on sale (down from $98), they're about as much as I paid for the original, but on the other hand they might just solve my lack of a nice brown sandal for this summer. Mmmmm.... tempting.....

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Am I OCD? Wait, don't answer that.

So, today, rushed by the imminent specter of the moving-out day (by "imminent" read "July"), but mostly because my modest closet in our rental seemed to be bursting at the seams with shoes, and clothes, but mostly shoes, I decided to take out my entire collection, sans running shoes, dog park shoes, garden shoes, and any sort of winter shoes and boots, and re-arrange it so that it will fit into my three canvas shoe-organizers. (The rest of the shoes are cramped on the floor of the closet, underneath the organizers.) The organizers themselves only have 10 spaces each for shoes, which means that all this time I had to fit these 47 pair, pictured above, into 30 slots. As a result, the poor organizers are bursting at the seams, as they are forced to do double duty to accommodate my ever-expanding collection.

After some contemplation and soul searching, I managed to eliminate 6 pairs on account of color redundancy, utility, heel size, etc. I have already found a good home for most of them (love girlfriends with the same shoe size!).

All I can say, I can't wait until we move into our new home where I will have a real walk-in closet with plenty (PLENTY!) of built-in shelves especially for shoes. I already counted them, looks like enough...for now...

If you care to know what you're looking at, though the picture, obviously, doesn't do them justice, here is the breakdown:

Front row, left to right: Marc Jacobs orange quilted flats, Taryn Rose 2" burgundy patent mules, Taryn Rose pink nappa and suede 2" wedge loafers, Blay blue cracked metallic T-strap flats, Arche burgundy nubuck skimmers, Gabor perforated pink suede Mary-Jane, Coach black patent loafers, Bandolino pink ballet flats, Icon multicolor skimmers

(As you may have guessed one pink pair had to go, and it was the Bandolinos.)

Second row up: Anne Klein 2" black career pumps, Taryn Rose 3" black and blue T-straps, Casadei tweed and patent kitten heels, Ferragamo brown croc patern patent flats, Clergerie 2.5" suede pumps, Clergerie 2 3/4" brown suede loafers, Delman lime suede and patent ballet flats, Miu Miu tobacco suede with floral vamp flats, Dries van Noten grey and blue distressed leather 3 3/4" Mary Janes, Kenneth Cole orange with black flower pattern leather flats.

(The Kenneth Cole took a beating last year during a trip abroad, as I waked in them basically every day, so they're about to get kicked out. Not yet, though, I'm still fond of them.)

Third row up: Clergerie green sandals, Clergerie gold slides, Casadei white+red patent 2 1/4" slides, Born "froth" thong, Aquatalia aqua slides, Franco Sarto green thongs, Donald Pliner animal print haircalf loafers, Espace red Mary Janes, Aerosoles 3.5" lime leather wedges.

(The wedges are precariously positioned here. In fact, they'll probably go. No, definitely.)

Fourth row up: Donald Pliner black mesh slides, Espace white and bronze strappy leather flat sandals, Espace red suede 2 1/2" wedge sandals, Kenneth Cole gold and bone thong, Kate Spade rainbow canvas Mary Jane, Born brown+cream Mary Janes, Cole Haan G-series velvet and metallic skimmer, Materia Prima red bandana slides with a 2 1/2" semi-wedge heel, Aerosoles black suede flat mules.

(The Aerosole mules will most definitely go: they're poorly constructed and the insole keeps bunching up at the toe. Most aggravating.)

Fifth, almost invisible row up: Bandolino navy 2 1/2" slingbacks, Etienne Aigner red 2 1/2" slides, Mila Paoli black kitten heel slides, Joseph Seibel red Mary Jane with blue floral accent, Aerosoles metallic mauve sneakers, Icon "Carcel Street" print velcro sneakers, Kowalsky distressed print leather sneakers, Sperry Top-Siders blue+white nubuck mule, Sperry Top-Siders lime green nubuck loafer.

(Of these, I'll part with at least the first three, if not four...the rest are practical shoes for busy or rainy days.)

Most of these shoes have a little story, are attached to some feelings, memories, images... Some, the newer ones, don't (like the Marc Jacobs pair, which I haven't had the pleasure to wear outside yet).

A little OCD exercise like this also had the merit of letting me see what I have, what is redundant and should be recycled, and what I'm missing--for example, I am shocked to discover I don't have a good pair of brown sandals. For shame. It also lets me get all excited at the prospect of filling this unacceptable hole in my shoe wardrobe!

Monday, May 29, 2006

In Her Shoes

I finally, FINALLY, got around to seeing this movie, and what can I say--it's an excellent reminder that, really, it's not about the shoes (gasp!).

Apart from the fact that it's filmed in my beloved Philadelphia, which alone would have had merit for me, with the added bonus of featuring gorgeous shoes (ah! I want Rose's shoe closet so bad!), the movie is just beautiful. Hope that you you didn't wait like me and have seen it already. You know what I'm talking about.

Shoes for Elizabeth Bennett

What do you know:

Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you?

You're Elizabeth Bennett of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen!
Take this quiz!

Which of course, got me thinking, what kind of shoe would I wear in that case? Perhaps something sensible yet sophisticated, delicate and lady-like:
(Image from Linda O'Keeffe's Shoes: A celebration of pumps, sandals, slippers & more.)

Sunday, May 28, 2006

El Naturalista

As a relentless pursuer of shoes that attain the Holy Grail of being both comfortable and stylish, I'm always on the prowl. It is as a result of such an ardent, passionate hunt that I came across this brand:
El Naturalista, a Spanish company (and I've always felt good about Spanish shoes--funky, unique style with a mind to comfort), offers such gems:
which I think are too adorable. And that's not all: they're also environmentally conscious. Quoth their Zappos page:
El Naturalista shoes are made with nature in mind using vegetable tanned leathers, recycled, and natural rubber outsoles that tell a story that has inspired our designers work from different parts of the world.
Not only that, but every shoe comes with a detailed description of the materials used and the manufacture process, plus--and that's even better!--with a whole story about the inspiration from the shoe, usually coming from a journey to some exotic country. The cute green-and-yellow Mary-Jane on top, for example? It's called Nokue and it's inspired by a trip to Benin. A whole narrative follow involving amulets, princesses of the tribe, a sailor uncle, and much more. Intriguing, n'est ce pas? I'm a sucker for good stories, as well as for comfort and uniqueness, so I know I have to try these shoes some time. Unfortunately, I'm also a sucker for sales, and it looks like I'm going to have to wait for that a little more...

Friday, May 26, 2006

New obsession: Thierry Rabotin

I was with a friend in one of the most important shoe stores in the Philadelphia area, Benjamin Lovell Shoes. This store prides itself on placing the emphasis on comfort as well as style. Their brands aren't cheap, and they're also very selective with the styles they carry (no stilettos there!): Donald J. Pliner, Beautifeel, Naot, Ara, Mephisto, Arche, Born, Dansko, Merrell, Mephisto, Paul Green, Michael Kors, Tsubo, Camper, Keen--you get the point.

My friend was enamored with a Naot brown loafer that she simply had to have. I wasn't particularly enamored with said shoe, too plain for me, as was most of their Naot collection. As an aside, you'd think with a store like this nearby and my passion for stylish and comfortable shoes, I'd practically live there. Not so. Their buyers seem to favor a more Teutonic approach to style--less frilly, more on the practical and classical side, that is, which would be fine, if they had good sales, which they don't often have (not of the kind Zappos has spoiled us with, anyway). Anyway...still a great browsing experience, overall.

While my friend was trying on the shoe, I looked for the Taryn Rose collection I knew they had, and couldn't find any, so I asked a salesman.

"Do you still carry Taryn Rose shoes?" I asked.
"Oh, no, we stopped carrying that line. We found that she's moved to making more fashion-type shoes, not really the kind of shoes we carry here," said the blond, bespectacled young man behind the counter.
"That's too bad!" I said sincerely.
"Well, we do carry instead a whole bunch of Thierry Rabotin," he said helpfully. "He used to be a designer for Taryn Rose," he added hastily, in response to the somewhat confused look on my face. "He makes more of the type of shoes we usually carry in our store."

I was going to make a point about their lack of Icon shoes (they used to have quite a few), but was forced to cut the conversation short as we were on a tight schedule (what with my friend having to catch a plan and all), but of course, that meant I had to learn more about this Thierry Rabotin. From his website, one can find out that he also worked for Robert Clergerie (another one of my favorite brands...hmmmm, this is looking good!) and that his hand-made shoes promise "the incredibile sensation ... of walking barefoot." Mmmm, better and better!

Now, the only thing I had to really worry about was price. That turns out to be a problem. Zappos does not carry this brand (sniff-sniff!), nor does, and the only pair of Thierry Rabotin available on Ebay as of 50 minutes ago is used and looks sort of blah.

How do his shoes look? Let's see. These red sandals are kind of cool and they are also 20% off (still almost $300, not very encouraging!)
These black suede slides look stylish and comfortable too, for just a little under $240:
I wouldn't be ashamed wearing this pump, either ($345):
Or this Mary-Jane inspired one, for $375:

I also fancy this leopard-print peep-toe ($375):
I mean, if you have to wear an elegant pump, you can at least be comfortable, right?
These Mary-Jane mules are also rather attractive ($225):
Now, if I could only find these on a proper sale, somewhere...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Marc Jacobs on sale!

Ok, I'm officially a Marc Jacobs footwear junkie (btw, my MJ orange velvet flats arrived today and they are simply spectacular, plus incredibly comfortable, indeed). At any rate, if you're wearing a size 40 (I find that's more like a 9 than a 10 in MJ), you can't pass up these blue suede pumps (2 5/8" heel??? oh well)--70% off at Nordstrom:


I noticed that a large amount of referrals to my site came today from It turns out I'm one of the featured blogs--and they even used part of my masthead for the "Adorable and Affordable" banner! Took me a while to figure it out, since I didn't expect yours truly to be featured on such an extravagant spot of website real-estate (I expected, at most, more of a marginal link somewhere way, way, way down). At any rate, thanks, guys!

So I believe it's time to celebrate in time with something cute and practical for the summer. Today, let me recommend:
That's right--Born Lisbon thongs, of all things! I got them in the middle of the winter, for a lucky $39.95, but they're now about $61. Still, I think you should give them a try.

As an aside: I am one of those people who stayed away from thong footwear for the longest time (specifically, until last year), because I was dead sure it would cause chafing and rubbing and pain and general horror between my toes. I started off gently with a Kenneth Cole Coconut Grove gold leather thong, which looks approximately like this (except, you know, in gold):
And what do you know! They were comfortable and cute--and perfect for that hot steambath that passes for summer in Philly, when you want to cover as little of you as possible.

I gently expanded my thong brood with this rather unique green Franco Sarto Dey (on sale now for $39.95, if you're interested):
And finally got around to the above-pictured Borns. Now, Born is a tough brand to find cute, girlie styles in, but they've come up lately with a variety of shoes that are just as much a pleasure to look at as they are to walk in (I'm keeping my eye on their slide with detachable vamp flower, which comes with 5 interchangeable floral leather accents).

Should you be in need, however, of a cute, practical, feminine, and outrageously comfortable thong (that is NOT a flip-flop!) to saunter through those hot, lazy summer day, look no further than the Lisbon. Just don't try to run in them, and you'll be fine. They also come in a green+blue ("Celadon") and a brown+off-white ("Henna") combination. I own the "Froth" one, pictured.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A short break off the topic of shoes to discuss the gorgeousness that is Monica Bellucci

I love, LOVE the bitchy ladies at Go fug yourself--always a great, most entertaining read, my favorite Internet spot for a little fashion Schadenfreude. It's not hard to agree with the conclusions, either. However, I must immediately take issue with the opinions expressed in one of their latest editorial about Monica Bellucci. Now, it's not that the dress she was wearing wasn't worthy of damnation. It wasn't completely and horrifically fugtastic, in my opinion, but it certainly deserved some pointed criticism.

I must nevertheless utterly and vehemently disagree with the following opinion--and I'll do it here, since they've disabled comments on their site:
I've never quite gotten Monica Bellucci. I can recognize that she is a lovely woman, but she's not a traffic-stopping exotic stunner to me even though I've heard her referenced as such. Unlike with, say, Catherine Zeta-Jones, whose effortless glamour always captivates me, my gaze always drifts past Monica Bellucci without registering. It never stops on her -- she never grabs me and makes me stare because of the charisma or rare beauty she possesses. In fact, all I can ever summon up about her is that she is a brunette, and she is married to Vincent Cassel, who was funny in Elizabeth and extremely flexible in Ocean's Twelve.
Monica Bellucci is NOT a traffic-stopping exotic stunner??????????? What? And George Clooney is your garden variety run-of-the-mill character actor, I suppose, much plainer looking, say, than the ever-frowning Michael Keaton?

Exhibit A:
Um, say that again?

I would KILL to look like that, and so would you (don't deny it!).

I think this is due to the regrettable fact that Americans (sorry to make generalizations like that, but sometimes they're warranted) don't bother to watch or seek out ANYTHING that is not carefully mass-marketed to appeal to a comfortable majority of the US market. (Hence, Heather at GFY could reference only the Cassel movies that were marketed with some fanfare in the US.)

Monica Bellucci--excuse me, time for another photo: simply, one of the most extraordinarily beautiful women I've ever had the pleasure to ogle (as a straight woman, that's saying something!). And she has a real body with real curves, not the anorexic, fake, childish sillhouette that's so in favor in Hollywood these days. She did start off as a model, but quickly moved to a movie career (first major role: one of the brides of Dracula in Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula). She's fluent in Italian and French, and most of her major roles were in French movies that were not marketed in the US; if you saw them, you'd know she's a damn good actress, too.
I've seen and subsequentely recommend Malena (Italian), The Brotherhood of the Wolves (French; Vincent Cassel, her husband, is in that one, too); Irréversible (French, also with Cassel, and quite brutal); Agents Secrets (also with Cassel); Astérix & Obélix: Mission Cléopâtre (French, silly, but she's gorgeous). She had her less successful roles in English (The Matrix Reloaded, Tears of the Sun, The Brothers Grimm), and I guess more successful (as Mary Magdalene in Passion of the Christ). There are many other roles, and you don't have to believe me (yet) that she's a good actress, but one thing is certain:
The woman is absolutely stunning.
Hear that, Heather? Love ya, but I've got to fight you on this one. Because, look:
Love Catherine Zeta-Jones, too, but if I ever had to choose, I'd have to give the smoldering, ultra-sexy trophy to this one.


I have an inborn horror of jellies. I was horrified--horrified!--when Marc Jacobs came up with what seemed like a whole line of them (complete with a gladiator version!). What's the appeal of plasticky-rubbery-sticky substance rubbing against your feet, promoting sweat, blisters, and discomfort? Brrrr! I can't imagine an occasion for wearing ostentatiously plastic shoes other than transporting your sun-and-sea-drenched tanned self from the long chair to the thatched-roof bar on the beach and back. (Let's face it, it's not worth it putting any other shoe through the ordeal of sand+sun+seawater. Plus, you don't really have to wear them for long anyway).

So, a resounding no to jellies, for my part. Well, maybe with one exception, due mainly to the extraordinary sale price ($39.95): these Icon jelly slides, with leather insole and upper and "Girl in the rain" print:

Now, I wouldn't be ashamed ordering my Mai Tai in those (and an assorted swimsuit, of course)!

First pair of Marc Jacobs!

When you've ALWAYS wanted a pair of Marc Jacobs flats, and you LOVE orange, and velvet and patent are HOT this year for shoes, and there's just ONE pair of these left in your size, and they're as CUTE as ever, and the reviews say they're ULTRA-comfortable, and they're 65% OFF, how, I ask you, how can one resist?

A girl can only show restraint for so long, you know.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Is it wrong... associate a perfectly innocent bag:...with one of the freaks on Total Recall? (warning: graphic picture ahead!)

Monday, May 22, 2006

More Anthropologie obsessions.

The price may not always be right, but Anthropologie surely has some unique, colorful, youthful, and cute-as-a-button shoes on sale at the moment. I can't stop slobbering over these Maloles espadrilles, for example. Aren't they perfect for summer at the Riviera? Perhaps with a breezy long white eyelet skirt gently flapping in the breeze, while you dreamily lean against the strong shoulder of your handsome, sensitive companion who scopes the green waves of the ocean together with you? He might also remark how perfectly your espadrilles match the color of the sea. So what if he's gay? At least you haven't paid $135 (that's 50% off, still!) for nothing.

It's also maddening how well they match my Rafe tote, whose color scheme, coincidentally, is also described as "seawave":

More in my price range, however (about $65), seem to be these lovely rose thongs (all leather):
Tres cute, n'est ce pas? Or even these fabric and leather Mary-Janes, which also spell summer with a capital S:

Oh, and speaking of Rafe: these Bollywood-inspired gold-and-turquoise bejeweled leather thongs could make anyone feel like an Indian princess. They could even convince me to try on a sari for the first time in my life, and despite my deep conviction that such a garment would do nothing for me. Regardless, at $250, they're pretty much out of reach for now.

Ok, enough shoe goodness. It's enough to make one feel dizzy. Just a word of caution: not all Anthropologie is shoe gold. Case in point:

While the front of these linen pumps is interesting and unique enough, I just can't imagine for the life of me why one would shell $200 to have their feet look like hooves.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Stylehive Bag Contest

Something I should have done long ago but hey, I can be quite forgetful sometimes:Stylehive is offering a chance to win a Botkier Large Fan Hobo Botkier handbag (retails for $695) courtesy of The contest runs May 1 - 31, 2006 and you can find details on their blog. If you want the bag, I hope there's still time for you to give it a try!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Carnivale: The Halloween Costume Edition!

The Style Graduate asks this week a fun question: what runway look we would wear as a Halloween costume. This is a question that is both easy (so many choices!) and difficult (so many choices!).

Still, I feel that my task is a breeze thanks to this year's Dior couture collection, presented by the "funky little fashion troll" (as The Manolo dubbed him), John Galliano:
What I would go as? The High Priestess of Galliano Church. In truth, I died long ago and now I walk the earth to cast the Galliano curse onto whomever dares to look into my lifeless eyes. The cross is a decoy to lure in unsuspecting nuns and priests and rob them of their garments in order to slash them and drape them "artistically" around new converts.

If the host of the Halloween party is indeed the more free-spirited cutting edge person, I could even dress like this:
"Galliano fashion victim road kill." Not even the deflector mirror shades and the spiky cross could save me, and now I roam the earth, inconsolable and forever cold.

If however, my host would be easily scandalized with my lack of a visible undergarment, I could button up but keep the mirror motif in this Comme des Garçons outfit:
I am evidently inhabited by the unhappy, violent spirit of the Phantom of the Opera. I may look melancholy, but I have a short temper that manifests itself in my low tolerance for karaoke competitions. Before Simon Cowell, it was me--and I will not stop at snide remarks. No--I'll make that chandelier fall on your head before you can torture me with you squeals.

Oh, ok. Maybe none of those looks is really me. Really. However, this Alexander McQueen creation--now, that I would wear at any Halloween party:
Why? Isn't it obvious? I am sort of an academic type, so those owl feathers sprouting out of my skull would be subtly indicative of my bookish, utterly geeky nature, right? Plus the jacket is rather cute, the skirt seems flattering, and I bet I could rawk those granny boots.

Who would I be? The spirit of your English teacher coming to torment you about all those times you mocked her in classroom and refused to learn that it's recEIve and not recIEve, despite being told oh, about a thousand times. I carry on my head the plumes of wisdom and in my tweed-and-ruffle-clad heart, the seed of revenge. This time if you don't behave properly in the vicinity of the English language you will be flunked, double-flunked, and flunked again. Beware!

Casadei Velvet Bow

Velvet is very "in" this shoe season, but that's not the first reason you should like these Casadei velvet bow skimmers. You just know that the plush, rich velvet upper spells C-O-M-F-O-R-T. The bow adds a little flair and frivolity to an otherwise quite sophisticated shoe.

Still not convinced? Perhaps this will help: they're 68% off ($114, down from $352) on Zappos. Which is not bad at all for the quality. I generally find Casadei shoes to be very well constructed and overall quite comfortable (of course, I do stay away from their otherwise large stiletto collection!).

Friday, May 19, 2006

Anniversary Equation

What do you get when you add up:

- husband's birthday--big 4-0!
- anniversary--4 years (whoa!) (and yes, we did get married on his b-day)
- elegant French brasserie downtown Philadelphia
- 1/2 mile walk to said brasserie (and back!)
- outside seating
- breezy evening (not really suitable for sandals)
- happy bag to coordinate with
- dress in earthy tones?

Why, I don't know what yours added up to , but my result was this tobacco suede Miu Miu skimmer, with orange and green floral vamp:
The dinner was delicious--I had steak and he had chicken, for a change. Except he ended up eating the whole chicken AND 1/2 my steak. For appetizers we shared a sublime fricassee of mussels, and for desserts, we also shared a strawberry-rhubarb compote with creme fraiche icecream.

The best part of outside seating is that we could watch the shoes of the passers-by and make snide comments about them. He deplored the fashion horror that he proclaimed bicycle-toe shoes to be; I deplored the general ugliness of the "comfortable" shoes and the obvious painfulness of some of the towering heels I saw hobbling our way.

You just can't fake a genuine bond over quality footwear.

Oh, and in case you wonder, he was wearing Edward Green shoes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Crush du jour: Anthropologie

Occasionally, Anthropologie has astonishing shoes- unfortunately at less astonishing prices. There's reason to rejoice right now, however, as they run a sale and some of their online choices are pretty delectable. Like these purple suede Lulu Guinness wedges.

So rich! So plush! So yum!

I need to go eat a bar of Cadbury's like, right now.

I'm also quite fond of these Kashmir gold paisley-print wedges. Gold paisley print leather! Say no more. I'm a sucker for footwear-expressed opulence.

Anthropologie's flagship store is in Philly, smack-dab in the middle of the city, on Rittenhouse Square. I believe a small trip is in order. Perhaps not to buy (I'll try not to fall off the wagon) but at least to touch and luxuriate....

The Green Apple Fairy's Shoes

The Green Apple Fairy was exhausted. She had run all night through the dewy meadows, sprinkling fairy dust on the apple trees, and throwing magic Vitamin C dreams at sleeping fair maidens, which usually made them wake up with rosy cheeks, healthy appetite and boundless energy for the shopping trips of the day.

But now the Green Apple Fairy's dainty little feet were achy. She couldn't help but notice that her trusted fairy pumps had lost their brightness and looked somewhat pathcy and ratty in places. I guess griffon skin doesn't take well to damp meadows, she mused, examining the raggedy heels. Plus it was getting a wee bit too warm for pumps now. It was time for a new pair of sandals.

So she called the shoemaker for the fairies, Mr. Hugglewelt, who was pretty busy with a backorder of elf slippers, but who was kind enough to listen to her request. Oh, he said, I have just the perfect thing for you. Just a marvel. Come see me in two days.

The Green Apple Fairy could barely wait, so two days after, early in the morning, she knocked cheerily at Mr. Hugglewelt's door.

"Ah, come in, come in!" he said. "Look!"

And he showed her the most perfect sandals she could ever imagine. The luscious green leather upper (a water dragon leather, Mr. Hugglewelt revealed) was woven simply but irresistably into shiny perfection. The dainty strap was just enough to keep the shoes on her feet during her nocturnal flights. And the gold heel, not too high and not too low, gracefully reflected the image behind it to the tiniest detail.

"I figured," the shoemaker said with a wink, "that this way you can keep an eye on whover might sneak up behind you."

"Oh yeah," she thought. "Those pixie fights can sometimes become dangerous. I need all the help I can get!"

She held them in her hand. They were light as a feather and the leather was soft, luscious, and the most beautiful apple green shade she could ever wish on the fruit of her beloved trees.

"Thank you," she said softly. "They're perfect!"

Robert Clergerie has a knock-off version of the Green Apple Fairy shoes. Get them while I don't!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Craft envy

Don't you sometimes have a blogger you wish you could emulate? Like, you wish you had her talent, for example? Or her life? Or some other skill that she in fact dedicates her life/blog/evening commute to?

I have a long list of bloggers I admire, but in the fashion world I think few people turn me greener with envy than Erin at A dress a day. Why?

First of all, the woman can write, 'kay? Check out her Secret Lives of Dresses series, which I know she'll turn into a book some day, once I get my ass in gear and come up with the requisite counterpart series, Secret Lives of Shoes. Or something.

Second, but most importantly, I am absolutely envious of her nonchalance in talking about the objects of her affection (dresses). You see, Erin makes dresses. To judge by her blog, she produces at least a dress a week. She comments on patterns and says, hey, I think I'm going to do this in green/checker/stardust, only a little bit shorter/longer/puffier, with a pocket/flower/gizmo just above the left side/thigh/elbow. She picks materials and breezily mentions that hey, this is going to be this dress, or that dress, and I'm going to get a-sowing this weekend. Her quest for beauty is not restricted to lusting, admiring, browsing, or even purchasing: no, she MAKES that which she loves.

You can begin to understand now, right, that for someone like me, who loves shoes as much as Erin loves dresses, this can begin to get a little frustrating. Because I NEVER have the option of MAKING my own shoes.

Not that I wasn't curious about it. But you know, and I know, that unless I change my career plans drastically, shoe-making is simply not an option. One doesn't simply take shoe-making as a hobby; a sewing machine, patterns, and scissors will simply not suffice.

Is this why shoes are such objects of lust, above all others, for women (yes, more than dresses)? (See the related Coutorture poll about fashion fetishes: 67% of respondents so far answered "shoes"!).

No matter what, I do fantasize sometimes I had Erin's relative freedom in custom-making the objects of my desire. Ah, one can dream, can't one? I'd have a resplendent line-up of pretty, colorful, supremely comfortable and durable shoes that could brighten just about every day of the week.

I'll go dream about that some more...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Carnivale: The Bargain Edition!

This week the fabulous Bargain Queen asks us, quite logically, what our best fashion bargain was. What a wonderful opportunity for bragging! Of course, this is a rather redundant topic for this blog, which was created from the very beginning in order to promote stylish and comfortable footwear at BARGAIN prices.

Good quality bargains are sweeter, juicier, and more enjoyable than the items I paid full price for--and for which there's the ever so slight tinge of bitterness.

Like many other respondents to the carnivale, I've become convinced that it's practically absurd to pay full price for anything in our economy (well, unless you really, really, REALLY can't live without it NOW). And so, I've become an expert at browsing sales. I've posted most of my shoe finds here, so I'm just going to revisit some of them briefly, before I move on to some other bargains.

The biggest discount ever I got, and by definition the one I'm the proudest of, has got to be for this pair of Casadei slides. List price: 463.95. What I paid: $33.95. That's, um, what, 94% or something? Not bad!

Moving on: these Robert Clergerie loafers were listed for $428.95, but yours truly got them for $39.95. On the subject of Clergerie: I got these wonderful slides 77% off, and also these other equally wonderful sandals (in green) 85% off. He-he! :)

Finally, these kick-ass patent leather Espace boots (which I got in teal) retailed for $353.95. I paid: $47.95.

Bag-wise, I've had some good bargains, too. This Treesje gold leather hobo, which retails for $300 or so, was mine for $89 (my version has more colorful details and hence is prettier than the one in that picture :)). And then there's a Rafe shoulder bag (link is to an Ebay auction), large enough to tote my tiny laptop in, in a chevron pattern with blue and green ("seawave") leather piping and pockets--a beautiful piece, which I got 70% at Nordstrom ($118, down from $395).

I've also gotten some great clothing bargains in my time. Whereas these days I rummage through the sales racks at Banana Republic (I find the occasional beautiful pink top with a satin waist tie for $14, down from $78, or the flattering wrap dress for $33, down from $198 or so)--my all time favorite boutique to shop was the now defunct Inguz on 20th and Walnut (link is to a Citysearch review of the shop, which has not been taken down yet). I got some fabulous skirts and tops there, really unique pieces you won't see anywhere else, at equally fabulous prices. I sobbed when they went out of business--Anne, who ran the shop at the time, claimed the location was bad, and she couldn't survive there. It wasn't for my lack of trying, I tell you that! I was such a good customer she gave me a gorgeous green dragonfly brooch as a parting gift. Oh, and a complete knitting kit (she wanted to learn but changed her mind. I haven't made much progress either, but one day, one day...).

Another boutique sprouted in its place--Maria Baros, but I couldn't really bring myself to shop there. Yet. But still--Philadelphia does need more independent boutiques like that, so I guess one day I'll get over my grief for the demise of Inguz and start supporting local boutiques again.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Shoes for the SuperWoman

You might have noticed that blogging has been somewhat light chez Scarpediem of late. That's not because I have forsaken shoes--God forbid!--but because, perhaps, the only inspiration I've had of late has been dirty, heavy Timberland or other types of equally unattractive construction boots, adorning the feet of sweaty, tan, and gruff construction guys at Scarpediem and hubby's new place. Predicted date of occupancy: some time in July. Not sure when, since we're entirely dependent on a team made of beefy, football- and Timberland-loving men on the contractor's side, and a thin, flamboyantly gay designer with a high-pitched voice, really tight jeans and Prada sport shoes on the other side.

[As an aside, remember that gay character, Anthony, who helps Charlotte with her first wedding and remains a good buddy throughout the movie? Remember when they keep bringing her wedding gowns she doesn't like and she defers to him to verbally abuse the shop attendants and get her what he wants, style-wise? That's kinda how I feel sometimes about our designer when dealing with our gruff contractor. But I digress.]

Anyhoo, to get away from the maddening construction project, we went to see MI: III this weekend, which was exactly what you'd expect of it (met my very low standards for mindless, action flicks, that is). The only bad part about it, in my opinion, was Tom Cruise, whom I've grown to loathe for reasons totally unrelated to his dedication to his craft.

On the way out, however, we saw this poster for an upcoming movie:

Those of you who know me will immediately sense the beef I have with this poster, which is not about either Uma or Luke (adore them both)--but about the boots she's sporting as SuperGirlfriend (I believe the plot is that she's some sort of superhero, and he doesn't know, and dumps her, and all sorts of hilarious trouble ensues).

I just wonder, why is it that female action figures have to wear 4 inch stilettos to save the world? Why?

I first wondered about this back when I was seeing the X-Files, in which agent Scully was invariably chasing aliens in 3-inch heels.

You'll see this trend cropping up steadily in movies or series centered around an action heroine. My favourite spy show, Alias, has poor Sydney Bristow run her heart out in perilous heels ever so often. Since I like Alias so much, I'll make a concession: I understand many of those perilous missions involve her transformation into a sex kitten that will temporarily dazzle and confuse the unsuspecting villain, until they realize it's a trap and she kicks their ass anyway, using the stilettos as a weapon.

Twisty will of course, explain to you that all the comic heroines and villainesses are clad for the sole purpose of catering to some disgusting male fantasy involving tons of leather, spandex, bustieres, buckles and studs, and, of course, debilitatingly high heels.

I wonder, are these women superheroes precisely because they can run at amazing speeds and do kung-fu DESPITE their crippling footwear? It is a distinct possibility.

However, let's be fair. Even SuperWomen need to wear adequate shoes on their missions to save the world, don't they?

That footwear, however, should look more like Uma Thurman's character in Kill Bill. It seems so much more practical to kill hundreds of hapless Japanese warriors in sensible yet super-cool sport shoes than, say, in the ridiculously high stiletto boots she wears in the poster that triggered my little tirade.

And yet, Beatrix Kiddo had the distinct advantage of going about her revenge business without really having to seduce anyone along the way.

If you saw a single episode of Alias, however, you should know that this is hardly the case in the rarefied world of ultra-espionage. Sooner or later, you're going to have to shake those goods, baby, and while you need to do it in style, you also need to keep in mind that you'll have to run for your life, karate-chop your way through approximately 150 300-pound bad guys, defuse a bomb, and make your escape while climbing up a ladder to a helicopter.

So I guess, for the purpose of seducing a bad guy at a high-class charity ball, for the purposes of stealing the secret password that would get one a step closer to solving the Rambaldi mystery, one could wear these gorgeous Casadei velvet pumps, which, at 2 1/2 inch high, will not be supremely comfortable, but will give one a bit of leeway, not to mention dazzle the villain; plus at 85% off, won't break the CIA budget.
Alternately, these metallic Sigerson Morrison might be a low-heeled, sexy alternative:
Here's also something sexy-funky with a strap that will keep the shoe securely on those butt-kicking feet: an Etro spectator-inspired pump, 1 1/2 inch heel:
Let me also throw in the mix my absolute favorite pumps of late, these gorgeous Christian Lacroix:
As for me, were I ever put in the position to make a run for my life in couture, I'd oscillate between these gold Clergerie pumps:
and perhaps, these bejeweled Zanotti beauties (can you tell I'm feeling the gold lately? give me a break, I'm still in super-heroine mode):
Now that is certainly a nice break from contemplating grimy, lumpy Timberlands for the next few weeks!