Spring has sprung, as have spectacular shoes
A woman carries her clothes, but it s a shoe that carries a woman. My sentiments entirely, Christian Louboutin. So why is it that when one thinks of fashion, clothes immediately spring to mind? However, what about the humble shoe?
A woman carries her clothes, but it's a shoe that carries a woman." My sentiments entirely, Christian Louboutin. So why is it that when one thinks of fashion, clothes immediately spring to mind? However, what about the humble shoe? Spring and Summer 2010 is when the shoe is going to step out, to make the leap from accessory to staple. How could it possibly not? A rare gem, a fashion fix you don't have to be size zero to wear. Need I go on?
Chanel set the tone in Paris and did we honestly expect any less? This is a design house whose founder, quipped: "A woman with good shoes is never ugly." Heeled clogs featured in force, in suede, leather, woven or embellished, brown, cream and red. This wear-how-you-like, charming shoe provided a quirky continuity to the very Little House On The Prairie styled show. It was set in a vast hay barn in the Grand Palais..yes, really! Donning the feet of Vogue's Best Dressed Woman of 2009, Alexa Chung, on the cover of March's Vogue, propelled the clog from it's 1970s, hippie, Dutch roots into the fashion stratosphere, securing them as a spring/summer must-have and giving them a Camden-market, geek-chic edge.
Louis Vuitton's creative director, Marc Jacobs, created his own fun, kitsch take on the clog. Think leather and mohair-esque tassles, buckles, heavy-fringing, laces, open-toes, studding, straps. The detailing is reminiscent of Vuitton's heralded Tribal Sandal from Spring/Summer 2009, created by Fabrizio Viti and costing a cool �1,100, worn by everyone from Chung to Victoria Beckham. Variety and versatility were on the menu, and with every model sporting an afro, Jacobs gave a refreshingly unconventional show: quaint and fabulously frivolous.
As the economy is looking up, heel height is going down. For the kitten-heel is back, and what a relief it is! Strappy, yet sturdy, examples were at the heart of Missoni's show. The heavy ankle strapping countered Chanel clog's simplicity, but both models proved equally as eye-catching.
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A perfect balance was struck up at Missoni; a delicate heel under a chunky sole showed originality and veered away from the classic "Stepford-Wives" dainty dimensions of a stereotypical kitten-heel. Oh no, Missoni's almost architectural heels were fierce and functional.
Dolce and Gabbana's show was teeming with black, with masculinity dominating the collection. Unsurprisingly, the footwear followed in this vein, with an abundance of bondage-style straps, open-toes and sheer cinched ankle-boots. However, it was the loafer/slipper hybrids which really raised the bar. Featured in black and red, the unique grandeur of this shoe impressed and nothing quite seals the deal like the designers themselves, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce, donning them for the post-show walkdown.
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Alternatively masculine, little beats the classic brogue. There's something beautifully effortless and throw-on about this shoe. It screams Sloane Square, sophistication and structure. After recently being given a pair of vintage Russell and Bromley brogues by my mother, I have come to realise that less really is more, and teamed with black tights, a shift dress and a good coat, the perfect Spring outfit is born. Brilliantly adaptable, they can also be worn with ankle-grazing black jeans for a European take on a quintessentially English item. Best in antiquarian brown, brogues are a safe spring staple-and are suitably autumnal for those hesitant to embrace the sandal quite yet.
Scrupulous fashion rules and regulations aside, shoes this season should be beautiful and suited to you. Gladiators are a fail-safe, and toughen up any floral print or nude palette. Equally simple leather-thongs never disappoint and prove very St. Tropez with a black maxi dress and a tan. Expression and practicality is one thing. But, above all, shoes for the summer are all about fun and function, as my fashion inspiration Lauren Conrad quite simply puts it: "Shoes make me happy", and so they should.