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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Electra by Nina

Taken into Account: Nina's Electra is in the red and in the black.

Given that the color of money these days isn't green -- it's the red or black of our balance sheets -- we found the Electra by Nina in red or black satin to be apropos to a Shoe of the Week. That, and it's a real charmer balancing several sexy elements.

There's a lot going on here. The masterminds at Nina cobble it together in a way that doesn't overpower. The satin at the front of the foot is draped in sweeping folds that meet at a fat bow offset over a demure peeptoe. The effect is part debutante, part flirty cheek. The look taps into the rosette shoe trend seen recently on Scarlett Johansson and Cameron Diaz.

From there the leather sole arches dramatically up to a full satin heel cup and adjustable anklet, the better to sit atop a 4-1/2" heel. This slender spike is rendered in hard, glossy plastic. It is a fantastic contrast to the softly luminescent satin -- the hard heart under a yielding flesh. We like that. The full, richly saturated black and red satin cover your foot with soft lines and giving texture, while the hard heel flashes and clacks as it should when you walk down the street. Let them hear you coming; these shoes are worth the attention.

Under the satin wrap a leather heel cup and a padded gold footbed make it comfortable throughout, as does a one-half-inch hidden platform that offsets some of that lift for stability. With the full heel and sweep of the front foot, this shoe covers more than it seems, which is the beauty of it: a dramatic curving sole and a modest peeptoe lend the impression of a foot en plein aire without actually subjecting you to it.

These shoes project confidence, sex appeal, and not a little attitude, yet are far from louche. They have balance. The combination of hard and soft textures, deeply saturated colors and the high heel with hidden platform -- all for $80 -- makes this a look that's sure to keep you looking recession-proof at firesale prices.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Jkael by Jessica Bennett

The Jkael by Jessica Bennett in Bronze and Pewter

Arriving just in time for holiday parties and the glitter of New Year's Eve, the Jkael by Jessica Bennett steps regally into our pick for Shoe of the Week. This shoe is all confidence and glamour, a perfect accompaniment to holiday cheer. Plus, we admire the cheek of wearing strappy sandals in the blustery cold of end-of-the-year festivities.

We also admire their seductive metallic shine. Spaghetti-thin straps arch up just forward of the arch and tie off above the midfoot while a thin strap slings around the ankle. The spangled leather footbed is topped with cushioned, patent inset with a mirror-like shine. The same brilliance extends to the 3.5-inch heel -- an oblong and elegant stiletto flashing as you walk.

The pewter shoe has shimmering silver undertones while the bronze is closer to a smoldering Indian gold. Both are obvious choices for finishing off a flirty party dress as well as something longer and more formal. Pair up with equally sparkling, dangling gemstone earrings like the Kendra Scott we reviewed or a statement necklace with fist-sized cabochons. The metallic richness of this shoe speaks volumes. Try a number of solid legging colors and lend some youthful attitude without sacrificing the opulence.
Whatever you choose the Jkael will lend you a glamour well beyond its $100 pricetag.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Jamila by Joan & David

Shine On: Jamila by Joan & David in black, $130.00

We were suffering from a real dearth of heels in this season of boots, so it was with relief verging on tears that we unwrapped a shipment from Joan & David containing three new pumps: the Jamila (shown), Halley and Lana. Choosing just one to feature as Shoe of the Week wasn't easy, but after much debate the Jamila won our hearts and the feature.

Its elegant simplicity did it. The graceful taper on the 4-1/2" stiletto looks like an illustration on the Golden Mean and a 1/2" platform blends artfully into the upper. That platform helps you maintain towering sexy-height without the teetering. The whole thing is wrapped in supple, flawless Napa leather that screams a price tag higher than its 130 bucks.

Our favorite detail, however, is lower to the ground. The captoe ever-so-subtly references menswear trends while retaining a maryjane feel. A slight gloss separates it from the upper, making the whole toebox seem snubbed and thus smaller. Matching gloss on that heel means the overall focus goes in and up, making your foot seem smaller and your legs longer, all in a package designed for a comfortable long wear.

The focus on subtle detailing and austere, clean lines makes this a chameleon of a shoe. You can dress the Jamila up, keep it laid-back, wear it to work or the movies. Its quality helps keep your look polished, no matter what the occasion or locale. A shoe that makes you longer, more petite and works regardless of the circumstance? Tear-filled relief indeed.

For larger sizes, visit Barefoot Tess Barefoot Tess for larger sizes.