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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.

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