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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bianca by Pour La Victoire

Architectural Integrity: Pour La Victoire's Bianca builds up excitement for Spring.

As we mentioned in our blog the other week, the Bianca by Pour La Victoire epitomizes the platform pump trend this Spring as well as designs inspired by modern architecture. We are absolutely wowed by the crazy laticework uppers in black leather or dove grey suede. They are aggressive and forward while referencing work by contemporary masters like Koolhaas, Gehry, Calatrava and (our favorite) Le Courbusier (we're thinking Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut Ronchamp).

Another trend we heart is the use of brightly colored leather linings and other secretive pops of color on standard-issue blacks, browns and greys. There's an excitement there; this sense of something more than just the lines of the shoe. It's a secret surprise. Surely the woman who wears these has some tantalizing secrets of her own, n'est pas? While the black Bianca is lined in screaming yellow-lime, the grey is paired to a gentle aqua ... but the sole is sheathed in cobalt blue. These shoes reveal something new with each wear. It brings the structure inside. As a stained glass window builds a luminous image out of fragments, the Bianca hints at your character through color and shape, fullness and absence.

The Bianca is a very forward gal. She's complex and confident. Despite her architectural lines, some might call her mercurial (but we think she just takes time to unfold). Aggressive, but not easy. A bit of a wildcat and definitely a patron of the beautiful, this shoe requires a confident woman that can harness Bianca's energy. Otherwise you may just find that the Bianca isn't something you wear, it's something that wears you.

And we like a shoe that makes us work for it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Belgium by Chinese Laundry

To the Point: The Belgium nicely balances several Spring trends.

The Belgium by Chinese Laundry caught our eye this week. It's a new arrival that embraces several prominent Spring 2009 trends, balancing them in a way that bridges styles from previous seasons while looking completely current.

Platform heels are showing up everywhere. We attribute the raft of styles to the ever-increasing elevation seen in Loubous and luxury lines where five-inch heels have become the new four. The Belgium hovers around the four-and-a-half mark, but the half-inch in the footbed provides a measure of stability. In the end: they are tall. Whereas fall's boots lengthened the leg with their long expanses of smooth leather, these platform pumps lengthen the body, lending shape to legs, behinds and backs. The cork heel reads as light and airy; we think it will give your look some floaty grace.

The Belgium makes great use of tribal tendencies. The upper, a leather strap at toe, arch and ankle, and heel are finished with a tight woven-reed diamond pattern. It works back to the African-inspired, crafty focus of this Spring, a look reinforced by the cork: simple materials used with sophistication. From a distance the pattern and the sheen of the reeds blends into a vaguely reptile pattern. This reference to the snakeskin of seasons past make the Belgian a great bridger shoe for early Spring. It has one foot in the past and one striding into the future.

We're of two minds on how to wear this one: short and flowing summer dresses or skinny jeans. Light, airy babydoll dresses in whites and creams will blend with the Belgium's neutral palette, becoming backdrops for bold handbags and big, bright gemstones. We can also see it as support for something in a bold, fun, punchy red. We're going to see a lot of interplay between neutrals and saturated color pops this season, making this pump a versatile basic that's far from plain. Under skinny jeans, the pattern takes on a funkier edge. Play up the boho look with big jewelry: hoop earrings, layered necklaces, jangly bangles. Blousy peasant tops. Busy, vintage-inspired patterns. Or make it young and laid-back with a tube top!

A buckle at the ankle is an apt touch: shaped like a Greek Omega, this shoe is the last word in adding verve to your spring outfits.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tammy by Cordani

Put Some Cork in It: The Tammy by Cordani buoys spring's neutral tendencies.

Spring 2009 is fast approaching and the fashion world is decidedly ... neutral about it. Natural palettes -- desaturated hues like beiges, linens and off-whites -- are dominating the racks. (Of course there's a healthy obsession with brilliant orange, but, hey, one thing at a time.) Italian shoemaker Cordani's cork wedge, the Tammy, bridges these trends with a shoe that is current yet wearable beyond a seasonal fad.

What we love about this shoe is how its neutral palette uses texture, color and polish to add sophistication to a hue that is all too easily turned from boffo to blah. A 4-1/2" cork wedge with 3/4" platform is finished with a rubber sole. It looks substantial but wears incredibly light. A sloped cutout hints at a mod faux-heel and breaks up the vertical, variegated grain of the cork.

A brace of straps crossing the foot wends back to an adjustable buckle at the heel. The toffee-colored leather is slightly pebbled, lending weight and creating contrast between it and the airy cork.

Bridging the two is a metallic gold leather sole and trim on the straps, creating subtle, tone-on-tone richness that activates the neutrals and acts as an buffer between sole and upper -- an flashing and fleeting gleam like a light under the door.

A strappy platform like this is just begging for clean, skinny jeans and a strappy top or halter in a monotone, bold color. Continue the subtle chemistry of the Tammy with big, chunky accessories, bronze and gold tones and another seasonal obsession: the natural textures and colors of tribal beading.

The Tammy is a masterpiece of subtle texture and color combinations that give the shoe great range under a number of outfits, skin tones and with numerous accessories. Pick it up and get into this season's trend of natural colors and textures; we think you'll find there's nothing neutral about it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Rena by Pour La Victoire

Arched Support: The Rena in Dark Brown by Pour La Victoire

Pour La Victoire has long been dear to our hearts. Their explorations of form belie a love for the beauty of a well-crafted shoe. Pour La Victoire shoes and boots have a curiosity and precocity that never fails to look stunning. In this interim sale season between fall/winter yet on the cusp of resort and, then, spring, we could use some inspiration. This week we take a look at a seasonless boot gorgeous in its details: the Rena in dark brown.

We find the Rena both timely and timeless. The recent emphasis on boots makes it contemporary; classic, clean, aristocratic lines and warm, chestnut brown leathers support a host of outfits. Thanks to its extra-tall shaft (over the knee with the cuff up) this boot accommodates tucked jeans and a crisp top, yet works under a skirt. We see this with a white summer dress and lots of necklaces, or something richly green, full and knee-length with bright and patterned tights peeking out from the inch or so of exposed leg.

The materials are equally amenable to a variety of stylings. The pebbled leather shaft has a buttery hand and its lightweight suppleness makes it wearable year-round. A buckled strap at the knee keeps the boot hiked up. Loosen it to let the leather slouch down on itself for a more casual, scrunched look. The smooth vamp rounds out in a classic toe immune to ever-changing fads. The 1-3/4" stacked wood heel under a leather sole provides a bit of lift. A golden zipper on the inside shaft eliminates the huffing and yanking typical of the effort to don tall boots.

The sum of all this is a boot with range. Wear it clean and classic or down and dirty. Wear it up ... or even more up. Jeans? Yes. Skirts? Of course. Wear it in fall, spring or in these dead periods between seasons when a boot like this escapes trends and points to a quiet, elegant beauty.

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