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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Daylight by Nicole

Darkest Before the Don: Nicole's Daylight shines a light on your ensemble.

We have a slight obsession with Nicole, in no small part because Lori recently spent a quality afternoon in Milan shopping with Maurizio Celin, Nicole's designer and all-around handsome lad. But connections aside, the Daylight stands out for its blend of the simple and the lavish.

The spare but elegant T-strap is the perfect shade of turquoise. This thin blue line leads up to an ankle cuff and full heel cup over a soft, suede footbed with contrast stitching. Besides acting as a secure support, this nicely frames the bold cluster of clear glass gems at the front of foot.

We're seeing this with skinny jeans: imagine that bright stripe of blue leading down to flashing gems over a fantastic pedi. But we also know it would work with a flowing spring dress. We like a bold green, maybe even yellow or fuschia -- something that clashes a bit to bring out some personality with the sun.

Daylight is the perfect shoe for these lean times, mirroring our own concerns balancing responsible spending and a desire to be happy and comfortable. (And at $78 is does a pretty darn good job of the former.) If so-called Recessionista is the look of the late aughts, then Daylight may well be the dawn of a new way of dressing where a little bit of flash carries, but doesn't overwhelm, quality construction and grace of shape.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Solaine by Calvin Klein

Chain of Command: Calvin Klein's Solaine's authoritative links.

Platform pumps aren't so much a trend this season as, finally, in the spotlight. We're willing to bet the ever-higher heels on luxury lines are an influence. As we all strive for the height (and our balance), the platform preserves the lift and cheats the height to make the wearing more tolerable. And no one's a better cheater than Calvin Klein.

There's something about a CK platform pump that always feels a little effortless, a lot classy and overwhlemingly current. The Solaine is beautiful example. It's 4-1/2" glossy stacked heel has enough stability to reference to the casualness of the thick-sole trend, yet is built with an elegant geometry that's dressy. Except for the peeptoe, the platform is hidden by a ruched leather wrap tied together with a double-figure-eight of metal links inspired by YSL's classy-flashy segmented chainlink necklace.

The look is confident with decidedly punk-industrial edges. We love the way the sheen of the chain shimmers like oil on water while the ruching lends adventure as though the chain were a quick but expertly tied double bowline hitch. It's a throaty purr that menaces a roar. It's Joan Jett with a dollop of Reznor.

Despite the rumpled leather and the metal chain, expect comfort. Our floor staff were surprised they couldn't even feel the chain. The footbed is nicely padded and the fit true. We see these with loose and roughed-up boyfriend jeans, cinched at the waist under a superbly simple wifebeater from Alexander Wang's new line of tees. Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2009

1881 by Biviel

Spring Green: The 1881 by Biviel has an obtuse name, but a very direct look.

Maybe it's the color that made us choose the 1881. Green. The "it" color for spring. And is that any surprise? It's the color of everything that's going away -- our money, our environment -- and the color of everything coming up: foliage, warmth and color to our gray, salt-encrusted winter world. Perhaps it is just the pleasant shock of seeing such a vibrant hue on our foot in a sea of neutrals that made us choose it.

And vibrant it is! The deep, saturated viridian of this platform pump is beguiling; your inner girl can't help but stifle a squeal of glee. (Same goes for the yellow, the color of baby blades of grass or aspen leaves in the fall.) A 3 1/2" heel with 3/4" platform isn't too tall to teeter, and a well-padded footbed takes comfort to another level. The T-strap leads from an adjustable ankle wrap down to six perforated bands that have a slight future-jock feel, though we approve the texture. In any case it's mitigated by a solid, stacked-wood heel that keeps these pumps balanced between casual and forward. The highlight is the teardrop keyhole on top of the foot. It's decolletage for the foot! (At any rate it makes us want to cry ... )

We see the yellows paired with darker denim and the green with white: culottes or a throw-on white summer dress. Toss in some wilder hues like pinks and purples to sharpen the edge of your look. A splash of red in makeup or accessories can make the yellows really pop (careful to avoid ketchup-and-mustard syndrome). These shoes are brilliant and eye-catching; they will insist on being paired to an outfit equally as bold. Work them up with a confident summer ensemble and watch the passers-by give you that final reason green is the color of the season: envy.

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