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Friday, April 24, 2009

Pristine by Boutique 9

Urban Warrior: Boutique 9's Pristine is a down and dirty gladiator.

As we mentioned earlier this month Boutique 9 has been doing some interesting things with the gladiator. They really caught our attention with the Pristine. Available in taupe and black, the Pristine is not so much a sandal as a spat tacked to a footbed. It's the anti-sandal. Where you expect volume there is space. Instead of the typical gladiator's strappy climb up the leg, the Pristine has a sueded and gathered greave suspended above the top foot, plunging sole-ward at the toe and heel. The unstructured upper is folded about the ankle by way of a shiny pewter strap. A zip-up heel makes it a breeze to slide on.

We love the summery feel of this sandal – how it exposes the entire foot, yet boasts a punky, ankle cuff with edgy gatherings for a rebel insouciance. The unstructured feel of the sandal is pure summer casual, but the shiny strapping and suede lend it polish that lets it work in more sophisticated locales.

Pristine is perfect wrapped over skinny denim or loose and slouchy under boyfriend jeans. Pick up on the strappy pewter with layered statement jewelry or a handful of smaller filigreed pieces. Toughen up the black version with an MJ motorcycle jacket. We see the taupe with an edgy blouson or dress by Filippa K. Any way you wear it, Pristine is going to give lend your look unadulterated attitude.

This isn't a safe sandal, but who needs more safe? It's time to get out there in the glorious weather. Make it work! We like that fearlessness, so we love the Pristine.

Friday, April 3, 2009

85509 by Giorgia Martino

Foliage à deux: Georgia Martino's leather flower sandals have us going green.

We were going to start out this review with a comment on how flowers and floral-themed patterns were cropping up (heh) in spring collections, but let's be honest: when are flowers not cropping up in spring collections? This year is no exception, but it does bring forth some exceptional examples. Georgia Martino's leather bouquet sandal may be the most exceptional one yet.

Available in sand, chocolate and green (shown), the T-strap upper is made of beautifully supple leather and cut with gracefully modern lines that recall the retro-modern stylings of Biviel. The two-tone bouquet is feminine and casual, the petals and leaves rolling and folding for an improvisational organic feel. The short, rounded, leather-wrapped heel and padded footbed make it a very easy wear.

For us, the standout is the green, a trend alternative to the season's predominant neutrals and nudes. This particular shade is cooler, desaturated, softer. It feels demure but confident. It feels considered. (We picture a team of Biviel designers, color chips spilled across the table, determinedly hunting for the perfect shade.) It's not an easy color to wear, but worn right it's a true head-turner. There's a tension between this and dark blue denim that, worn confidently, works (the sand and chocolate are easier options). Beneath a white spring dress with a little structure to it, these are amazing. The feminine look of this sandal calls for a bit of hard contrast and sexy edge. Put on some color – a mismatched green – and a tough cycle jacket to take your outfit from ladylike to Mapplethorpe.

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