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Friday, May 8, 2009

7096 by Gastone Lucioli

En Pleine Air: Gastone Lucioli's cork wedge captures the natural look (and our hearts).

The natural look continues to dominate our thoughts. As the weather warms and color returns, we’re finding a real joy in the directness of simple, well-crafted things. The unending expanse of a blue sky, the greening of shoots on trees, the vividness of tulips … we’re letting nature take the lead on color right now. We will follow with clean looks and light-hearted neutrals that compliment our surroundings and reflect our positive mood.

So when the 7096 by Gastone Lucioli came in the other week, we became quite a bit happier. Perched on a five-inch cork wedge, the woven upper comes in a chocolate brown or taupe suede. The quality is unparalleled. Evidence of this can be found in the subtle, sinuously curved cork wedge: a slim, tall stalk of a heel gently fulls out and down along the arch to the ball of the foot where it flips up at the toes. The effect is a sense of airy weightlessness, sandals on which you seem to glide a quarter inch above the pavement.

The basket woven upper completes this easy, natural look. It’s perfect for the warming spring. Out of the box, we were a staff divided between leather and suede, but a certain magic happens – as it always does – on the foot: this shoe is all lightness and breeze, but that sensibility comes out of contrast. Lighter skin tones may find the suede too neutral; the rich brown of the leather reinforces your distance from the ground. Likewise with darker hues under the suede.

Of course it will work with denim and casual outfits, but we’re really insisting on whites here. Summerweight, overlong men’s trousers, summer dresses and prairie skirts, bright and clean. Accessorize with bits of natural color: the veiny blue of turquoise, the dark striation of ebony woods on chain and leather, layered. Leather will pick up steam into fall; Gastone’s wedges will guide you there.

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