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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Erna by Nina

Bedazzled: The Erna by Nina is a scintillating evening pump.

In a season glorifying boots, it's nice to take a step back and see what else is debuting in this, our favorite season. Amongst aisles of leather and suede, booties and over-the-knees, studs and buckles perches an evening shoe flashing a different kind of allure: the Erna by Nina. Once known only for its run-of-the-mill wedding heels, Nina has in recent seasons reinvented itself, becoming much more fashion forward and relevant. They have dazzled us, literally, with the Erna.

This silver peeptoe pump is sheathed in hundreds of tiny silver fishscale paillettes and topped with a spray of clear glass gems on the toe. The shimmery discs subtly shift color from steel at the peeptoe to an irridescent purple at the midstep and finally gunmetal blue near at the heel. The result is a shoe that's not so much flashy as scintillating – a shimmering pump on a 4-1/2" silver leather heel with a hidden 1/2" platform.

Shine a light on the Erna and you will light up the room like a disco ball. This is an evening shoe, a dancing shoe, a social shoe that demands a dark, rich pallette to showcase it: think navy, black, gray. The paillettes on Erna, besides having their own tint, pick up and reflect the colors around them. This shoe is sassy and bold. It makes us want to move, to move the light around the room, to be the center of attention. It's a shoe that makes us feel light and lighter in our step. Like the best of evening shoes, we love these Ernas because we don't just wear them, we shine in them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Trevis by La Canadienne

When It Rains ... Trevis by La Canadienne adds some style to cold weather looks.

If there's one thing they know in Montreal, it's weather. Gorgeous, cultural and fun as the city may be, there's no escaping the fact that it is an icebox come winter. Is it any surprise, then, that a city so frozen and fashionable should be the headquarters of La Canadienne?

Makers of waterproof boots for forty-five years, La Canadienne has gained a reputation for infusing cold-weather footwear with fresh and easy style – something we weather-beleagured Chicagoans can appreciate. They reaffirm their style stuff this season with the Trevis, a black, sueded, knee-high with faux fur lining on a contoured rubber sole. Much like a mullet ("business in front, party in back"), the Trevis multi-tasks its fashion and function with a chic boot shaft over a no-nonsense sole.

Style is literally sewn into the upper. The outer, waterproof shell is longer that the interior creating a perennial slouchy look. Flip down the top to reveal the ash grey furry lining when cold weather catches up to you. The bottom of this boot is a workhorse: the TRP outsole is molded for traction to keep you on your (dry) feet while providing flexibility. The insole makes use of technology beyond our ken – "Antibacterial hydrophilic breathable Microfibre Lining" – so we're just going to write that off as "effective." The rounded toe is casual and easy. Work this back to leggings as the weather turns colder.

Trevis is stylish in more than just the fashion sense. Like all La Canadienne products, the shoe is produced with a finger on the conscience of its customers: the environment plays a large role in the design and production of every boot. Fighting the environment with the environmentally friendly? We can dip our toes in that.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rayne by Dolce Vita

When It Raynes ... The Rayne by Dolce Vita pours style into a great transition shoe.

We've finally received our Dolce Vita and we couldn't be happier. The Rayne is very trans-seasonal with a 4-1/2-inch knife wedge heel, peeptoe and open upper enclosed with woven straps. (There's a half-inch platform hidden in there as well.) That height and open space lend themselves to a huge fall obsession: leggings! While the weather is still warm, the Rayne is great as-is. When cooler weather hits, warm up with bold textured tights in metallics and patterns like lace.

We like the idea of pushing the menswear look. Rayne has a great gamine feel to it under some rolled boyfriend jeans or oversized, rolled shorts. Top with a long vest that hits mid-thigh or a knit sheath dress. Or try pairing Rayne against a tailored plaid top that will echo the basket weave of the shoe. A trilby or porkpie hat finishes this boyish look, while a large structured bag like a leather shopper or weekender keeps some girl in this guy aesthetic.

The consensus in the store is that this is a leg's shoe. The silhouette is a combination of sleek yet substantial heel and the chunky bulk of the woven strapping. The result is a strong profile that reinforces the clean lines of your leg in tights or tight jeans. Use big, structured bags and tailored tops to further exaggerate the lines of your body.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rilla by Jeffrey Campbell

The Eyelets Have It: Jeffrey Campbell's Rilla blends multiple boot trends into a singular shoe.

What we like most about Jeffrey Campbell is his ability to grab at all these trends and extract something unique – a non-trend boot that's in the moment but works the next season too. It's a delicate balancing act between tragically hip and abstrusely idiosyncratic. Fortunately the team at JC is decidedly acrobatic. The Rilla is one of our favorite acts this week.

The trends? Rilla boils down paratrooper zip details, the early-'90s Goth of linesman boots (23-eyelet tie-up? Think Doc Martens on steroids), combat boot construction (reinforced heel, rounded toe) and classic feminine touches like a 3" stacked heel.

The result: Classically male heavy-duty boot motifs abound, balanced by ladylike details. The matte black of your typical combat boot is transformed into a deep pewter with an alluring sheen. The linesman laceup moves forward over the toe, referencing Victorian booties and snubbing the front into a demure, even dainty, toe. The straight heel feels sturdy like a workaday boot while adding grace to the otherwise industrial look of the upper. The exposed zipper lacks the teeth (heh) of military-grade jumpers for a more delicate appearance. A hidden gusset at top ensures a snug fit.

Leggings are critical here. Rilla has the height and the detail to work under skirts and shorter-hem shorts. Tie the two together with something unexpected like a pair of HUE's degrade or metallic leggings. You could try in with skinny jeans, but the fun here is about length and materials. Let the boots be naughty by pairing with a structured top and knee-length skirt, or tap into "Singles"-era grunge with an oversized tee under a plaid hunting coat. Use your wardrobe to continue what JC started: exploding the trends and reassembling them into something uniquely new and specifically you.

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