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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Darien by Report

Glad for the Blooms: Report's stripped-down gladiator is dressed up with a big bouquet.
We were getting all cranked up to write about selective spots of bright color this season, but what has been arriving is the flip side of that coin: the basics and neutrals you need to showcase beautiful hues. Now, we wouldn't go so far as to call Report's Darien a "basic," but it is the most active-looking neutral we have seen in along time.

Springtime is inevitably flowers-on-the-shoes time; 2011 is no exception. Darien arrives at your door in full and perpetual bloom. The fabric rosettes' outer petals have a fils-coupe casual edge. The center bloom is comprised of tightly clustered leather petals. Two sets of blush leather bands at the mid-foot and ankle faintly echo the gladiator look without being difficult to dress. You can fuss with the three adjustable ankle straps or simply scoot in  and out via the rear zip.

Darien is a busy little spring sandal, but the all-over neutral palette restrains it. The result is a nice mix: this sandal has an optimistic energy in a colorway that's agreeable with just about anything. Slip on the Darien and your pop of color becomes your bag, your belt, a bold print dress, killer shades, bright earrings.

On the heels of some of our other recent posts, like Kitty's rehash of the vintage slip, April's clash mashing and Ashley's sassy take on the tulle, we expect you to take this shoe to daring new territory. We wonder aloud what Darien would look like with a punchy floral maxi—Garden of Eden or overgrown lot? We want to carry that floral motif through the whole look and temper it with tightly edited spots of color and texture over a generally neutral foundation. Comment here and let us know what you think!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jarn by Boutique 9

Spinning Jarns: Boutique 9's laser-perfed boot kicks off spring with style. Shown with Pietro Alessandro bag.

We've heard it before: "The military trend should surrender;" "We're unsaddled by all the equestrian;" "Those Western boots should move back east." Apparently some of you are tired of boots.

You obviously haven't played around with a laser cutter.

Thankfully, Boutique 9 has. The Jarn stands as a firm rebuke to your trend fatigue. Think you have enough of the menswear/military-industrial utility boot? Maybe. Do you have said trend that also looks like it were made out of leathery lace? Jarn represents the ultimate refreshment to weary boot lovers. It is both a straight-shooting calf-high boot and wicked take on filigree. This lightweight and light-looking style sings spring.

Boutique 9 has impressed us across the board this year with their refined leathers. It is because of shoes like these we're hoping Web 3.0 will have an honest-to-God "touch" screen. Pictures simply don't tell the whole story; you need to feel these. Jarn takes this leather hand even further with its seemingly delicate upper that rises like smoke from a utilitarian round toe and one-and-a-quarter-inch heel. (An inseam calf zip means you won't tear this lacy goodness.)

We often think of boots as a fall look, but Jarn demonstrates how they can march right into, well, March. You can scrunch this down if you like—Jarn will take it—but we're thinking wear it high for a while and get those appreciative looks, then change it up as the season progresses. We're loving it with bright, pure whites like the Pietro Alessandro bag above and a natural/neutral palette. Dark denim is an obvious color choice too. As for the opportunities with leggings, well, can you think of a boot that lends itself more to colors and patterns than one you can pretty much see through? As April Francis demonstrated last week, clashing patterns can work for spring.

We don't think the perforated boot will be a trend. That's why we like it. Don a pair of these airy boots and take a breather from the styles you've stocked up. It's refreshing and different but has enough common features to keep it from being outright strange while ensuring you look outright gorgeous and unique this spring.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Wildchild by Jeffrey Campbell

More Fringe Than a John Wayne Convention: Jeffrey Campbell's Wildchild goes extreme with the '60s vibe.
Believe it or not, there is a shoe beneath that fringe. Well, most of a shoe. The Jeffrey Campbell Wildchild seems to be so, well, wild that it can't even keep itself together. The upper of this shoe is actually more strips of fringe wrapped over and over and over from peep-toe to mid-calf, almost as if the wild flow of loose lengths has blown off a formerly solid upper. (We'll vouch for the stability of the five-inch heel and two-inch platform.)

We've been writing quite a bit on our blogs about this incipient '60s/'70s trend. As you can see, there is much yet to be discussed. There's something interesting with Campbell's latest take—a shoe that looks as if it is tearing itself apart, unraveling in its energy. Do we take that as a contemporary wrestling with aesthetics past? Or is it a reminiscence of the exuberance of that period? Perhaps a bit of both? Whatever your interpretation, it is hard not to look confident and ballsy several inches above ground trailing what seems like a mile of suede.

As with most statement shoes from Jeffrey Campbell, we suggest letting Wildchild carry your look. The ever-shifting view of your foot and legs between fringe and suede bands lends enough visual punch. Tame this beast with bare legs or neutral leggings, a casual top and small to mid-sized bag with clean lines. Or your best Wookie suit. (Your call.) Stay away from other period accoutrements, menswear trends or leather: you run the risk of looking too much like, respectively, the Summer of Love or a radical at a John Wayne convention. Go minimal; the wildchild is anything but.

See what Jeffrey Campbell has to say about our post!


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