Saturday, 27 August 2011

Back to School, Back to Broke

Yeah, it's that time of year again.  School is back (a big shock after my year off), I've paid my first tuition installment and I went,"Oh shit, that was a lot of money," and I supported the local economy in Montreal last weekend (that means I went shopping and ate out for every meal).  So, here we have it: my top 5 stylish AND practical shoes for campus under $100.

Marimekko All-Star for Converse - $75
(buy here)

Toms burgundy houndstooth slip-ons - $54
(buy here)

Black Chelsea boot - $83
(buy here)

Madden Girl lace-ups - $56.95
(buy here)

Madison leopard loafers - $45.54
(buy here)

There you have it.  You might have noticed a complete lack of heels.  That is because even I tone it down for class.  Save the heels for the weekend, fellow stylish students; stomping it out in the caf line is beyond ridiculous.

- Shannon

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Blatant Shoe Plagarism

I am about to get pretty scathing about a popular shoe brand that I have written about before.  I had previously noted similarities between a shoe designed by Salvatore Ferragamo and a shoe designed by Jeffrey Campbell.  I also have noted some things I love about Jeffrey Campbell.  But here is where things go sour.  While looking through shoes at Nasty Gal, many of which are Jeffrey Campbell, I started seeing some shoes that looked extremely familiar.  See for yourself below:

 Jeffrey Campbell Fruitbowl platform.

Charlotte Olympia fruit platform.

Jeffrey Campbell's cutout combat boot.

Balenciaga's cutout combat boot.

Jeffrey Campbell's western-inspired bootie.

Viktor & Rolf's western-inspired bootie.

Jeffrey Campbell's black wedge boot.

Alexander Wang's black wedge boot.

Jeffrey Campbell's brogue flatform.

Prada's "Creeper" brogue flatform.

So (hopefully) you have eyeballs and you see all the similarities that I see.  And I have a big problem with it.  This isn't an instance of two designers both designing a metallic heel.  This is a designer stealing another designer's unique ideas.  I will also note that every Jeffrey Campbell shoe was released after the other designer's version.  I will no longer buy or support Jeffrey Campbell shoes.  I believe that if you choose to become a designer of anything, you make your own designs.  

- Shannon

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Shoes in Visual Art

Today I want to look at shoes, as usual, but I want to examine a more abstract function of the shoe.  The most logical way to approach this seemed to be in representations of shoes, so here we have shoes in visual art.  Discussion pieces below:

Van Gogh's A Pair of Shoes c.1887
The shoes depicted in this work are widely believed to be a pair of peddler's shoes purchased at a flea market in Paris.  A peddler is basically an old-timey door-to-door salesman.  These shoes would have been for daily use, and you can see that they are worn out by frequent journeys.  The shoes have character, which isn't a word I'm tossing around because they look beat-up.  Because of the traveling nature of the wearer, every scuff has a story within it.  That's what I love about sturdy leather boots.  I own a pair of 8" black Frye Harness boots and they are my go-to fall/winter shoe.  They go everywhere I do and I've been fascinated to see how my life changes the boot.  Let's not get crazy though; I don't like scuffs on any other kind of footwear.
 A sample of Andy Warhol's work as a shoe illustrator c.1955

This is not the Warhol pop-art style everyone is familiar with.  He was working for a shoe company where he did fashion illustration for their advertising.  I believe some of his ad work in the 50's had an influence on his pop-art, mass manufactured print-making.  On one occasion, he attempted to have his shoe illustrations exhibited, but he was rejected. As an aside, to whoever rejected Warhol: you fucked up.

Gauguin's Wooden Shoes c.1889-90

These are really meant to be worn as shoes, but you might not want to risk it given that they cost $338,500 a pop.  They are engraved with characters that depict the typical dress and manner of maidens from the region of Brittany in France, a favourite place of Gauguin.  The shoes themselves are also what was typically worn in that region.  These are an example of Gauguin's work in wood-cutting and wood-engraving, which is a field he helped establish with his art.

Shoes lend themselves to stories so unbelievably well.  They are essential to travel, and they become a part of your life's adventures.  This shit just got cheesy. Happy weekend!

- Shannon

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Obsessed: Nicholas Kirkwood Flats

The unthinkable has happened.  Nicholas Kirkwood, shoe designer, has designed season after season of the most unbelievably exquisite shoes.  They all have one thing in common, aside from awesomeness: the spiky sky-high heel.  But as of S/S10, the heel has come down and the awesome is still there.
Commence drooling now.

With the expansion into flats and the opening of a Nicholas Kirkwood flagship store in London, I can't wait to see what comes next.

- Shannon

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Louboutin V. Yves Saint Laurent

There is currently a legal battle going on between Christian Louboutin and Yves Saint Laurent.  Louboutin is seeking an injunction against YSL regarding the use of red soles for it Resort 2011 collection.  Everyone knows the Louboutin red sole; the idea hatched from an employee's red nail polish and has become an iconic part of luxury shoe history.  The shade specific to Louboutin was apparently trademarked in 2008.  Examples of both YSL and Louboutin's red soles below:

YSL's red-soled red Tribute t-strap sandal.

Louboutin's Lady Derby in black with trademark red sole.

YSL's red-soled Tribute pump in red.

Loubotin's Poseidon in purple with trademark red sole.

I don't think anyone should have exclusive rights to using red on the soles of their shoes.  Especially because, correct me if I'm wrong, the only examples of YSL using red soles were for red shoes.  If I were making shoes, I personally wouldn't choose to use red soles because it's already been done.  But if it's only being used by another designer on red shoes for a streamlined look, then I think it's petty to engage in a million-dollar lawsuit over it.  But maybe I would feel differently if it were my trademark.

- Shannon

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Kobi Levi, I Love You

I like to think that I am daring with my fashion choices.  I'm not afraid to wear most clothes or pile on the jewelry, but Kobi Levi's footwear designs are on an entirely different level.  Below are my top 5 Kobi Levi choices:

Olive Oyl.



Blond Ambition.


I love his designs. They are easily some of the most original shoes I've ever seen.  But the thing is, his shoes are still footwear, emphasis on wear, and I don't know if I would actually have what it takes to pull off any of the shoes pictured above.  Regardless, art has never been this wearable and hopefully I'll have the balls to go for it someday.

- Shannon

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Shoe Pains Semi-Explained

Remember these shoes?

They're back! As part of a fundraiser for the English National Ballet, who had their budget cut by $3.2 million, Christian Louboutin designed a new pair of his extreme ballerina heels. A size 37, one-of-a-kind, covered in Swarovski crystals, and unwearable...

But really, really pretty.

It brings to mind a larger question however: why am I, along with thousands of other women, willing to distort my feet, my body and my posture for the sake of wearing pretty shoes?  I do it on a regular basis.  At 5"9, I don't need the extra height.  I don't need the obvious foot, knee, hip and back pains the regular wearing of high heels can cause.  Is it just because they're pretty? I don't think so. There are more than enough stylish flat shoes out there.  I believe that the answer does lie in the heel height, in being higher up.  I admit, it's a confidence boost to walk with authoritative "click" of a heel and to be taller than usual.  I think of shoes as the integral finishing touch to any outfit and a heel gives both a literal and figurative boost to what you're wearing.  Heels add another dimension to your look.  They command attention and they remind me that I am worth paying attention to.  This strikes me as slightly sad, only because I don't know any guy that has to pull on platforms to gain authority.  I suppose women are the flashier gender of the human species, and heels are part of that uniform.  
To close, I'm going to get a little Oprah-ish here.  Don't dress for anyone else.  Dress for yourself, and put those heels on because they make you feel good emotionally, if not physically.

- Shannon