The Art of Picking and Choo-sing: A Love Story

There are some encounters in a person’s life that are so memorable and close to the heart that it feels like it had occurred just yesterday, when in fact it was years ago. An encounter that makes the heart skip a beat and takes the breath away. A moment that causes a person to act quickly on major decisions. Meeting Jimmy was one of those special moments.

It was a normal day for me. I had just left the Fashion Institute of Technology after a long day of back-to-back classes. The winds switched directions and briskly pulled me towards West 26th Street into my beloved store, Buffalo Exchange. As I carefully browsed the sweater racks, and flipped through skirts of past seasons’ styles, my gaze landed upon a shelf of significance. The lights dimmed, and a spotlight-effect zeroed in on an item. Or so I imagined. Lo and behold, at eye-level and within reach sat a lovely, sophisticated pair of pointy-toed beige Jimmy Choo heels, size 6. I felt like I was reuniting with John Cusack in Serendipity.

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I couldn’t believe it—these shoes were just too good to be true! I walked around the store, testing hypothetical paces and different speeds of walking. A quick pace to make sure I’d get to the train on time. A slow, meandering pace in the occasion I am at a museum or cocktail party. Tapped my toes with my hands on my waist to test them in the occasion someone cuts ahead of me in line. Dance moves in the event that I go clubbing. Perfect fit, and perfect stride. All in one pair. Clearly, this was a match made in heaven—sent to me from God for a small price of $42.

I snatched Jimmy and held him close to my heart. We would never part again.

The Jimmy Choo London label signifies many pivotal moments to me. Jimmy sat with me throughout important interviews. He escorted me to exclusive parties in which I met new friends that are now near and dear to me. He celebrated victories of new opportunities in my life. The brand embodies the prestige and success that I aspire to achieve. Jimmy gave me the boost of confidence that I am now a real adult. A lady taking on New York City with each stride in the fine, Italian crafted leather heels.

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Heels are my weakness. Being a passionate shoe-shopper, I find it one of the most important pieces a person can wear to portray their image. I would rather walk in uncomfortable heels for hours to feel sexy and confident rather than wear comfortable flats or sneakers to a party. I love the height it gives my 5’ 3” self, and the way my calves are poised when I am standing tall. To me, highly respected, powerful women are seen wearing classic heels on a regular basis.

Today, Jimmy and I remain in a steady relationship and are moving forward one step at a time in conquering the New York fashion world.

Victorian Chic

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Early 19th Century Boot

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A Fashion Institute of Technology student modeling Victorian-style boots in 2013

When Queen Victoria took reign in 1837, the lace-up boots were the hottest item in footwear. By the 1850’s the trend had evolved to suit both men and women—and almost 200 years later today it is still seen stomping down the streets. Amazing how some trends stick around as classics!

Put Your Best Foot Forward on Monday with Manolo Blahnik

A Foot in the Fashion Industry: Manolo Blahnik on Lifestyle and Inspirations

“Young man, do things. Do accessories. Do shoes,” the legendary Diana Vreeland advised a young Manolo Blahnik in 1971.

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 Such advice couldn’t have been greater to a creative artist like Manolo Blahnik. He had been going through a more confused time in his life, unsure of what creative direction to move in—and this advice sealed the deal. Anxiously, he moved forward and pursued the shoe-design field and created an entire fashion empire that did not exist before—adding couturier techniques and detail to ready-to-wear, high fashion footwear. Let’s take a peek into the artist’s views and muses.

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How did Blahnik become a shoe designer? “It was one of those accidents of life. I could just as well have been a milliner or fashion designer,” he said.  Diana Vreeland encouraged him to work on his footwear designs and to make it a reality—which in turn, created a new shoe empire that had never existed before he hit the scene. She told him to dump the costume design path, and to “concentrate on the funny little things on the feet.” And so he did just that.

Techniques behind designing shoes: “I’m not an intellectual,” he confesses, “but I am a voracious observer of people’s movements and attitudes in the past and now. I’m very curious and I belong to that group of people who use what they observe and let it come out through what they do.” Blahnik loves the past, reminiscent and idiosyncratic English style—which is why he claims London as his home base.

His fabulous clientele: “I design for confident women who know what they want.” When creating each individual shoe, Blahnik creates an imaginary scenario of what type of woman would wear the particular shoe. Whether it be a society woman in France that attends charity balls, or a woman that hosts dinner parties for her family on her back porch—he has each scenario dreamed up for the potential buyer.

Fashion mentor: “My aunt acted as a daily fashion mentor. I was so impressed by the way she carried herself.” She taught him how to hold himself as a sophisticated individual, and the ideals of elegance.

Favorite museum: Prado in Madrid

Energy source: Spoons full of sugar, literally. On a mere 4-5 hours of sleep a night on average, Blahnik is not much for food. He’ll open up a bag of sugar and get the energy needed to design such sweet, delicious shoe creations.

Practicality versus whimsicality: “Once in a while I try to design a shoe with an eye to practicality rather than beauty. It is always a failure. Then I do a whimsy, follow my instinct, and make a slipper of silk scraps and crocodile scales—and it sells.”

View of New York City: “I’m always happy in New York because I’m a medieval person and it is a totally medieval city. People live in towers and they come down to fight—for food, for carriages, to sell their wares.”

Well, isn’t that the truth?