Forget diamonds—shoes are a girl’s best friend. Isa Tapia held a presentation of her phenomenal shoe line this afternoon in an intimate setting in the quarters of the Empire Hotel. My fabulous fashion stylist friend, Liz Teich, and I were in shoe heaven. Tapia has created a line for every occasion—whether you need a classic pump, to a statement piece, it’s all there. The shoes are crafted beautifully to such full extent of detail. Absolute perfection. Take a peek at her line and let me know what you think! Shoes will be in stores starting in August.
RAOUL presented a beautiful, feminine ready-to-wear line at the off-site location Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse this morning to kick-start my fashion week events. The models stood on the stage that curved around the room, some chatting to each other while the press mingled and took their photos. My favorite looks were the vintage-esque ensembles—the prints mixed with powder blue tones and marigold. Each look was feminine, but had a modern twist. LOVE IT. In addition, RAOUL launched a new accessories and shoe (!!!) line. What do you think of the looks? Which is your favorite?
The entrance of the newest installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was quite the opposite vibe from its neighboring ‘Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity’ exhibit. Booming music, dark lights and punk rock symbols pulled museum-goers into the special exhibit that opened on May 9th— meanwhile, next door consisted of quiet, hushed voices and courteous spectators. It was a contagious, exciting feeling walking into ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture,’ even if you are not a punk rocker by any means. Although she wasn’t the only designer presented, Vivienne Westwood played a major role in the show.
Moving from mannequin to mannequin, admiring each and every provocative style displayed, viewers “Ooh’ed”, pointed, and snickered at some of the bizarre looks. The most represented designer throughout the show was by far Vivienne Westwood. She stood out as the ring-leader of the ‘Punk Movement.’
Westwood not only designed clothes, she also branched out into footwear. Super-elevated platforms in patent leather. Bondage boots. Shoes with multiple tongues. Spikes galore. All were just another part of Westwood’s kitschy themed looks. Her extreme designs got the attention of the world, and not just fashion critics. Her brand began to flourish as she took on the London rebellion scene—inspiring Americans to do the same.
Being such a cult-leader in the punk movement, Westwood was given her respects to being the leader of it all at the ‘Punk’ exhibit. It was exciting, inspiring, and the set-up of the entire show was exhilarating. Each corner I turned I wanted to see more. I didn’t know what to expect—especially since this is not a trend I am into. By the end of the show I was disappointed there wasn’t more to offend me visually—and I wanted to run out and tell spectators to check it all out. An amazingly curated exhibit!
My inner 3rd-grade self has recently resurfaced as the platform sneaker has hit the streets once again. Back in the mid-90’s the Spice Girls were the pop-culture sensation. Every girl my age wanted to be a Spice Girl. Whether you were into being just like Baby Spice or Ginger Spice, all of us have posed in pictures with peace signs in the air—a signature pose that the band used— and we would wear clothing according to whichever Spice Girl we related to the most. Baby Spice fans would fix their hair into pigtails and wear sundresses. Scary Spice fans would wear leopard. Sporty Spice fans would wear sneakers and athletic apparel. Posh Spice fans would act mysterious and pose sexily. The stereotyping went on.
It’s funny to me looking back on it now because at one point I really wanted a pair of platform sneakers; I thought it was the hottest in footwear. I’d stare at them through store windows—and admire them when I saw my girl-band heroes wear them in music videos. I’d pore through Pop magazine and clip out photos of the band and hang them on my bedroom wall. My mom wouldn’t let me buy a pair which caused many tears and arguments. My hero Baby Spice wore them—why couldn’t I?
Today I see why my mom wouldn’t let me.
- It isn’t appropriate for a 3rd grader to wear platform shoes.
- They’re straight up ugly.
In hindsight as it usually works out, mom was right. My 3rd-grade self was wrong. But how was I supposed to understand? Just like how I didn’t understand the meaning behind the Spice Girl song 2-Become-1 when I was belting out the lyrics while my mom car-pooled me to YMCA cheerleading practice. Now I get it.
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.
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.
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.
Early 19th Century Boot
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!
The red sole has been an iconic symbol on the tip-toes of celebrities and fashionistas alike—parading the streets with such sex appeal for glamorous women. Christian Louboutin knows how to make shoes that make a woman feel sexy—and it’s no surprise that Saks is opening a Christian Louboutin ‘salon’ at their stores now.
From the streets of Paris, to my very own New York City backyard—this video is fantastic—enjoy!
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.
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.
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?