Sunday, 27 May 2012

Shine on

After the Wettest Drought On Record™ the UK is suddenly experiencing the summer of our dreams. There hasn’t been a cloud in the sky for three days, which means it’s open season on open-toes. So on Saturday afternoon your Shoeblogger strolled over to Portobello Road to see what’s hot on the fashionable feet of west London. 

Metallic strappy sandals and embellished flops are current favourites. The beaded jellies at top are from Next (“they come in lots of different colours,” according to my foot model.) The stylish nude sandals, above, with spikes and diamante skull-and-crossbones are from “a Sunday market.”
Love these ’70s-style geometric two-tone sandals (“last season’s Marks & Spencer.”) Their owner, tall and willowy, was wearing a fabulous full-length striped dress with ruched bodice, her bronze pedicure perfectly complementing pale skin and beautiful red hair.

Another great pedicure, above: classic red with gold straps for a 1950s screen goddess effect. Her gold strappy sandals were brand new (“from Dune, yesterday!”) 

Havaianas are almost as popular on the streets of west London as on the beaches of Brazil, and gold is definitely the colour of the moment. Its always fun to see friends mirroring each others’ styles, and I really like these two (above) with their variations on metal flats and pretty pale toes.

Two examples of turquoise tootsies: above, glowing in shiny plaited flats (from la bella Primark, I believe). Below, in River island cork-soled wedges, the nude straps popped with a gold band across the instep. As I was shooting her feet and admiring her outfit, I discovered that the cool girl rocking this look is style blogger Kirsty Fong. Kirsty is also a fashion stylist (and a biology grad), who writes with passion, and dresses (herself and others) with imagination and flair. Her blog looks great and is full of fab ideas, be sure to check it out:

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Lost in Loubi-Land

Forget the Olympics. Forget the Queen’s Jubilee. For the shoe lover in London this summer, Christian Louboutin’s retrospective exhibition at the Design Museum is the only game in town.

One floor of the normally stark and minimalist museum has been transformed into Loubi-Land, complete with carousel (which, rather disappointingly, doesn’t actually move) and hologram of Dita Von Teese performing.

Click to view the making of the hologram via Italian Vogue

A photographic section relates the designer’s life story. The Atelier demonstrates Louboutin’s design process, “taking the visitor through every stage of the design journey, revealing how a shoe is constructed, from the initial drawing and first prototype through to production in the factory.” The exhibition includes drawings (visitors are not allowed to take photographs but “sketchbooks are encouraged”), memorabilia, toys, handbags, a film room, and shoes, shoes, shoes. 200 pairs, apparently. It’s slightly overwhelming. 

And here’s the one problem I had with this otherwise marvelous exhibition. It’s a matter of scale. Louboutins are a treat, like truffles or oysters or Ladurée macaroons. Louboutin boutiques are little boudoirs, opulently designed to show off a couple of dozen sexy shoes. Stepping into one is like visiting a particularly mouth-watering (and particularly expensive) chocolate shop or charcuterie, where you can nibble 98% cocoa bonbons or acorn-fed pata negra at fifty euros a mouthful. You indulge, you sigh happily, you leave. This exhibition is more like an all-you-can-eat buffet. Here a six-inch stiletto, next to it a spiked ankle strap, then a multi-coloured trainer covered in Swarovski crystals, then another, and another and another – at first it is bewitching, then bewildering, then you just want a bit of a lie-down. 

Which brings us to the Fetish room, where individual creations are spotlit under bell jars in dark alcoves. This is fantasy footwear (as opposed to your regular six-inch stiletto...) but to me this section works better than others because you get to concentrate on one piece at a time and can appreciate what marvelous little pieces of exotic art and engineering they really are.

Still, as true shoe lovers know, there’s no such thing as too many shoes, just not enough space. Or, in this case, time. If at first you can’t take it all in, go back for another look. The show runs till July 9th. You know where to find me...

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Show me Fury

 “STELLA”  peep-toe platform shoe-boot

If there’s one thing more exciting than trying on a new pair of shoes it is witnessing the launch of a whole new shoe brand. Earlier this year, your Shoeblogger was privileged (and wildly excited) to get a sneak preview of the spring/summer 2012 collection from FURY – you probably haven’t heard of them yet, but you will. 

FURY (the company) comprises shoe designer Lisen Magnusson and her business partner David Frymann. Lisen (above) came from Sweden to study at the London College of Fashion. David works in a well known advertising agency in London. When they met both were craving a new challenge. David showed some of Lisen’s initial sketches around the office to much praise. Confident that this was the right thing to do they decided to launch their own footwear company in 2010.

To create a great shoe, you have to have the vision of an artist combined with the focus of an engineer (I’ve seen the blueprints of the “Stella” peep-toe platform shoe-boots, above. They’re slightly mind-boggling.) You also have to have suppliers and manufacturers who can deliver the quality you want, which in the case of FURY meant many months of research and trials around Europe before finally finding a factory in Portugal with the requisite standards and expertise.

 “LO”  ankle boot

FURY shoes are very cool, understatedly sexy, and amazingly comfortable. The linings are all leather – mushroom kid napa leather, to be precise.

The “LO” ankle-boots come in white python skin and the “TY” court shoes in light mushroom python. They feel as soft as gloves. Heels don’t go higher than 4-inches/100-mm, or if they do they have a bit of platform added, so no teetering is involved. 

“TY”  python pumps

Details are clever but not flash. The “YLA” sandals have a detachable leather heel tassel, “TY” has a ring of matte silver studs encircling the heel. My favorites are the “STELLA” shoe-boots, with their tumbled leather back “counter” and gunmetal studs. (And they look super-high but that leather platform under the ball of the foot means they are super-easy to strut – sorry, walk – around in.)

 “YLA” sandals 
FURY’s first collection, for s/s 2012, is now available in two great boutiques: in London at Notting Hill’s Wolf & Badger and in Sweden at Awesome Rags! Stockholm. The collection is also available soon online at (and there are more styles on the website so do check it out.)