COUTURE RECOMMENDS

Remember when ‘duck’ boots were a Darien, Connecticut style staple? Remember when they were worn with curduroy pants, puffer vests and Fair Aisle sweaters? Well, neither do I, but that is what I am told. Fast forward to today and the steadfast staple of yesteryear is making a very chic come back. Designers from DSquared to Michael Kors , to a few mass retailers, injected the shoe/bootie with a much needed style cache with improved upper materials, playful color combinations (think tartan and tweed), and a fashionista’s best friend, a high heel. However, some design detail echos of the past are still visible within the new incarnations, the rubber sole, the lace-up and hook-and-eye closures, along with the constrast stitching. Oooooh la la!

Clothing from Around the World: Asia's Shoe Addiction

I’ve travelled in Asia for the last five years and have visited many countries including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. All of these countries are vastly different in culture and tradition, and to some extent, in fashion. But one thing I discovered in all of them is the Asian women’s addiction to shoes. Sure, Sex and the City’s Carrie had a shoe obsession, but most Asian girls easily have her beat.

In Thailand, girls are obsessed with high-heel, strappy sandals. They’re available everywhere and come in every color and design you can imagine. No fashion-conscious Bangkok girl will ever have less than 30 pairs of shoes, and many have a lot more. One of my Thai friends, Tua, has over 60 pairs of shoes and adds to this collection every week. She loves the pointy-toed shoes, the sling-back sandals and even the peeptoe shoes. She also has a pair of Mary Jane’s that is to die for. Tua loves shoes so much she actually gets a rush of excitement when she finds another cute pair and can’t wait to try them on. If they fit, she’s transported to a place of unimaginable joy. Now that’s an obsession with shoes!

In Japan, a lot of Japanese girls are really into boots of all lengths (ankle boots were popular when I was there) and stylish flats that they can walk in. Japanese girls definitely seem to be more concerned about comfort than Thai girls, who will stagger around in the highest high-heel shoes just to look sexy. Funky Mary Jane’s in moss green, brown and black are a big hit in Japan, and paired with the typical Japanese flair for fashion, they do look cool.

In Hong Kong, women seemed much like the Japanese during the day. Trendy, yet comfortable seems to be the order of the day; probably because Hong Kong is a walking city. So flat shoes, low-heeled boots and Doc Martens abound. But at night, even though you’ll still see many of the flat shoes around the shopping areas, if you head to the Hong Kong nightclub or restaurant scene, designer high-heeled, strappy sandals hold sway.

If you’re ever in Asia and you love shoes, you’ll fit right in. For Asian girls, the shoe is often more important than the clothes.

IN THE NEWS - STEVE MADDEN


Zappos has been in the news a lot lately. First our wonderful segment on Oprah, then a little dollop of cream on top with our shopping shout out during a segment on E! News’ November 2 edition for great shoe finds under $100. Ms. Giuliana Rancic was going down the list of names, places and faces and then low and behold, a Zappos plug for our very own Steve Madden Arizonna purple fringe suede boot. Mrs. Rancic added another little ‘get thee to the site’ shopping twist, by mentioning that the shoe is a favorite of everyone’s teen queen favorite, Miley Cyrus. So folks, when you are making your list and checking it twice, noting who is naughty and nice, remember it’s Z to the A to the P to the P to the O to the S, which of course, means sanity for all, that and your shopping can remain stressless.

SIGERSON MORRISON, BULLSEYE

Target has done it again, the designer coup this time is the New York based designing duo Sigerson Morrison. The duo known for their stylish, ‘I can walk all over Manhattan’ flats, funky boots, edgy booties, brings their fabulous flair to Target with a line of styles that runs the gamut from embellished flats to d’Orsay-inspired velvet pumps. Sigerson Morrison is quoted in Target’s print ads as saying, “to us, designing a rocking, edgy, totally affordable shoe is the best kind of challenge.” For the masses, that is the best reason to buy them, well that and Target’s motto of expect more and pay less.

HONG KONG ITALIAN STYLE

DSQUARED2 is bouncing everywhere lately – Paris and Milan for fashion weeks, and lately, Hong Kong, to open a new 2,727 square foot, two-level store at Central On-Lan Street. The store has ready-to-wear clothes and accessories, and also fitting rooms with leather-trimmed doors surrounded by tree trunks and birch trees. It can’t be a DSQUARED2 store without a touch of wood, great clothes, amazing accessories and fabulously eclectic decorations.

Shoe Encyclopedia: Now you Know More than Most!

By now you’d think the shoe encyclopedia would be running out of words and phrases. Worry not, my shoe-savvy friends. There are still plenty more shoe terms to fill up your shoe-thirsty mind. In the last lesson, you learned about static dissipating footwear, a moisture-control compound called Dri-Lex, vegetarian shoes and Jodhpur boots that were made for equestrian activities. This lesson will teach you about the lift you get when wearing your favorite skimmers. It will also teach you about a special process in creating shoe soles, a type of leather derived from horses and a thin lining created for warmth.

Lift
When creating a heel for lifting a shoe, there are several layers of leather or leather-board used. A lift is one of those various layers. A lift can be used in many types of shoes, including skimmers , wedge boots , cowboy boots , and many more styles and types. A lift can be contained in both men’s and women’s shoe styles.

Injection Molded Construction
This term sounds like it may have something to do with building a house. However, the facts are quite the contrary. This type of construction is instead related to shoes. Injection molded construction is one process for making shoe soles. In this process, melted PVC (or another similar compound) is injected into the sole mold. This method is most often used during mass shoe production.

Cordovan
No, this is not some new type of gas-saving van everyone will soon be taking over the roads with. Although, inventing one of those may not be such a bad idea. Back to the shoes, cordovan is actually leather derived from the rear side of horses. When this type of leather goes through tannage, it turns into a black cherry color. Cordovan is used both to describe this type of leather, as well as to describe the color.

Minktex
Minktex is a type of lining. The lining is lightweight, but allows for comfort and warmth, due to an open cell foam rubber that it backs. Minktex can be featured in boots or other footwear and can be part of a removable lining.

CRAVINGS - POINTY FLATS

Ladies, who doesn’t love an attractive, elegant flat? What other shoe brings Funny Face, Roman Holiday and Sabrina to mind faster than a dainty, pointy toe flat? It is chic and comfortable, can be dresssed up or down, and appeals to the edgy and uptown crowd alike. The Couture Team loves a great flat to pair with our A-line dresses, our sweater coats, tees and leggings or our jeans and a henley. What are we loving right now? Elie Tahari Gabby Snake Embossed flat, Sigerson Morrison Low Cut Side Flat with Embellished Pouf, Michael Kors Gold Metallic Flat with Bamboo-inspired Buckle, and Moschino Silver Metallic Flats with Side Cut Out Details and Flower Buckle with Stone Encrusted Center.

CRAVINGS - 'PUMP' AND CIRCUMSTANCE

Ah, the pump/stiletto, like a fine wine from an exceptional vintage, is a must-have accessory for every well-dressed woman’s wardrobe. We here at couture rank it up high amongst the LBD (little black dress), the Chanel quilted handbag, the pencil skirt and the Hermes scarf. Our picks are: Michael Kors Azurette , Kate Spade Kelley , Charles by Charles David Agatha and Miss Sixty Rachel .