31 July 2009

idle(prattle): how paris hilton changed my life

Last month I read a NYT article that declared that if you are going to the Barneys New York shoe department and wear "either a size 5 or a size 10, the world is your oyster; virtually any shoe will be glowing and untouched before you, like a mythical elf treasure in World of Warcraft." Preaching to the choir. Finally thankful for my shoe size. Growing up, my shoe size went along with my grade level. My first recognition of this was in the sixth grade. While other girls were still shopping in the girls section, I had made my way up to the womens' racks with a size 6. And it went on this way. In the seventh grade, size 7. Eighth grade, size 8. Ninth grade, size 9. I remember wishing beyond hope that it would stop there. I just did not want to enter into double digit territory. My mother told me it was okay because I was tall. But then I went to summer camp between 7th and 8th grade and met a girl my height. She was a 5. All hope was abandoned. I settled into the 10-ish range.

The only good thing about wearing a size ten was that none of my friends wore the same size, which meant no sharing. Other than that, I felt like I was banished to the end of the universe whenever shoe shopping.  For all you 'regular' size women, you may not have noticed that all the 10+ sizes are always situated on the outside aisle or in dark corners. And it is just not my internal craziness running wild. Anytime I would tell another woman my size, I would get this look of pity or a sharp gasp, as if saying - My dear, I am so sorry you were cursed with banana boat feet. But this was much nicer than the flat out "eew" that I sometimes got.

By college, I referred to my size in EU and UK measurements. I thought I could blend; EU were all double digits and UK knocked me down to singles. The really strange thing is that I am not tied to the number attached to my clothes. I could care less and if you looked inside my closet you would swear that it was shared by four or five different people. But at the end of the day, I had major issues about my big feet. It seems that asking a woman her shoe size is like asking her age...the bigger the number the more resistance.

So how does Paris fit into all of this? No, I've never met her. One day I walked into a Chanel boutique in Las Vegas. I wandered into the shoe section and started chatting with the salesgirl. She was gushing about how their boutique had this one shoe and it was the only store in the city. Okay, let's try it on. What size do you wear? Once again because of my issues, I had gotten into the habit of prefacing my answer with - I have big feet, I wear a size...41 or 42. She quickly responded back with - You know Paris Hilton wears an 11 so don't worry about it.

It is not that I found comfort imagining Paris clomping around with her big feet. It was more of how this total stranger (commission check or not) told me not to worry about my big feet. No cringing. For years, I second guessed every pointy toe shoe that crossed my path. I had avoided white shoes, thinking they would only make them look bigger; purposely stayed away from flats, thinking they would only make them look longer. For some reason, I left my shoe size insecurities on the floor of Chanel. Sounds more dramatic saying it like that, right?

It is human nature that when we find out that someone (especially a "celebrity") has the same secret/issue as us, we feel some kind of connection. You know that if you had webbed toes and then you found out that Gisele had them too, you would be like Z.O.M.G. me too! And then tell everyone who had anything to say about you and your webbed toes - Oh yeah, well guess who else has webbed toes? However, in my case Paris is not the best representative to use,

Size 10
Tyra Banks, Lauren Ambrose, Asia Argento, Ciara, Cindy Crawford, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jenna Elfman, Katie Holmes, Jerry Hall, Shalom Harlow, Teri Hatcher, Elizabeth Jagger, Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis, Jemma Kidd, Heidi Klum, Lucy Lawless, Ananda Lewis, Eva Mendes, Mandy Moore, Beth Ostrosky, Laura Prepon, Francesca "Frankie" Rayder, Krysten Ritter, Lela Rochon, Monica Seles, Stephanie Seymour, Maria Sharapova, LeeLee Sobieski, Martha Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor , Liv Tyler, Gabrielle Union, Meredith Vieira, Sigourney Weaver, Serena Williams

Size 10.5
Audrey Hepburn , Nicky Hilton, Oprah Winfrey

Size 11
Nona Gaye, Steffi Graf, Famke Janssen, Evangeline Lilly, Missi Pyle, Meg Ryan, Uma Thurman, Venus Williams, Kate Winslet

Size 11.5
Gabrielle Reece, Wendy Williams, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras

Size 12
Kristanna Loken, Elle MacPherson, Michelle Wie

21 July 2009

18 July 2009

brief(critique): work your feet

Admit it, we all have those bad shoes nights. Sometimes the shoe that has taken you literally miles without a fatal flaw can turn on you without warning. I am constantly rotating pads in and out of my shoes and have a pair of wooden shoes stretchers at the ready. Really good shoes should not be painful to walk in, but high heels can cause major problems for the feet, back and knees, including bunions, hammer toes and disc degeneration. Experts recommend not wearing heels above 1.5 inches if you are planning on doing a lot of walking. Scoff. We both know that 1.5 just won't do. For all of us who insist on wearing skyscrapers, here are some tips:

  • Platforms and wedges, are more foot-friendly than typical stilettos, doctors say. Platforms provide extra support, help distribute weight more evenly and put less pressure on your toes and balls of your feet. However, the limited sole flexibility of the wedge increases the risk of rolling your ankle over the side.
  • Most sculpted heels are made to be seen, not walked in. Always carry a pair of flats in your bag, and wear the heels once you get to the party or office.
  • A heeled boot gives you the height plus more support around your ankles.
  • When buying a shoes, hold it at the heel and toe areas. The sole should be flexible and bend at the front of the arch but have a stiff bottom through the arch.
  • The heel should be directly underneath the center of your heel. If it is too far forward or at the back of the shoe, you'll have balance problems.
  • Make sure the toe area is wide enough through the ball of your foot. Also, look for false fronts....a pointy-toe shoe with an area that is much longer than your toes has a false front. It keeps your toes from being squished.
  • Test a shoe for cushioning by pressing a finger into the ball area. It should have a little give or a slightly padded feel. Also, something I have never forgotten from my mother - always take a potential pair of shoes for a test run off the carpet that is typically in the shoe department. 
  • Avoid synthetics. Wear shoes with leather, suede, or fabric uppers. These materials breathe, which lessens the chance of blistering.

If you spend a lot of time in heels, it is also important to stretch your Achilles tendon, toes and calves before and after each wearing. The American Podiatric Medical Association offers these suggestions:

  • Stretch your arch, either by placing a towel around the ball of your foot and gently pulling with your hands, or by standing in front of a wall and slightly leaning forward until you feel your arches stretch.
  • Strengthen toes by placing a toe separator between them and squeezing toes together for five seconds; do it 10 times. Or, wrap toes with a rubber band and spread against the resistance.
  • Grab a golf ball or other similar-sized ball, and place it on the floor under your bare feet. Gently roll it around under your feet.
  • Stand up on the balls of your feet and hold for five seconds; do this 10 times.
  • Stand with feet flat, then one at a time lift your heel from the floor and roll weight into the ball of your with your toes pointing down. Flex your foot, hold, and repeat on each foot.

16 July 2009

design(mode): louis vuitton

Before Kanye West took over the music world and we found out about his love affair with Louis Vuitton, he was one of the musicians that I accidentally discovered. You know the one that you realize will be huge and then you can look back as the rest of the world is just catching up and say - whatever, I knew about him years ago. The very first song that I remember him actually rapping on was Champions which is a remix of Queen's version. It features Kanye with Dame Dash, Beanie Sigel, Cam'ron, Young Chris & Twista. I remember Dame hyping Kanye on the record saying that even though he was a producer, he rapped better than most in the game. This was in 2002. This started my hunt for more and I found a mix tape called Kon The Louis Vuitton Don. This was before College Dropout was released.

As you can see, the Louis Vuttion logo is plastered all over the cover. I am not sure if this was authorized by LV (I am thinking not) but Kanye had an early fascination with the brand whether they liked it or not. Unlike other celebrities who have been sued by Louis Vuitton for trademark infringement,  it obviously worked out for both parties because we have heard for awhile about Kanye coming out with a LV men’s shoe line.

  "They chose to contact me. Who wouldn't want to work with Louis Vuitton? They're the number-one luxury brand. It lets people know you like nice things. I want to be the type of designer that inspires people, not follow other ideas. I want to be as innovative as Marc Jacobs has been. I want to go from being a fashion plate to being an innovator. This collaboration is a dream come true. I'm a walking billboard but to be able to now create something from scratch is amazing."  
- Kanye West via DazedDigital

His designs debuted at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year and officially went on sale July 1st. Three shoes make up the collection - the Don's, Mr Hudson and the Jasper’s. This month, GQ has a spread of Kanye wearing them. But truth be told, I am not really into sneakers. There have been many points in my life where I could claim that I didn't even own a pair. But I can accept that there are people who love their trainers - including my fiancé. This is the only type of fashion he actually gets excited about - and the occassional hat. So here is to him and his kind.

from thestylemusings.com
shoe photo cred: high snobiety

15 July 2009

front(lines): vuitton in space

Next Monday marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, the first lunar landing. And Louis Vuitton is celebrating in a major way. You have probably already seen the new space themed advertising featuring Buzz Aldrin, Sally Ride and Jim Lovell. If not, pop on over to Louis Vuitton Journeys. The website is interactive featuring interviews and videos. The three astronauts (and the Louis Vuitton Icare travel bag) were photographed by Annie Leibovitz in the California desert. The Icare bag is named after Icarus, the hero of Greek mythology who dies when he flies too close to the sun. Antoine Arnault, Vuitton’s head of communications, says he thought “what a nice symbol and coincidence! We are representing these people who went closer to the sun than anybody.”

All three astronauts donated a “significant” portion of their modeling fee to Al Gore’s Climate Project, as well as Louis Vuitton's undisclosed amount. To go along with this Ogilvy & Mather created campaign, Vuitton also unveiled the custom-made “Malle Mars” trunk.

"The robotic, space age-looking piece opens in multiple places, unveiling a variety of compartments and drawers, fully equipped to carry various essential items. Medication, tools, picnic wares, and more…plus a folding lounge chair for leisurely account of the Martian landscape."

This previous Monday the opened the exhibit with a celebration at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, which is part of the American Museum of Natural History in NYC, where the trunk is also on display.

Buzz Aldrin, Louis Vuitton North America President Daniel Lalonde and Jim Lovell

14 July 2009

mag(rac): harper's bazaar

I love Alber Elbaz, his bow ties and especially his creations. If you haven't read the Harpers Bazaar article about him - Alber's Next Move, you should - it gives a very interesting perspective of him.

from thestylemusings.com

photo cred: jean-paul goude from harpers bazaar sept 07

12 July 2009

front(lines): luxe news

Berlin Fashion Week Shows a Raw Energy
Scattered slabs of concrete, still daubed with their original graffiti, are pertinent reminders that 2009 marks 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. But the cultural revolution that came with the fusion of the city’s East and West is even more visible as arty photographs in smart spaces, music pulsating from abandoned government buildings and fashion that reflects this hot, hip and happening city. (NYT)

Luxe Redux
They have the sepulchral feel of rediscovered tombs. Lavish. Silent. Undisturbed. Visiting luxury boutiques these days can seem like stepping into a time capsule, and in a sense, you are, as retail and marketing plans and products conceived during the bully days of early 2008 are still on display and feel, in this post-luxury age, as anachronistic and appealing as Zeppelin travel after the Hindenburg disaster. (Reuters)

Retailers focus on standout items to spur spending
Americans are increasingly shopping in their own closets for new looks, so merchants are diving in to help out.Clothing retailers are spotlighting a number of bold items this fall — from leather pants and jackets with structured shoulders to sequined tops and skirts — to persuade strapped consumers they can update their wardrobes without buying a new look head to toe. (AP)

US chain stores fail to escape gloom
Saks and Neiman Marcus, the luxury department stores, continued to struggle during the month. Neiman said its comparable-store sales had fallen 20.8 per cent. Saks's June comparable-store sales fell only 4.4 per cent as it benefited from the shift of a spring sales event that fell in May the year before. But comparable sales for May and June were down 15.2 per cent, it said. (FT)

Let crisis inspire haute couture
Fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier said on Wednesday tough times were triggers to think out of the box and that way haute couture will weather the world financial crisis. (Reuters)

Escada Is Optimistic of Rescue as Dressmaker Suffers
Escada AG Chief Executive Officer Bruno Saelzer said he’s optimistic investors will back a refinancing plan and avert insolvency at the German dressmaker whose celebrity clients include actress Katie Holmes. (Bloomberg)

Haute Couture Faces Uncertain Times
In the closeted world of satin and sequins that is Parisian haute couture, there is uncertainty about the future. (NYT)

Valentino Lenders Seek Debt Deal By End of Summer
Valentino Fashion Group's lenders, including UniCredit SpA, Mediobanca SpA and Citigroup Inc., are pressing the Italian luxury group to revise loan terms to allow the company to avoid defaulting on debt due in 2009, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Bloomberg)

Coach Is Now Traveling Coach
Long before today's handbag market became brand-saturated, Coach (COH) was synonymous with practical yet fashionable purses, designed for women who wanted bags made of quality leather that would hold up while they commuted to city centers or drove carpools. With this month's release of the budget-conscious Poppy line, Coach, a luxury-retail marvel once ridiculed for being stodgy, is increasingly associated with an entirely different—and notoriously fickle—population: teens, coeds, and grads. (Reuters)

Lunch with the FT: Manolo Blahnik
Financial Times' Vanessa Friedman interviews Manolo Blahnik:“Are shoes so important?” he asks. “Really? If I was a woman, I would be dressed in the same thing for a month and just change my hat and gloves. Maybe my shoes too; yes, I see what you mean but, really, it’s jewels that change an outfit. And I do love gloves. And I adddore hats. There are toooo many shoes now. I always tell the children,” – Blahnik is an honorary professor at the Royal College of Art and the “children” are his students – “‘Don’t do shoes! Do hats!’ And the shoes are so strange, so vulgar. I hate these platforms that are all over the place today; they are all about grabbing attention. They are suburban! I never do a platform. Well, I did, in the 1970s, but that was a bad experience.” (FT)

Italy's business 'showgirl' is not just a pretty face
Since taking over as leader of Confindustria, Mrs Marcegaglia - dubbed "Signora Steel" for her toughness and industry provenance - has surprised many for her ability to get things done. (FT)

Chanel, Now and Then
Interview with Cathy Horyn: I asked Mr. Lagerfeld about the new collection, about staying current, and about those blog reports that he would leave Chanel and be replaced by Alber Elbaz of Lanvin. Mr. Lagerfeld said to forget about it. He was going to die with his boots on. He also mentioned that Alain Wertheimer, whose family owns Chanel, said he would sell the house when the designer leaves. This might not be the case, Mr. Lagerfeld said, but it was a nice thing to be told. (NYT)

11 July 2009

ciné(screen): alice in wonderland

oh dear. I've meaning to post these and found them as I was cleaning my folder. They are from Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland to be released next year. I am so excited to see this movie.

photo cred: walt disney pictures

09 July 2009

design(mode): on aura tout

On Aura Tout Autumn/Winter 2009/10 Paris Haute Couture Collection

If Mother Nature Wore Couture...

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