Friday, June 29, 2007

Also, There Were Some Really Pretty Shoes

First of all, this:

is a bit of overkill.

Seriously, when a shoe looks like this... really don't need to sex it up for me. This is the sort of promotional technique one might want to save for things that you actually need to be talked into -- dentistry, for example, or getting your taxes done. That being said, it's not the worst way to encounter a shoe.

There were two or three other such, um, displays at the Manolos & Martinis event at Neiman Marcus last night. The beefcake & shoes were more easily available than the martinis (which were pink, by the way, and garnished with fruit of some sort, leading me to believe they weren't actually martinis). There was one cater-waiter who would periodically dash into the shoe department from I couldn't quite tell where (it looked as if he were coming from somewhere among the perfume counters -- perhaps the factices are actually filled with flavored vodka instead of colored water, which would make it a lot more fun to be a fragrance SA) with three glasses on a tray, which were invariably snapped up before he got anywhere near me. Just as well -- it's dangerous for me to drink around the shoes, and I don't usually have good luck with pink things in martini glasses. (I crossed them off the list after a truly disastrous cosmopolitan in a bar near Picadilly Circus in London two years ago.)

So, probably for the best I wasn't drinking when I ran into these...

... 'cause I wobbled a little in my Dodos when I saw them, even stone-cold sober. Oh, my goodness. Those are right up Style Spy's alley, aren't they? Black and white snakeskin, red leather heels and trim, and that gorgeous little red silk ribbon tassel... say it with me, now: swooooon!!! Also, those red ones with the pickstitching behind them aren't too shabby, either.

Speaking of snake, look at these:

Black and white watersnake. Good googly-moogly. The snakeskin of these boots is so thin & flexible I actually thought it was fabric at first. Stunning.

Behold the perfect slingbacks:

In red patent, of course with their black kidskin cousins behind them.

Sooooooo sexy:

Gunmetal gray leather in a highly polished metallic finish -- these things are so gorgeous. I don't even wear gray or silver (ever) but I wanted these shoes. There's been a lot of this "liquid metal" finish on shoes & bags the last season or so, and this is absolutely the best version I've seen. It tends to actually be too bright and shiny in regular silver or gold -- this pewter color was elegant and exciting at the same time.

These gorgeous things...

are aubergine patent. I had to put one on to get a photo of it (my red sandal was lurking jealously in the background) because they're so strappy and complicated that you can't really tell what's going on until you get a foot in them. (They're so strappy and complicated that it took me a good five minutes to figure out how to get them on my foot. But I'm sure if I owned them I'd work out a more efficient technique.)

And that brings us back to these:

which are one of this season's versions of Blahnik's perennial favorite, the jeweled d'Orsay pump, the shoes made famous in an episode of "Sex and the City." (And the prices have come up considerably since Carrie had hers stolen at a baby shower. Ah, the good old days.) The fabric is a metallic brocade that is figured like a reptile skin. I've been thinking that I'd really like a pair of these shoes -- they're classics that would go with pretty much any evening outfit I'll ever own for the rest of my life, and special enough that even a borderline ensemble will be turned into something wonderful just by being associated with them (sort of like some men I've dated). I think I'd like to hold out for the gold leather ones (fabric shoes make me nervous generally -- I'm one of those people who frequently kicks her heels together when walking, so the fabric gets scarred up), but if you're looking for a gorgeous classic with a twist, these are the ticket.

There were lots more pretty shoes there, Neiman Marcus carries an extensive selection of Manolo Blahniks (even at our teeny store in Austin) and these offerings are there for a trunk show. (The trunk show means that you have to order the shoes from the store -- they have display stock, but once you've fallen in love they have to order the shoes in your size.) If you want to see the pretties for yourself, stop in and ask for Ted -- he'll very sweetly help you out. And thanks to the kind folks there for allowing me to take photos -- customer service is really above and beyond at Neiman's.

Have a great weekend everyone! Wear your prettiest shoes for a while, even if it's just around the house. I promise, it'll make everything more fun.

Photos: Style Spy

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

Shopportunity -- June 28

Net-A-Porter is having an enormous sale right now. There is a LOT of good stuff on sale for under $200 there, including these three fantastico DVF dresses:

A truly lovely Philip Lim blouse:

This faboo Norma Kamali top:

(I know, I know, I'm out of control!!!)

This oh-so-pretty and easy to wear Calypso dress:

(Which is a measly 75 bucks, by the way!)

And this cardigan, which I have a pretty serious crush on:

There are also shoes. Adorable Miu Miu flat mary janes:

And some pretty swell Michael Kors espadrilles:

(Those bronze Kors espies are under $50!!! Go get some!!!!)

Some seriously good deals available, go check 'em out.


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Happy Shoe Cha-Cha-Cha

Yippeee!! This afternoon I get to head up to Neiman Marcus for the "Manolos & Martinis" event, which is a preview of the Fall 2007 Blahnik Collection. Very excited about this, because we know there are fewer things I enjoy more than sipping alcoholic beverages and looking at pretty shoes. Looking. Not buying. There will be no purchasing on the Style Spy Agenda today. I'm not sure if they'll let me take pictures or not, but I'm sure gonna ask, and if they do you'll see them all here!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Battling the Drearies

Oh, lordy, it is wet around here. I mean it has been raining and raining and raining. Here in south-central Texas we don't normally get this much rain at this time of year -- we actually set a record one day last week. Rainrainrain and Style Spy is starting to get a little low in her mind, if you know what I mean. I'm a sunshine girl -- a full-on Leo who wants sunlight & chirping birds and whatnot. The rain is gettin' me dooooooooown. Ya know what might cheer me up, though? This:

It's from L.A.M.B. and I saw it in a magazine a while ago & fell in love. (Again with that leopard-print thing I'm having! I do not know what's come over me!) Sadly, they seem to be sold out of them at Nordstrom's, so I decided to see what else is out there.

Oh, my. Ohmyohmyohmy. Now THAT is what I'm talkin' about. Trouble is, THAT is Dolce & Gabbana and little girls on No Buys cannot have Dolce & Gabbana trench coats. (But if you want one, just click on the link, same as with all these photos.) Not that one, and not this beautiful D& G thing, either:

(Even if it is on sale!) No, someone like myself must pursue a more budget-friendly alternative.

A more muted leopard-print for those who like something a little more subtle.

Dennis Basso for QVC -- an extremely reasonable $58.

More Dennis Basso, even more reasonable at $52.

Nearly perfect from, of course, DVF.

I'm a big fan of coats, as I believe I've mentioned before. I think a fun coat is a great way to add oomph to an outfit. The last couple of years have been really outstanding for lightweight coats & jackets; I don't think we've had a topcoat bonanza like this since the early 60s. I'm an especially big fan of the trench coat, which has a universally-flattering shape to it. (Not to mention the inherent I'm-secretly-a-double-agent coolness of them.) I actually have three trench coats of my own: red, cream, and black patent (PVC, actually). It is one of the great unfortunate ironies of my life that while I adore all things coat-and-jacket, I live in a climate where I only need them 4 days out of the year. Okay, I'm exaggerating there, but let me tell you -- that black PVC number only comes out when it's wet AND chilly -- you talk about a sauna with sleeves! (I guess I could always do the flasher thing and wear just the coat.)

I'm on the lookout for more fabulous animal-print trenches -- if you spot any (get it??) be sure to let me know!


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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tom Who?

Tom Ford left Gucci in 2004, which prompted much hand-wringing and moaning throughout the fashion world. I've honestly never been that big a fan of Ford's. I don't think he's a hack, like Elie Saab, and he's certainly a more talented designer than, say, me. (Or any number of other folks who actually are designers.) But I never quite got what all the foofaraw over him was about. Ford certainly does have a Vision, and it involves long skinny people with skin so sleek and shiny it looks like they're made of neoprene wearing long skinny clothes that are usually even sleeker and shinier. If all goes to plan, said long sleek people will at some point in the evening be indulging in some sort of vaguely de Sade-ian sexual activity, preferably in non-traditional gender and numerical combinations. Like this:

(Above photos are from a W magazine photo spread in 2005)

Don't get me wrong, I like a nice bum as much as the next gal, but jeez... all that self-conscious decadence just exhausts me. While it's all well & good to stride forcefully through life plotting stiletto-inflicted mayhem and wrongdoing,

(Go ahead, laugh. It's funny.)

most of us just want pretty clothes that make us look nice and that we can wear getting in & out of automobiles without pulling a Paris or a Britney. (No, no links to photos, absolutely not.) Enter Frida Giannini, who's been designing Gucci since the Spring 2006 collection. Maybe it's because Giannini is a real-life woman rather than a "Visionary," but the stuff at Gucci has gotten remarkably wearable over the last few seasons and I for one am loving it. It is still unmistakably Gucci, no doubt -- even the most ho-hum daywear has a glam element in that house -- but the last few shows have been chock-full of looks that made me want to buy Frida a cocktail. I was really taken with the latest Resort Collection. Theoretically, it sounds pretty goofy -- a rockabilly-themed resort collection with coral-print accents and lots of plaid. But honestly, it really works. It's a lot of black and white with brightly-colored accents, very graphic and bold, which is right up my alley, with a slightly retro feel. And incredibly wearable, I thought. Lots of shapes that are flattering to a wide variety of body types. Look at this beauty of a dress:

That is a really lovely thing that almost anyone would look great in. It gives you a waist, has a nice swingy skirt, and all that great vertical seaming/colorblocking creates lots of long lines. I, of course, would wear that with red patent shoes. But you already knew that.

Here's me with my leopard-print thing again, but dangit -- that's just cool!! Skinny pants are oh-so-difficult for the vast majority of the population, but this shirtdress is long enough to cover all the problem areas and still look terrifically hip. And I love the kick of color in those orange inserts at the bottom -- so unexpected and fun.

I can't even tell you how in love I am with this outfit. I don't have to explain why, do I? It's just divine.

And ditto this dress. Seriously, this would look great on just about anyone. Simple, easy, elegant.

I'm a sucker for a good coat and a graphic pattern, and this really punches my ticket. Look at those great sleeves, that add just enough femme to a very structured, tailored shape.

So. Damn. Cute.

Here's a shorter version of the coat, and if you're not waif-like enough to pull off those pants, it's also going to look great over jeans, or a black shift dress (or any color shift dress), or a good pencil skirt and blouse, or a nice a-line skirt, or... you get the idea. Fantastic jacket. So sorry, Tom, but I don't miss ya at Gucci. (And I really don't miss him at YSL, where Stefano Pilati is making my heart beat faster with every passing season.)

(It's hard for me to be nostalgic for this.)

Tom's keeping plenty busy -- he's done a makeup collection for Estée Lauder and has opened a swanky new men's store in New York, not to mention releasing about 974 fragrances under his own name, so don't you worry about him. He still has plenty of Vision left. And he's going to keep foisting it on us whether we want it or not.


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Monday, June 25, 2007

The Healing Process

Cradling the shoebox in both hands, I entered my shoe guy's store today and said, "Something bad happened."

And David looked at them, made appropriately sympathetic noises, and then instantly performed five minutes of magic on the heel of my recently-sullied sandal:

It's not perfect, but you have to be up pretty close to the damage to see that it's there. And when you think about it, it's very rare that anyone is closer than five feet or so to another person's shoes. Even if you're standing right next to them, you still have to look down.

And so I'm feeling a lot better. The healing process (I would like a few kudos for resisting the obvious and terrible pun) has begun. Me and my Dodos are war buddies now -- we sustained some injuries, but we came out the other side and our relationship is all the more meaningful for having been through it together.

The really beauty part? David didn't even charge me. He's so sweet. So. If you live in Austin & you need some work done on your shoes, here's where you go:

Abraham's Shoe Repair
11005 Burnet Road #103
Austin TX 78758
(The Donut Store is not part of the repair business, although that might be interesting...)

Go in, have a chat with David. He's the nicest guy. And while I was there today, I ran this issue by him, that a reader had sent in:

I recently bought some cute, brown leather flats from Nine West for work. They squeak when I walk. I have discovered the squeaking comes from when I put pressure on the heel. Is there anything I can do for this?

David says he'd really have to look at the shoe to figure out exactly what's going on -- chances are that there is something on the inside of the heel that's loose & rubbing together when you step down on it, hence the squeaking. Unfortunately, probably the only way to fix this is to take the shoe apart, and I don't know if you want to make that much of a commitment. However, Squeaky Shoe Syndrome is one of the most annoying afflictions you can be burdened with south of the ankles, so it may be worth it to you.

Thanks for all those who sent sympathy and lit candles for my poor mutilated Manolo. You're all very sweet.

Photos: Style Spy,

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Sin of Pride

My Dodos:

Aren't they beautiful? I've had them for weeks now and not worn them. Not worn them out, I mean, I have periodically put them on and capered around the house in them, spending a lot of time checking out my own feet in the mirror. But last night I was going out to dinner with a friend and I decided to give them their maiden voyage. I had a few reservations because it rained off & on all day yesterday and these shoes, while gorgeous, are not what you'd call sturdy. As a matter of fact, my at-home capering had pretty well convinced me that these were shoes to wear when I didn't have to do much besides stand (or sit, even better) around & look nice. The heels are very high & spindly, and there is absolutely no padding in the forefoot. It's a few very beautiful layers of leather and that is it. I've put little silicone pads in the shoes, but there's only so much that will help.

But they looked beautiful and I felt great in them and swanned about all evening knowing that I had the best shoes in any room I was in, quite possibly the best shoes in downtown Austin. That's a nice feeling.

We had dinner, walked somewhere for a couple more glasses of wine, strolled around downtown Austin a tiny bit on our way back to the parking garage where my friend's car was located. I walked carefully. I always walk carefully. This is the great downside, for me anyway, of the fabulous shoes. Sidewalks are treacherous. Cobblestones are deadly. A crack in the asphalt can mean ruin. And I am not the sort of person who can meet a Serious Shoe Tragedy with A) humor and equanimity or B) readily available replacement funds.

And I was almost home free -- I mean I was literally 20 feet from the elevator that would take us to the parking deck, when I felt it happen.

Heel into a crack I didn't even see. I honestly think I felt this happen in the roots of my soul -- I knew before I even looked at the shoe that it was a disaster.

There has been no weeping and tearing of hair. But I woke up today and it was honestly the first thing I thought about. (Actually the first thing I thought was, too much wiiiiiiiine, but that's mostly just about the way my tongue had been turned into cardboard.) I'm pretty upset about it. The heel can be fixed, not as good as new, but the tear is pretty clean, not very big, and all of the leather is still there. I'm going to take the shoe to my new shoe guy and beg him with tears in my eyes to make her as pretty as she can be once again.

I'm really wishing those Smartheels thingies would have worked right now, although they weren't supposed to be used on patent anyway.

So I'm upset, but mostly I'm feeling philosophical. I'm trying to suss out just exactly what the Universe is trying to teach me through these shoes. Pride goeth before the fall? Don't get uppity? Possessions are only things and I should have nothing in my life that I am not prepared to do without? Is this a Big-Picture kinda thing that I need to know or more shoe-specific: stop buying those expensive hoof covers!

I don't know. All I know is that it's Sunday morning, I'm a little hung over, and my shoes have a big bad boo-boo. Also:

The straps left red stains across my insteps. (Which are actually a little brighter than in this photo, the flash washed them out.) The hell????

Photos: Style Spy

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Prada Elves

Behold the Prada Elves creating Beauty:

(I do recommend that you turn down the volume on your computer so as not to have to listen to the extremely tiresome music accompanying it. I would have been a lot happier with a V.O. narrative explaining what they're doing, but I'll just look at the pretty pictures and wipe the drool from my chin.)

This little treat goes a ways toward answering the question: "Why are those shoes so $%$@! expensive??" First off, notice the quality of those croc skins at the beginning of the video -- gorgeous colors, and they look soft as butter. Also, while this is a semi-automated process, there is still a LOT of handwork involved in making those shoes. Handwork = $$. (Also, handwork = much nicer shoes.) And what's with that blow-gun, hairdryer-lookin' thingie? Are they patent-izing those boots? I'm dying to know!

Maybe I should look into a summer internship at the Prada shoe factory. Do you think the employees get a discount?

(Thanks to the Manolo for the heads-up on this one. I pretty blatantly just stole this post.)

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Friday Fashion Humor

Okay, this photo just cracks me up:

Lindsay Lohan takes time out of her busy rehab schedule to go hang out with the Prince of Darkness' creepy uncle.

You know I love you, Karl, but the starlets have got to go.


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Monday, June 18, 2007

This Next

The Want Monster growls. Come fall, these are on The List:

Oh, yeah, as soon as I'm allowed to shop again (not until after my next birthday), I'm going after these bad boys. Provided I can find them, of course. The above showed up in Vogue a month or so ago and made my little heart go pitter-pat, but I haven't seen them anywhere yet. I spoke with an SA at the Madison Avenue Miu Miu boutique, but they don't have them and aren't getting them, so I'm going to have to call "corporate" to find out where they're hiding these little sweeties. (Seriously, if anyone stumbles across them, please let me know.) They have them in black at Saks:

but the black ones don't excite me, of course, the way the red patent ones do. (The way to Style Spy's heart is red patent just about anything, as we all know.) I want the red ones to wear under pants, and to wear with skirts and tights. Oooooooh, how cute would my leopard print dress be with black tights and a little black jacket and those boots? Pretty darned, is how cute. I'm also pretty excited about them because they look a very similar shoe to my Miu Miu mary janes, which are so incredibly comfy.

And here I must stop to make a confession. I bought another pair of the Miu Mius. (You may have noticed them in the leopard dress post.) I didn't break my No Buy, these were the shoes that
inspired the No Buy, because I got them and the red Manolos on the same weekend. Therefore my credit cards went into cardiac arrest and I am banned from shopping for... a while. This means that I have them in blue:

and black: Yes. I am a thoroughly ridiculous creature. In my defense, may I just say that A) the black ones were very on sale and B) I find myself wearing these shoes all the time. They are seriously some of the most comfortable shoes I own. That nice roomy toe box with the beautiful almond-shaped toe has at least half an inch of padding in it, and they are fantastic to walk in. Light as a feather. It looks to me like those cutie-patootie booties may be made in a similar way, based on the shape of them, which would make me love them even more. I've tried on a lot of Miu Miu shoes and I really love the way they fit my feet. Louboutins are made on too narrow a last to suit me, but Mius Mius (and Pradas) really work. Miuccia and I are sole mates, methinks. (Me also thinks Miuccia has the not-so-tiny feets.)

At any rate, those are my fall shoe plans. I don't really have any other ones, especially since my calendar has a tentative trip to Paris on it, but looking forward to those will get me through a summer of shoe drought.
What's on your radar? Any must-haves? What's the Want Monster torturing you with?

Photos: Vogue,, Style Spy,

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Still Fluttering

You may recall some time ago when I raved about this stuff:

Max Factor Lash Perfection Mascara

and then a nice lady then sent me a bunch of other products to try, including this:

Max Factor Volume Couture Mascara

I've now used the full tube of the Volume Couture and I'm here to report. My report is: it's good, but I like the Lash Perfection better.

If I'd never tried the Lash Perfection, I'd probably really love this stuff, but there's a few ways in which it just isn't right for me. First of all -- the "volumizing" formula. I can honestly say there is not a single part of my entire physical being that needs more "volume." (Mine goes to eleven!) "Volumizing" means "thickening" and therefore the formula for this mascara is a little goopier than the Lash Perfection. I don't want my eyelashes volumized -- I'm fortunate in that I actually have quite a lot of eyelashes, so they don't need thickening. Lengthening and separating, those are my mascara needs. I want a mascara that covers every lash from bottom to top and that doesn't clump together. I hate the clumping together. The Volume Couture, let me hasten to add, is not clumpy, but the tiny spikes on the brush are further apart than the ones on the Lash Perfection wand, so I had to work a lot harder to get all my eyelashes separated.

See? Volume Couture brush on the left, Lash Perfection on the right. (I love these little bristly brushes; I'm never, ever going back to a mascara that uses a spoolie brush.) I did use a LP brush with the VC mascara with more success, so the brush is really the dealbreaker in this for me. Neither of these mascaras is flaky, which as a contact lens wearer I greatly appreciate (flaky mascara is the bane of my existence), and they both wash off easily with soap & water. I haven't tried the waterproof formulas (again, contact lenses).

One complaint, and I have this complaint with pretty much every mascara: I don't like the way the brushes taper to a point at the end. I understand that the reason for this is so that you can get at the small lashes at the corners of your eyes, but that narrowing of the brush means that the collar on the inside of the mascara tube doesn't squeeze off the excess at the end. This results in a big gob of mascara that I have to wipe off on a tissue, meaning probably half of any tube of mascara I buy winds up in the trash can; and that gobbiness renders the little pointed bit kind of useless at performing its function to begin with. This makes me unhappy, especially the wasteful part. My ideal mascara would be double-ended, like some lip glosses, and one end would have a regular-sized wand and the other end would have a teenie wand for corners, each of them with interior collars that were sized accordingly. Isn't that a good idea? You heard it here first, folks.

Gobby-endedness aside, I think these are great mascaras, especially the Lash Perfection, and they are gettable at the drugstore or supermarket for less than 8 bucks. In a schwag bag I got earlier this spring I received a sample of a Chanel mascara that goes for a cool $27.50, and I didn't like it as much as the Max Factor. So go getcha some, and get your flutter on!

PS... Here's a late-breaking review sent by Robin, who was the winner of the giveaway for a tube of Volume Couture -- she's been wearing it for a few weeks now:

"The mascara is absolutely fantastic. I like it much, much more than my expensive goopy stuff from Sephora. As a contact lens wearer myself, this is so much better. Exactly what you have said about the flakiness and the ease of washing off. That it comes off so easily is my favorite thing about it... it stays on all day, but when you wash your face at night there are no raccoon eyes or makeup remover to content with. Thank you so much for sending it to me, as it is probably not a product I would have picked up on my own."

Photos:, Style Spy

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Objet d'Art

For anyone who might (impossibly) still not be convinced that shoes are not merely things to put on your feet so you can walk on hot asphalt, but beautiful pieces of art worthy of study and adoration, I present Proof of My Beliefs:

Glorious. Downright iconic, is what that is.

Taken by my wonderful friend
John Langford, professional photographer extraordinaire. I lent John some shoes to play with for a week, and this is one of the results. I'll show you some more later, but I had to share this amazing shot of one of my favorite shoes of all time. How gorgeous is that?

(The shoe is a Stuart Weitzman Lady in Red Quasar, in case you're wondering or keeping track.)

The foot is a very utilitarian thing. Feet in and of themselves are not actually that pretty. Maybe that's why we love shoes so much -- because they take a body part we cannot do without, that can plague us to pieces (says the woman who hasn't been able to walk without pain in almost a year), that is the most (oh, forgive me) pedestrian of limbs and make it exquisite. The Cinderella myth is a very deep one, and I feel very strongly that the fact that it's a
shoe on which the whole thing hinges is not a coincidence. The right shoe makes a princess out of a scullery maid -- and we know that instinctively.

What's your favorite pair of shoes? Send me pictures & tell me about them -- I really want to know!

Photo: John Langford

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