Archive for the ‘Chie Mihara Shoes’ Category
Ok, so my title is a bit over the top, but I’d rather perish than live an existence without shoe shopping. I may have cut down on my clothes shopping, but shoe shopping is a bare essential! I’ll be wearing a potato sack in Great Depression 2.0, but my shoes will gleam like a brand new shiny silver nickel, even if I have to cover Keds with aluminum foil or spray paint them silver!
In San Francisco, Gimme Shoes is one of my new favorite stores. They just have fantastic taste, rejecting vulgarity in favor of classic, classy styles. The lovely designer Louisa Parris told me she got some of her runway shoes for the Gen Art Fresh Faces in Fashion event from Gimme, and after several visits, I can see why. I stopped by the Gimme in Hayes Valley and saw this irresistible Belle by Sigerson Morrison origami flat and Repetto boot.
They are having a winter sale online where you can find the delicious likes of Loeffler Randall, Dries Van Noten, Chie Mihara, 3.1 Philip Lim and Yohji Yamamoto. Check it out here.
Have you ever found yourself enamoured of a particular style or trend while simultaneously finding yourself at a loss as to how to make it work within your own wardrobe and personal style?
Alas, that is my predicament with so-called ‘Spats’-styled boots; those boots with an add-on ankle cuff, or more commonly, an extremely extended cuff that falls all the way to the instep to ‘break’ at the top of the instep. The cuffs on this second style of boot are rather distinct and work just a touch of trompe l’oeil trickery that suggests either an actual removable spatted cuff or an illusory pant-leg that appears to be floating over the boot itself. I am definitely put in mind of the Givenchy ‘Gaiter’ boots from Jitterbugbaby’s (Fall 2008) Paris Runway Roundup post from earlier this year. And, since I have yet to encounter any naming consensus among shoe sites and fashion blog as to a definitive title for this type of boot, I have decided to stick with ‘Spats’ – it has a certain evocative appeal and works for me.
In my case, the first real example of this style that I encountered (outside of old black and white movies) was the now sold-out LAMB ‘Crowther’ which was available last fall. This was in fact a classic pump with a separate spat attachment. And, while I loved the look and convertibility of the shoe, I could not justify the purchase of this altogether adorable shoe. A year later I am still trying to find reasons that I could wear this and have almost come to turns with the fact that this shoe simply does not work within my personal wardrobe and everyday style. More’s the pity.
If you fancy this particular detachable ‘gaiter’ style, you can also purchase individual ‘Gaiterettes’ from LesFrivolities at Etsy.com. These are spats/gaiters that can easily be added to shoes or ankle boots that you already own. Prices range from $55.00 to $155.00 per handmade pair.
Next is a more casual offering, the LAMB ‘Zeyn Tex’ ($179.95 at Shoebuy.com). While I am not really a fan of this particular boot, it clearly illustrates the idea of the boot incorporating the actual trouser cuff or pants-leg as an integral part of the boot shaft itself.
What I now present to you is the result of several months of squirreling away these styles one-by-one into their own special favorites folder as I periodically encountered them online. For your inspection and in no particular order: Spats, spats, and more spats.
Materia Prima by Goffredo Fantini Style # ’4M4753′ $484 $228.85 in size 8/38 only.
(This is my size and is right up near the top of my list of most drool-worthy uber-spats.)
London Underground ‘Bit of Romance’ $164.99 at Shoes.com.
Confession time: Whatever the reason, I love this boot truly, madly, deeply.
These last two ankle boots are also really turning on my positive, feel-good vibes. I think it has something to do with the split, buttoned cut of the cuff that also conjures to my mind the Alfred Noyes poem ‘The Highwayman’; Such a romantic and dashing image that these boots conjure up in the imagination.
I’m thinking that with the right pair of brown Spats, and a warm wool Kinsale cloak, I might just have the perfect thing to wear during a long, cold winter. Maybe the key to Spats (at least in my case) is to embrace my anachronistic fashion tendencies and mix some period styles in with my modern wardrobe.
Of course, I still need someone else to guide me on what to wear with the LAMB Zeyn boots. That challenge continues to elude me.
I’ve wanted a pair of Chie Miharas for the longest time, but between their high retail price (in the $300s) and the abundance of high-heels styles she has produced of late, I’ve had a hard time deciding. So I’ve waited–for about 1 1/2 years, to be precise (that’s how much it takes me to mull over things). Finally, at some point last month I said, that’s it, I’m getting them! It may have helped that I had recently finished my PhD and the euphoria hadn’t worn off yet, plus my birthday was up, so I felt a slight sense of entitlement. I ponied up a LOT of cash for these (I got them from the lovely people at Ped Shoes, who, by the way, have a decent collection of interesting shoes), but I can say I don’t regret it: they’re gorgeous, and super-comfy, and go well with just about anything. Also? They come with heel replacements, which is just about the coolest thing in the world.
I live in a walker’s city, so naturally the (female) company I keep is of the, um, walking persuasion. And of course, of the fabulous footwear persuasion, too–it goes without saying. A recent friend I made, who is a slender, petite actress, asked me for some advice regarding shoes. “I love to walk around town,” she says, “and I’m on my feet a lot, but I also need to keep a polished look and I really need the height.” To accomplish that, she often resorts to wedges, but she wondered if there is more to life footwear than that. I’ll start by telling you all I said before, which is, stick to lower heels or flats with good arch support, value health AND comfort over short-lived glamor, keep yourself informed about shoe brands with a reputation for comfort, heed the advice of experts (e.g., try on shoes in the evening when your feet are most likely to swell, shoes should fit right out of the box, with no “break-in” period, etc.). But, when you need the extra height, and you need to look glamorous for your job, AND you need to traipse around the city while looking glam and somewhat tall(er), then…you’re either in for a tough break, or you need to start making some compromises. Yes, do the wedge thing as much as you can, but if you want heels you can walk in, forget stilettos; wear those only in extraordinary circumstances (the job requires it, and you only need to do a limited amount of walking). However, you can still achieve the height and the look with some more sensibly-shaped heels, such as any 3″ or slightly higher from the Taryn Rose collection. The Canela, for example, is super-classy and kinda tall (3 1/2 inch high) and at $545 yes, kinda expensive, but see above re: compromises:
Why would I recommend such a high-heeled shoe? Well, here’s the thing: I own a 3″ pair of Taryn Rose pumps and they’ve been more comfortable than certain flats I own. I am not sure where this magic happens (nothing short of alchemy, if you ask me: turning painful high heels into golden comfort wear), but it’s probably a combination of materials (lightweight Poron), padding, built-in arch support, and angle of the heel relative to the sole. One of the issues with Taryn Rose shoes is they often tend to look orthopedic (at least they did in the beginning), and if not so, then a little stodgy and on the mature side. Or, let’s put it this way: they’re not exactly youthful. I can certainly understand that: given their prices and emphasis on comfort, you don’t want something that may go out of style by next year. Sometimes, however, the style reflects the current fashion, such as in this “Cheval” oxford sandal ($495 at Zappos):
Or these metallic peep-toes, Calexa ($475 at Zappos)–which are also timeless and elegant:
Apart from Taryn Rose, there are precious few brands that I can recommend for this particular problem. I LOVE Thierry Rabotin, definitely some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned, period, but they are often stodgy and seldom give you the height you may want. There is Donald Pliner, which I would qualify as only semi-comfortable at heights over 2.5″. There is Anyi Lu, but they cater to the more mature, over 40 crowd, and you can sort of see that in their designs. Oh, I know–there is Robert Clergerie, also very high end, and definitely not for everybody (definitely for me, though!); these beaded sandals are kind of sexy and are only 3″ high AND on sale at Zappos for $297 (down from $500):
One brand that I want to explore and about which I heard only good things is Chie Mihara. They don’t market themselves as a comfort brand, that’s true–but there is attention to comfort in the cushioned molded insoles and the overall architecture of the shoe (no stiletto heels, for example!). These strappy numbers, the Bankok model, are chic, edgy, thick-heeled, and….padded ($368 at PedShoes):
We invite you to share your experiences of fashionable and comfortable heels in our forums. We’re always eager to learn!
I’m leaving for Seattle later this morning so I’m running around like the proverbial chicken with its head cruelly cut off, and generally getting stressed out of my mind–a sport I’m a champion at, by the way.
And so it struck me that I *GOTS TO* find ways of de-stressing, and then, bam, the second revelation: what better means of de-stressing than beautiful shoes?
“Shoes?” my brain will say. “Shoes? THERE IS NO TIME FOR SHOES!”
Except, there is, especially when they induce you into an adoring stupor and switch gears from “hyperventilating” to “lovingly drooling”:
I loooooove these Chie Mihara simple flats, in all their crackly-silvery-goodness–and of course, the crucial detail, the cherry on the shiny cake, the double-colored nude strap at the back–so simple, so effective in textural and color contrast, so très, très chic! They’re almost $300 at Anthropologie, and I’m almost believing that’s worth the price of de-stressing.
(PS: On second thoughts, perhaps I should apply for a grant to study the effect of beautiful shoes on women’s psyche. Wouldn’t you all volunteer for that??)