Archive for the ‘Focus on the Shoe Brand’ Category
UGG Australia recently collaborated with a number of popular designers in the 7th annual UGG Art and Sole (Charity) Auction with proceeds benefiting the St. Judes Children’s Hopital. According to the St. Jude’s website, this event has raised more than $315,000 for the hospital to date.
From the UGG’s website:
In 2005, UGG® Australia decided to use St. Jude as the primary charity for every annual Art & Sole celebrity boot auction. Each year select high profile artists, actors, and musicians are asked to hand design a pair of Classic Boots to auction off on the brand’s homepage during a fourteen day period in December. All of the proceeds are then donated to further the research for St. Jude. Last year, the 5th annual auction raised more than $105,000. Celebrity participants included: Liv Tyler, Miley Cyrus, Eva Longoria, Matthew McConaughey, Ellen DeGeneres, Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson, Sharon Stone and many more.
Each participant that agrees to design a pair of UGG® Boots is sent an art kit which includes everything they need from paint to sharpie markers. When finished, each celebrity signs each boot and a headshot before sending back to us. Then the auction begins!
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases. Founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas and based in Memphis, Tennessee, St. Jude freely shares its discoveries with scientific and medical communities around the world. No family ever pays for treatments not covered by insurance, and families without insurance are never asked to pay. St. Jude is financially supported by ALSAC, its fund-raising organization.
This year’s designers included Manolo Blahnik, Betsey Johnson, Reem Acra, Giuseppe Zanotti, Rebecca Minkoff, LaROK, True Religion, Stuart Weitzman, Christian Siriano, Lauren Moffatt, Thomas Wylde, Chrome Hearts, PPQ, Zang Toi, Rebecca Taylor, Erin Wasson, Jenni Kayne, Miss Sixty, Leanne Marshall, Pamela Roland, Carlos Falchi, Eugenia Kim, Chloe Dao, and Rafe New York,
My favorite was the flowers and butterflies offering from LaRok (Final bid $2100)
But, the biggest winner for St. Jude appears to be this strappy, studded boot by Rafe New York which ended it’s bidding at $2750.
Final bids on the boots varied from that just-shy-of-3k high-bid down to a more modest $500 for these Thomas Wylde’s skull-themed boot:
Now, let’s play a game!
How many boots can you match to their designer without peeking at the auction link at the top of this story?
Answers are listed after the break below.
I just ran into some of the newer styles of Harajuku Lovers shoes. Up until recently, the Harajuku Lovers shoe line has been filled with casual sneakers and slip-on flats. Not so this season.
Harajuku Lovers has apparently taken a page from Betsey Johnson and Beverly Feldman and gone from cute and casual to feminine and fabulous.
Perhaps, with LAMB shoes following the trend of increased prices that we have seen in more established luxury brands (Last spring, LAMB shoes were around $400, this spring some styles were near the $700 mark), Gwen’s Harajuku Lovers brand is expanding to include club-worthy shoe styles at college-friendly prices? After all, it makes sense to establish a recession-resistant middle ground when the pricing on your flagship brand starts outrunning the budgets of your primary customer base.
Here are several favorites from Harajuku Lover’s new look:
Too bad I can’t successfully wear yellow.
This is a wonderfully vibrant spring style. And those heart details at the vamp and buckle are all girl!
With top canvas and rope details, these just might have fellow blogger trainingheels cringing in horror. But, I’m pretty sure these are perfect for gals that love a casual sandal that can successfully dress up a pair of jeans as wekk as a fun and flirty summer sun-dress.
These red-hot penny-loafers are my absolute favorite - conservative, but not at all stodgy or demure. I love a classic style with a sexy twist.
And look at this, much like Betsey Johnson, the soles are also part of the whole playful package:
Super Cute! How’s that for ‘secret soles‘.
There are several more Harajuku Lovers styles available that I haven’t shown here. And, while I might miss the cute canvas casuals that were available last year, I love that some of the LAMB attitude is now available at Harajuku prices.
Because, however much I love shoes, I love not going into debt for them even more. With prices ranging from $70-$100, these fun heels are accessible on most shoe-maven’s budgets. Plus, imagine the prices if you run across them on sale. Now that’s something to get excited over.
I have been wear-testing the following ‘Very Volatile’ wedges for roughly the last month.
They are a great spring-summer sandal in one of this season’s more popular colors – turquoise. These also have an appealing organic design that really works with a spring wardrobe; particularly if you are like me and have a lot of cooler tones in your wardrobe.
These sandals are available in whole sizes 6-10 B US sizing (37-41 EU). Sizing was my first challenge. As a size 7.5 medium who prefers a lot of toe room, the choice on whether to try a 7 or 8 is the first challenge I encountered. So, I actually tried a size 7 in the turquoise, and a size 8 in black suede.
The good news is that both sizes adjust fairly well in that the buckled slingback and suede material allow for a lot of fine-tuning and comfort on the initial fit. However, the size 7 had more than enough space to accommodate my anything-but narrow size 7.5 feet. And, while sometimes slingbacks feel like the strap is about to slip off your ankle, these stayed secure through multiple wearings.
How comfortable are they? Well, they did have a brief breaking-in period of about 2-3 wearings of 2-5 hours each. Each wearing was successively more comfortable than the last; there were no blisters thanks to the soft suede and roomy shape, but I did get a bit of a workout re-learning how to walk on a platform wedge; these have an almost 1″ lift under the toe and about a 4″ overall lift at the heel. The footbed it lightly cushioned, and after several wearings, this padding started to form to the shape of my arch – an absolute necessity if you have a higher arch like I do. If you are not ‘blessed’ with high arches, you may have little or no break-in period with these.
Here are some pictures of how these bamboo-wrapped wedges actually look on the foot:
(Yes, I need a pedicure – fast!)
The turquoise color really is fabulous!
You can see here that the size 7 in turquoise is definitely roomy enough for those of us who normally wear a 7.5. And, while it looks like my pinky toe is trying to escape, it never has. The straps and cutouts are placed perfectly to avoid that happening on my feet.
You can see in this next picture that the size 8 is super roomy. I would definitely think someone who is an 8-8.5 would have no problem with this size working for them.
(If you feel the need to put on your sunglasses to view these, I understand – I really am quite naturally pale. My hubby has joked that since I don’t tan, I actually bleach in the sunlight. But, I digress).
I have to admit, that although Volatile shoes are a well-known regional brand in the areas such as the Southeastern United States (A ‘go-to’ for wedges, flip-flops, and animal prints), I was unfamiliar with them before I stumbled across them several months ago.
As a brand, Volatile has competitive pricing, current styling, and reasonable comfort. This is particularly remarkable in the current climate of ridiculously rising shoe prices. This makes Volatile shoes a nice value, particularly for ladies on a budget.
And, if you can get both comfort and style on a reasonable budget, I’m all for that.
Steve Madden is creating quite a buzz on Wall Street. Several years after starting his company in New York City, Steve Madden pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering in 2001, was in prison until 2005. Investors forgave him and he returned to Steve Madden Ltd in 2006 as the creative and design chief. He has been the driving force behind it’s designs and has been helping recreate their business model. They made it quick on its feet. The ingenious way it introduces new designs puts them way ahead of the marketing curve.
They call it “test and release.” The company makes models at its Queens, N.Y., headquarters, where it has a mini-factory that can turn a concept into a shoe in less than a day. They then sell and monitor shoe models in a select number of its New York stores and on its Web site to determine fashion and inventory risks. After several weeks of observation, they decide whether a model can go to China for mass production and be distributed in retail stores. This “test and release” method allows them to put shoes in mass production on about 12 weeks, where typically it takes a footwear company about 5 months to release shoes.
Steven Madden Ltd has license agreements with Fabulosity, Elizabeth and James, l.e.i. for shoes, and for handbags and belts with Betsey Johnson and Daisy Fuentes. With this licensing, Steve Madden Ltd is in stores that cover the entire spectrum from Walmart (l.e.i.) to Bergdorf Goodman (Elizabeth and James) and it’s paying off. Steve Madden raised its 2009 per-share profit target in late April from $1.85 to $1.95, well above the $1.47 analysts had been expecting.Revenue grew 7%, also topping estimates. It’s stock is regarded as a good buy. I am watching to see how it does the next few quarters. Maybe I will put more than Monopoly money on it.
Elisabeth and James should be in stores this fall. Nordstroms is pre-selling items, but none of the other websites have any shoes listed yet.
OK, this wedge is part of the Elizabeth and James line that Nordstroms was pre-selling for about $325. By the time I could get things posted they had sold out. No wonder. It is adorable. It will show up later on in the season, so I will have to wait.
So, shoes offered by Steve Madden LTD range from $17 to 325. These designs are what we are seeing virtually everywhere else. They are meeting the demands of the general public, which is the name of the business game. I am disappointed there doesn’t seem to be anything unusual or outstanding. I am going to have to go somewhere else for that.
I recently found out that one of my sisters is reading our blog when she recently asked me via e-mail “How are those fuzzy boots working out?“. Now that she is following our site, she has also started campaigning to convert me over to Clarks, which is her absolute favorite shoe brand. Apparently, it took me moving to a different state to find out that she loves looking at and trying on cute, sexy, or funky shoes almost as much as I do.
In this recent message, subject line: ‘My New Shoes’, she shares with me her brief summer sandal search. The siren-call that she was hoping to answer was for one of these two pairs of Frye sandals.
Unfortunately, she laments that “she couldn’t walk in them”. And, since the primary purpose of shoes is to protect our feet in the everyday action of walking, this was an obvious deal-breaker.
So, where did she turn instead? Surprisingly, not to her fave brand Clarks, but to this shoe by Pikolinos:
This is a unique little slip-on shoe that manages to be comfy and funky while still retaining a solid feminine flare. I love the attention to detail on these; they are also a wonderful way to get a boho-styled shoe that won’t be on the feet of everybody else around.
Now, the ‘Romana’ is definitely more Sis’s style than mine. But, it is refreshingly different and eclectic. So, after receiving her e-mail, I just had to go peeking around online to see what other styles Pikolinos might offer.
Here are a few that caught my eye:
This one is a wonderfully quirky interpretation of the still-dominant gladiator sandal style.
And, if gladiators are not your thing, the Formentera is available in a simple slide variation as well:
Another Pikolinos shoe that I love is this charming Maryjane.
Now, I am undeniably a fan of Maryjane styles, so I was somewhat biased at the outset. But the leather on this is so yummy and I love the overall quilted effect of the stitching as well. This is one fantastic shoe with wonderfully whimsical artistic appeal.
On an unrelated note, I challenge you to say the title of this article three times fast.