Making Chanel’s Couture Sneakers

I’m not one to fall in love with “It” accessories or shoes. Most I could take it or leave it.

But have you seen Chanel’s couture sneakers? These might be the first It shoes that I really wish I could own. See how the Fusion Sneakers are made below, and be amazed.

Rain Shoes

It has been raining daily in Chicago for awhile now — at least a week. I can’t leave home without an umbrella.

And It’s a pain to figure out footwear. Do I dress for the majority of my day or for the 10-20 minutes I might get caught in a downpour? Believe me, those torrential downpour can ruin a pair of shoes permanently. It’s not always convenient to carry a pair of rain boots around either, even if they are only ankle boots. They are just too bulky.

Enter this Sweet Dreams pair of shoes by Melissa. I’m thinking these might do the trick. Chic enough to wear to work or out with friends, they’d be ok to wear in the rain because they are made of PVC. They come in a pink, purple, teal, and red, but I might just stick with neutral black for the most versatility.

What do you think? How do you dress for unpredictable rain?

Black Pump Hunt

RIP Nine West pointy toe pumps. They died a few months ago, unable to be revived by the cobbler one more time. I’ve been leaning heavily on my Madewell booties to get me by. But I finally decided enough was enough — my wardrobe couldn’t support the void any longer.

So my quest became finding a low, delicate heel with an extremely pointy toe in black. I favored d’Orsay styles — closed heel and toe, cut down to the sole on the sides — this time around because I find the shape interesting. D’Orsay pumps were popular in the 1940s, and I’m happy they are having a revival.

A big concern was finding a heel that didn’t provide too much coverage. I know that sounds odd when you are talking about shoes, but low-heeled, pointy-toe shoes can go matronly fast. A little less leather, a little more foot revealed is sexier.

These Calvin Klein Dolly heels are classic and would get the job done. I like the slight contour dip on the outer edge. They were a solid contender.

I considered these French Connection d’Orsay pumps. The striped toe is textured, which is a cool detail to break up a monotony of black. The kitten heel is cute and practical too.

I dreamed about buying the Jess pumps by Kate Spade New York. The shoes have smooth contouring, which adds a hint more femininity. These are as timeless as you can get my friends.

These Christian Louboutin Malachic pumps went on my Pinterest wishlist board immediately. The wingtip vamp is equal parts lady and evil. Just like Malificent, right?

I ended up trying these Mairi heels from Nine West. My last pumps were from Nine West, and they lasted years (with some cobbler touchups). But alas, the vamp pinched my feet too much and sizing up only caused them to slip off my heel as I walked.

I finally settled on Anne Klein’s Christa heels. They fit great, are made of buttery leather, and have an alluring d’Orsay shape. The heel is slightly higher than my general preference (three inches), but they were comfortable for a full day of work last Friday. They seem to have solid construction, so let’s hope they last.

Friday File

I’ve always wanted to take a floral class, and this Wednesday I finally did! Pistil and Vine, a super cute boutique florist in Bucktown hosted a topiary-building class. We made boxwood topiaries, and I love my creation. All of us taking the class ended up with completely different results thanks to a variety of decorating options and pruning preferences, but they all looked great. The credit goes to Megan at Pistil and Vine for such great instruction.

And now my fave links from the week:

Here’s another story of a rare piece owned by a person who didn’t know what it was worth fetching high sums of money. In this case, a 200 hundred-year-old Imperial Chinese robe fetched £15,000 at auction. The owner was going to donate it to a charity shop! When am I going to find my own treasure at a flea market or in the back of my closet so I can sell it at auction for $$$$?

This fascinating history about mannequins explains how they reflect societal conventions through various historical vignettes. My favorite story in this post tells about a 1899 wax figure named “Miss Modesty” whose arms and hands covered her face in shame because she modeled undergarments.

Do you know how to properly care for your shoes in the winter? Here’s a great guide to getting them through the cold temperatures, snow, and salt-covered sidewalks.

A new study finds that kids that are exposed to the arts “display greater tolerance, historical empathy, as well as better educational memory and critical thinking skills.” Huh, you don’t say?

Have a happy weekend!

photo by Travis Haughton

Loeffler Randall Fall Faves

Loeffler Randall released its new fall collection today. Hello pretty shoes! My favorites have to be the Reese Kitten Heel Booties in both black nubuck and taupe watersnake/black leather.

Zaha Hadid’s Nova Shoe

Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University by Zaha Hadid, photo by Carlos Osorio/Associated Press, from NYTimes.com

The relationship between fashion and architecture is an interesting one that I want to explore more. The process of design has many commonalities — both need to be functional, support the needs of human bodies, and can be innovative, playful, and imaginative with materials and forms.

Architect Zaha Hadid is famous for her futuristic architecture. The Design Museum says she experiments with “multiple perspective points and fragmented geometry” in her buildings, which are often highlighted by sleek, shiny facades. There is a certain fluidity in her design, even though her structures are highly abstracted. She was the first woman to win the Pritzker Prize for Architecture, among other prestigious architecture awards.

But now she’s taken her experimentation with spatial concepts to the world of fashion, and has focused attention on footwear in a collaboration with United Nude. In many ways her design is less shoe, more foot architecture.

The Nova Shoe design hinges on a cantilevered system that supports a 6.25 inch invisible heel. Using the latest technology, the shoe uses injection and rotation molding and vacuum casting.

True to Hadid’s style, the Nova shoe marries natural rhythm and futurism in aesthetic design. The upper is made out of metallic chromed vinyl rubber and lined with Italian kid nappa leather, the platform and heel are made of fiberglass, and the sole is made of rubber.

Only 100 editions of each color were produced — black chroming, silver chroming, and rose gold — and each costs $2,000.

Obviously, I’ve never tried on these shoes, but I once tried on a pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes that had an invisible heel. I was surprised that they weren’t impossible to walk in (but did give my shins a bit of a workout). Knowing Hadid’s talent as an architect, I’m sure her shoes are more than just aesthetically creative. While maybe requiring good balance, I doubt they are hard to walk in, and they might even be comfortable!

Are you as intrigued as I am at Hadid’s intersection of fashion and architecture?

A Spring Shoe Trend

I’m hunting for a new pair of pumps to replace my favorite everyday pair that are running out of life. As I was trolling the online shopping sites last week, I started noticing a reoccurring detail — cutout sections filled in with thin plastic or mesh.

I vividly remember the overuse of clear plastic and cutouts in the late 90s/early 00s. In fact, my prom shoes heavily featured plastic. They were chunky and, in retrospect, not the most classy choice.

But there’s something different with these shoes. They are more feminine with a slimmer silhouette. The plastic or mesh is used subtly. These shoes are ladylike in appropriate spring colors.

Now, if only we could get some spring weather to go with these spring shoes. What do you think?

Exhibition File – Currently at The Museum at FIT

Today I have a master exhibition post. Because there are three fashion exhibitions at the Museum at FIT right now, this is not the time to skip it if you are in NYC between now and mid-April.

First in the Fashion & Textile History Gallery, Fashion and Technology investigates technological advancements in both fashion design and production. The exhibition covers 250 years, including the Industrial Revolution that brought us the spinning jenny, jacquard loom, and sewing machine.

Technological advancements in materials — rubber and plastic — and digital technology — 3-D printing, computer aided design, and sewable electronics — play a huge role in the show. Technology has influenced design as well, whether in the form of art deco or space age styles.

Fashion and Technology runs until May 8.

Then in the Special Exhibitions Gallery, you can indulge your passion with shoes in Shoe Obsession. More than 150 examples of extraordinary shoes will leave you gawking in awe. There are some crazy styles in this show.

Shoe Obsession runs until April 13.

And lastly, don’t miss Boots: The Height of Fashion in the Gallery FIT. More than 20 pairs of boots examine themes about sex, rebellion, status. The exhibition looks at how boots grew in popularity historically. It was curated by students from the Fashion and Textile Studies masters program.

Boots: The Height of Fashion closes April 6.

Address: Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York, New York

Hours: Tuesday-Friday 12-8, Saturday 10-5

Admission: free

Website: fitnyc.edu/336.asp

Style File – Weekend Wear

For the past few years I’ve tried to make my wardrobe multitask. I would buy clothing with the idea that I could wear it both at work and during my leisure time. But recently I’ve realized this doesn’t work.

Most mornings I look in my closet and all I see are things I’ve worn on the weekend, and, in my groggy mind, it doesn’t feel right putting on the same outfits I wore when I was off the clock. I would think, shouldn’t I be a little more formal when I’m at work? A little structure and constriction to my work wear isn’t a bad thing. So it would be a struggle to figure out what to put on.

And then on the weekend, I’d look at that same wardrobe and see it full of things I wore to work. Even with clothing I love, when I wear something during long work days, the last thing I want to do is put on those same things during my off time. I need a change of pace. And something more comfortable.

So I’ve arrived at the conclusion I need to stop trying to force my clothing to do double duty. I’m allowed to embrace a work wardrobe and a casual wardrobe. And since I’ve started dividing my clothes into the two categories, it’s actually easier to get dressed in the morning. I don’t stare at my closet with confusion. I know which pieces are for work, and which ones are for the weekend. My clothes now have assigned functions so that it speeds up putting together ensembles.

So with all that in mind, I realized I needed a new pair of casual pants. I found a cute pair of blueberry skinnies at the Gap that I really liked. Somewhat on trend with an unusual color, but not so wild I’ll be sick of them next week.

Over the weekend I paired them with a black mini-pocket T-shirt from Target, a camel cardigan with directional knitting from Target, my Laura Lombardi Scale Necklace, and a new pair of Loeffler Randall Rain Slip-On in Mini Lynx. My purse was a Christmas gift from a few years back.

A little about the rain boots — for years I bought cheap ones that would wear out quickly and start leaking. And I am sick of it. So this fall I decided to pony up and go for a pair of good quality rain boots. And it doesn’t hurt that they are super cute too.

all photos by Travis Haughton – Wasabi Photography

Exhibition File – Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection

Roger Vivier produced amazing footwear during his career. He designed for the House of Dior and then later worked on his own. He’s credited with the pilgrim buckle shoe, the thigh high boot, the needle, choc, and comma heels, and reintroducing the platform.

Vivier’s work is the focus of an exhibition, Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection, currently on display at The Bata Shoe Museum through April 7, 2013. Visitors will get to see drawings and his masterpiece shoes from his time at Dior through the end of his career.

Address: 327 Bloor St. West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 10-5, Thursday 10-8, Friday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 12-5
Admission: adults $14, seniors $12, students $8, children 5-17 $5, children under 5 free, members free
Website: batashoemuseum.ca/exhibitions/roger_vivier/index.shtml