Thursday, August 28, 2008

We have a Winner!

Photo courtesy of Footwear News

What seems eons ago, I posted about a shoe design contest sponsored by Footwear News and Nine West called the FN Shoestar challenge. At that time there were 4 finalists, Ryan Baker, Melissa Cordero, Melanie Maggio, and Karen Hsieh. Well, after 6 months, a winner has finally been chosen. Melanie Maggio, 21, of Harrisonburg, VA.

In the final round of competition, Melanie and runner up, Ryan Baker were asked to each design a small collection that included 6 sketches of which one was to be physically implemented for retail purposes. Retailer, Jeffrey Kalinsky, (the one to impress) joined judges, Michael Atmore (FN), Fred Allard (Nine West), and Ellen Goldstein (FIT). Requirements were to bring a fresh perspective to the designer's style while simultaneously staying consistant with his or her vision.

When the dust cleared, it was Maggio's high fashion footwear that convinced the judges of her ability to please the customer.

For her efforts and extraordinary talent, Maggio received a Swarovski-studded award at a FFANY industry party held in New York, and a position as junior designer for Nine West. Second place winner, Ryan Baker received $1500.00.

Congrats to Melanie Maggio for a job well done!

Melanie Maggio
Footwear News

The winning design

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Gimme Some Skin...

Hello, my darlings. Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

I'm not sure, but I think this is probably the most politically incorrect post I've done yet. Oh well...

I love skins. Snake, python, croc, gator, you name it. I'm sorry, but the shoes and bags are spectacular. However, while I positively would prefer having the real deal, I will settle for a beautifully embossed skin look-a-like. Here are some affordable and not so affordable, real and not so real skins that caught my fancy.

Hope you like.

Ciao, me Bellas.

Go Jane
Crocodile Cutout Hell

Python Peep toe pump
Neiman Marcus

Go Jane
Patent snake buckle platform

Go Jane
Patent snakeskin hidden platform

Nanette Lepore
Snake Embossed T-strap
Neiman Marcus

Croc Embossed Pump
Neiman Marcus

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Cut (Out) Above

From booties to pumps, the cutout has taken high fashion shoe-dom to a new level of less is more. Manolo Blahnik, Miu Miu, Versace and Dior all have designs on fashion's newest staple. Sleek and sensuous with a touch of red-light district edginess, the "cutout" transcends the norm; either worn with colored tights in risk taking contrast, nude hose, no hose, or same color hose for the illusion of a long and leggy line, (unless you actually have long legs, making the illusion a reality).

Here are just a few of my favorites. Though the general concept may be similar in style, each designer has brought his or her own vision to the creative process.

Manolo Blahnik
Cutout Bootie
Neiman Marcus

Miu Miu
Suede Patent Pump
Neiman Marcus

Nanette Lepore
Shoe Bootie
Neiman Marcus

Loeffler Randall
Cutout Bootie
Neiman Marcus

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pretty is as Pretty Does

Hope my Loverlees are having a great weekend.
As many of you have noticed, pretty is making a comeback in the world of fashion. Even those designers who lay claim to the avante-garde (most notably the king of noir himself, Jean Paul Gaultier) are adding body defining silhouettes, splashes of color and other accents that lean towards more glam and less goth.

The designs of Prada and Valentino have always been on the pretty side of cutting edge fashion. The clothing is feminine, beautifully constructed, but never boring. The same goes for their shoes and accessories.

The items below, bag by Prada, boots by Valentino, prove my point exquisitely.

Take a breath, my dears...

Prada Napa Tote
Neiman Marcus

Laser Cut Ankle Boot
Neiman Marcus

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Designer Showcase: Look of the Week

Well ladies, Christian has done it again. I can just see myself (I wish my bank account agreed) in this beautiful fringed number by the red soles designer himself, Christian Louboutin. A black pencil skirt, a turtle neck sweater and fancy exaggerated collar leather jacket and I wouldn't be able to stand myself.

Have a gander and enjoy.

Ciao, me Bellas and happy hump day!

Christian Louboutin
Forever Tina Fringe Boot
Neiman Marcus

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Winding Down

Good Tuesday Morning my Loverlees. Hope everyone had a great weekend. My day was spent yesterday running errands up and down the road.

Getting that caught "in between" feeling, trying to hold on to the summer freedom while anticipating the entrace of the new Fall season. Back to school, back to work (next monday for me to be exact) and having to devise an outfit per day. Oh the dilemmas of the divas... new hair (long, short or in the mid), new trench, new boots (or booties), to Ugg or not to Ugg (Why is that a question), new bag, new hat, must have shirts, skirts, tights and all those components that make for a great mix and match season. The new little black dress is gray and/or brown with wide cinch-waist belts, elbow high gloves, and flamboyantly collared over-coats.
How to keep our pretty fashion heads from exploding with all these trends to sift through! Let's be honest, truth be told, we're loving every minute of our quandary.

Open the gates and let the shopping begin!

Bottega Veneta RTW
Gray Dress

Christian Dior
Cinch waist Coat

Dolce & Gabbana
Belted Trench-Wool Cami Dress
Neiman Marcus

Dior Deco Bootie
Neiman Marcus

Jean Paul Gaultier
Brown Coat

Michael Kors
Chalet Boot
Neiman Marcus

Stella McCartney
Exaggerated Collar Coat and slouch pants
Neiman Marcus

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Weekend Word

It's Friday, my Lover-lees and I hope everyone has something they enjoy on the burner.

Well, this summer seems to have gone by at the speed of light and we are already on the heels of Fall. Yaaaaay! I love Fall; the air is crisp, the hummidity of summer dissipates, and the greenery changes to the warmth of potpourri. Its a time for cool jackets, light coats, hot shoe boots, feminine, frilly blouses, and hairstyles that don't sweat out from breathing too hard. Black, gray, and brown, the seasons essential fashion basics, can be made fresh with the addition of eye-popping reds, oranges, yellows, and ambers, the hues of a changing season.

The pieces below qualify as this falls must have additions to our closets. Let these items inspire you to make your own style, to develop your own brand of "cool" (within your price range, of course). Hope you're as excited as I am to hit the ground running toward a fashionable fall season!

Enjoy, my Bellas!

Bottega Veneta
Photo courtesy of

Bottega Veneta
Photo courtesy of

Belted Leather Boot
Neiman Marcus

Nancy Gonzalez
Shiney Crocodile Large Foldover Clutch

Yves Saint Laurent
Tribute Canvas Leopard Pump
Neiman Marcus

Christian Dior
Platform Pump
Neiman Marcus

My own creation
SACX One of a Kind
Large Angular Handbag

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

In a 60's kind of Mood

Okay, I'll admit it. I'm stuck in the 60's, at least for the time being. It didn't help much that my favorite James Bond film, Goldfinger, was on today. So now, I'm on the internet, enamored by all things 60's. The style was eclectic, daring and colorful. Fashion was fun, cosmopolitan and unpredictable. We had the British invasion, mini skirts, micro-minis, maxies and everything in between.

We had Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant in "Charade" (1963), TV spies, the Saint, the Man from Uncle, Connie West, and my personal favorite, The Avengers. John Steed and Emma Peel were king and queen of the Tellie. In 1964 Petula Clark spent all her time "Downtown," and James Bond for the ages was Sean Connery. Best instrumental spy theme was Peter Gun by Henry Mancini, and best spy theme ever was Goldfinger by the real subject of this entry, the great and glamorous Shirley Bassey.

Shirley Bassey circa 1960's
photo courtesy of Miss Bassey

I know this is a blog about shoes and accessories, but it's also a blog about style and this woman has more than enough to spare. With over 5 decades in the entertainment industry, the Welsh born singer is still beautiful and as strong a performer as she was when I first heard her sing her signature song, 1964's "Goldfinger." Her healthy vocals earned her the name "Bassey the Belter."

photo courtesy of Miss Bassey

Born January 1937 in Tiger Bay, Cardiff Wales, Dame Shirley Bassey was the youngest sibling of seven children. When she was 3 years of age, her parents, a Nigerian sailor and an English woman divorced, but strived to keep the family connected.

After finishing school, Bassey worked in a local factory and sang in after-hours mens clubs to earn extra money. She was soon discovered by comedian Al Read and placed in his revue, "Such is Life." The result was a recording contract with Philips Records. Several number 1 hits followed, and in 1962 Bassey partnered with arranger Nelson Riddle, which put her on the radar in America. The early 1960's brought top billing in New York and Las Vegas, and in 1965 Goldfinger reached number eight on the American charts. (

At 71 years old, Dame Shirley Bassey's voice is as tantalizing and sultry as ever. No matter how many times I hear her sing "Goldfingaaaah," it gets better with each rendition. She is the embodiment of 60's cool: sexy, stylish, incredibly beautiful, and a true fashionista. I hope you'll join me in celebrating this extraordinary 1960's icon.

Shirley Bassey
Spring/Summer London Fashion Week

The Art of the Glam

After yesterday's post of my choice for Shoe Maven of the Week, the lovely Darlene Lee, it got me to thinking about her fashion mentor, the very chic Audrey Hepburn.

While surfing the web for my next entry idea, I came across these beautiful bags by Salvatore Ferragamo. And though the costumes for Breakfast at Tiffany's were designed by Givenchy, these particular Ferragamo creations reminded me of the film's elegant, yet understated glamour.

Salvatore Ferragamo
Classic Top Handle Bag

Salvatore Ferragamo
Gancini Icona Continental Wallet

Just for a pop of color, this red is beautiful

Salvatore Ferragamo
Saffiano Tote

Unless you've lived on a remote and very distant planet in a barn on the dark side, you probably know that this particular piece of cinema changed the future of fashion forever.

Pairing two of the greatest fashion icons of our time, Hubert de Givenchy and the fabulous woman who would later become his muse, Audrey Hepburn, brought an air of finesse to the big screen that would influence the hearts and minds of fashionable women everywhere. The fashion world would never be the same with the establishment of the "little black dress" as the indispensible item of the true socialite. Other wardrobe staples of this memorable actress were the large, dark sunglasses, wide brim and pillbox hats, ballet flats, masculine button-down shirts, long gloves, and handbags of sleek design.

At their first meeting, Givenchy was expecting the "other Hepburn" as in Katharine. He was more than a little surprised by the true identity of his guest and by her request that he design the wardrobe for her upcoming film, Sabrina. The alliance was a great success and Hubert Givenchy went on to design for Audrey's subsequent films such as Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, Charade, and my personal favorite, the subject of this post, Breakfast at Tiffany's (

In the last years of her life, Ms. Hepburn devoted herself to UNICEF for the betterment of children all over the world. Even though she battled sickness, she maintained a quiet, graceful character and a strong commitment to her charitable endeavors.

My hats off to this lovely actress, glamorous fashion icon, and caring humanitarian for children's causes, the late, great, Audrey Hepburn.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Shoe Maven of the Week: A Woman of Style and Substance

As anyone who reads my little blog knows, style and finesse of dress is very important to me. One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is discovering others of like mind as well as exchanging ideas and fashion tidbits with my blogging peers.

I don't get around as much as I'd like (lack of transporation is a real drag) so I have to soak up the fashion vibes of my immediate environment whenever I can. An area of regular attendance for me is my church. In the Black community, church has always been the place to see beautful dresses, suits, shoes and hats on the Sisters that worship on Sunday Mornin'. So it stands to reason that a fashion fanatic could be inspired by the stylish ladies at my place of Worship.

Hence, my Shoe Maven of the Week is one of my fellow worshipers, Darlene Lee. Whenever I see Darlene, she carries an aura of elegance and sophistication, reminicent of Audrey Hepburn, whom she says is an inspiration.

Darlene Lee's fashion first love is mixing vintage clothing with modern pieces. Her fashion cardinal rule is that confidence is the first accessory every woman should slip on at the start of her day. Ms. Lee believes your clothing should make an external statement about your internal image.

I wholeheartedly agree, and am pleased to share with my Lover-lees this woman of style and substance.

Drive a Wedge...

I've been an on-again, off-again fan of wedge heels for years. It really depends on the design and the comfort zone (well maybe not so much comfort zone as how they make my legs look). When the tall wedges hit the fashion scene, my stiletto radar zoned in, and now as all of us Shoe Mavens are aware, wedges have taken on a life of their own. Cut outs, solids, high and uber high, there are so many choices now for wedge heels that reek of the avante garde; shoes that incorporate what looks like a mixture of fashion design and architecture.

These beauties caught my eye. What do you think, my Lover-lees?

The Art of Dior never ceases to amaze me.

Christian Dior
Cutout Wedge Sandal
Neiman Marcus

Stella McCartney
Patent Platform Pump
Neiman Marcus

Stella McCartney Boot
Neiman Marcus

Black Patent Wedge
Jildor Shoes

Christian Louboutin
Patent D'orsay Wedge
Neiman Marcus

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Wish List August 2, 2008

One day, while driving one of my friends to Bible Study, a conversation about cars came up. As this giant Hummer passed my 1999 Buick LeSabre, my car pooler commenced to tell me how she liked that make and model of vehicle. I immediately retorted that you couldn't pay me to purchase or drive one of those and then went on a tirade about how the Hummer is a totally masculine "boy toy" that resembles a refrigerator on wheels. When my pooler asked me why I felt so negatively about the Hummer, I quickly answered, "because it doesn't match any of my Italian shoes."

Please forgive me if that sounds just a little bit shallow (I'm really not, I just like what I like), but I am quite serious. I've been a Fa'shoe'nista for a very long time, since I was a youngun', and I believe in the total look.

So, while I look for substance just like the next person, style is a necessity as well. Men and women alike, consider their cars an accessory or representative of their lifestyle. Even those of us who go through the hooptie stage become attached to our less than glamorous acquisitions and try to keep them running for as long as we can.

Because I don't yet have a car, I'm always looking at them and ordering catalogs of luxury cars online. After careful consideration, my dream vehicle has been narrowed down to three two seater models: The Audi TT Roadster, the BMW Z4 Roadster, and the Jaguar XK series, all drop tops, of course.

I'm sorry, but I can't see my Manolo Blahnik, at the end of a very shapely leg no doubt, stepping out of a Hummer or some other such monstrosity. On the other hand, either one of the above choices would allow for a sophisticated and fashionably executed exit anywhere, at any time of the day and would accentuate any Shoe Maven's collection of fashionable footwear.

The Jaguar has always been a favorite of mine, so I'm featuring this magnificent machine along with some elegant footwear to round out my Wish List for this evening.

Enjoy, my Bellas!

Jaguar XK

Bettye Muller
Bonham Flannel Pump
Neiman Marcus

Donna Karan
Crisscross Patent d'Orsay
Neiman Marcus

Manolo Blahnik
Strappy Sandal
Neiman Marcus