Monday, September 29, 2008

Shoe News: Designer Manolo Blahnik Honored (Yet again); Models take the plunge on the Catwalk

Photo courtesy of

Hello all my loverlees. Hope you had a wonderful first of the week.

Well, anyone who is remotely connected to the fashion world probably knows about the mishaps in Paris and Milan during Fashion Week . I'm sure I'm really late with this, but I just couldn't believe some of the shenanigans that occurred on the catwalk.

Stateside: First, the important stuff. The man Manolo Blahnik was honored yet again when he received the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award (interesting in a place where mostly everybody drives). Still talent is talent, and clearly, a career that has lasted over 30 years is proof that Blahnik has it oozing from his pores.

The eclectic shoe designer was honored on Thursday in Beverly Hills where Two Rodeo Drive was alive with the likes of such celebrities as Nicky Hilton, Lucy Liu and China Chow, daughter of famed restauranteur, Michael (Mr.) Chow and the late, iconoclastic model/designer, Tina Chow.

Adding to the celebration will be a special outdoor exhibit, running through October 5th, of the designer's sketches and images of his shoes on Rodeo Drive and it's neighboring streets. Kudos to the man of many decades, Manolo Blahnik, Sultan of Style.

Now, on to the preposterous.

Over there: Shoes that doubled as calisthenic balancing acts made the trip down the catwalk a circus to remember during Fashion Week in Milan. Prada's latest fashion extravaganza will forever remain a staple in many a fashionista's subconscious, not necessarily because of the clothing, but because the shoes beared a stark resemblance to steroidal stilt walking at Caribbean Carnival.

One of the culprits

Don't get me wrong, I am all for the innovative talents of Prada and her peers, and I love a torture stiletto as much as the next gal, but come on, these shoes were no less than ridiculous, not to mention dangerous. Especially to a model trying to carry a shoe that must have felt like an anchor at the end of such a needle thin leg.

Adding insult to injury (no pun intended, well maybe just a little) is the YouTube video of the laughing reporters who could barely catch their breath as a model went down just before her exit from the Catwalk during Fashion Week in Paris. Not only did she fall once, but twice, the latter being the worst, with the wobbling and caving in of the ankles before the final plummet to the floor.

FA'SHOE'NISTA loves the interesting, the strange, and the extraordinary. Forgive us for stopping short of embracing the ridiculously dangerous heights of what is passing for fashionable shoes on the runways. While the Art of building the perfect shoe is a noble endeavor, I prefer not to wear anything that could cause a nose bleed from the altitude.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Designer Showcase: Samanta Shoes

Photo courtesy of Samanta Shoes

Hello, my Loverlees! Hope you all had a wonderful week and are anticipating an even wonderful-er weekend.

It's been a challenge keeping the news on FA'SHOE'NISTA! fresh since I've been back to the work grind but I want to thank all of my faithful blogging Bellas for keeping up with me and patiently awaiting my next post. I promise to get back to a much more frequent schedule and to catch up on my comments on all your lovely blogs.

Now to the meat of the matter. This month's designer showcase features a very talented Guyanese designer, Samanta Joseph.

I first learned about Samanta Shoes through one of the free local about town magazines you pick up from the grocery store. Thumbing through it's pages without much interest, I came upon a full color ad featuring a beautiful and fashionably dressed young woman, surrounded by the most gorgeous shoes and boots. I immediately went to her website and was very pleased with what I'd discovered.

The South American born Samanta Joseph has been passionate about shoes since the days of her youth, and her background is parallel to that of another well-known designer of spectacular shoes, Manolo Blahnik. Just as Blahnik's early childhood memories involved the making of colorful espadrilles at the hands of his mother, so too are Samanta's earliest shoe memories those of helping her mother design sandals at the tender age of 6. Blahnik's parents wanted him to be a diplomat and enrolled him at the University of Geneva to study law and politics. Samanta was also encouraged by her more traditional Guyanese family to pursue a more stable means of employment, resulting in Samanta's graduating with a degree in Computer Information Systems. I don't know about you, but I am very happy that these two fabulous designers decided to pursue their creative passions.

Samanta Shoes has received recognition in numerous magazines including Black Enterprise, Essence, Latina, and Inc. Magazine as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under the age of 30. Her high quality shoes have graced the feet of more than a few celebrities, including Tyra Banks, Rihanna, and Geena Davis.

I wanted to spread the word about a unique, online shoe store that caters to a segment of the fashionable population traditionally ignored by other designers.

FA'SHOE'NISTA: Samanta shoes is said to have unique comfort features. Tell us a little about that.

Samanta: Each shoe is first carefully constructed using a special shoe mold that is a hybrid of a flat foot, and a high instep. This ingenuity provides comfort on both ends of the spectrum, and all areas in between. Great thought is put into the arch support, heel height, and leather lining of each shoe.

FA'SHOE'NISTA: When did you decide to be a fashion designer and why shoes?

Samanta: You can’t learn creativity. You are born with it. I had a love for shoes and a knack for design, stemming back to my youth. Women have trouble finding stylish shoes with comfort, there are limited fashion options in larger sizes, and retailers are searching for new brands to create excitement. I knew that I could satisfy these gaps in the market.

Samanta Shoes
Kimberlee Tall boot

FA'SHOE'NISTA: You are from South America, a region that is quickly establishing itself as a fashionable force to be reckoned with. When you were growing up, who was your inspiration fashion-wise?

Samanta: My mother was my inspiration. Her sophistication and unique style is timeless.

FA'SHOE'NISTA: Your story is like so many young designers of today who, after a less than fulfilling experience with the corporate machine, are making the risky decision to pursue their creative dreams. How long did it take you after pursuit of a more traditional career, to finally focus on your passion?

Samanta: I rejected many lucrative corporate opportunities in New York City, and decided to pursue my passion immediately after I graduated from college.

Samanta Shoes
KRISTI Taratuga Sand peeptoe

FA'SHOE'NISTA: You have developed an impressive track record in the global press. What are some of your marketing techniques?

Samanta: Many new companies make the mistake of chasing the fashion press. The highest priority for me is to make sure that I offer superior products, and then the press seems to find me.

FA'SHOE'NISTA: What does the design process entail from inception to finished product?

Samanta: It starts with the creative process (my secret), samples are developed in my factories in Brazil, marketed to top retailers in the US, and then I do a final edit of the line.

Samanta Shoes
VIV Red Pump

FA'SHOE'NISTA: The fashion industry is known for extreme competition and cutthroat tactics. What are some challenges you face in the business?

Samanta: It is important to maintain your integrity, while working in a very cut throat industry. People will copy your ideas, so you have to establish yourself as an industry leader servicing your niche, and then your customers will not be satisfied with cheap imitations.

FA'SHOE'NISTA: How did you raise capital for your venture?

Samanta: My Start-Up Capital Source: $1000 and a lot of hard work.
Expansion Capital consisted of: Reinvestment of Profits, Outside Employment Income, Real Estate, Savings, Friends, and Family.

FA'SHOE'NISTA: Though there is no one answer to this question, what advice would you give from your personal experience as an entrepreneur to those looking to succeed at their own business, fashion or otherwise.

Samanta: Every business needs a primary niche, and a secondary niche. Women have trouble finding shoes that combine comfort and style. In addition, there are limited fashion options in larger sizes. Samanta Shoes satisfies these needs. Entrepreneurs need to focus on building a brand by satisfying a gap in the market.

Establish good credit, and invest in yourself.

Don’t quit your day job too soon! Samanta Shoes benefits from the fact that my husband kept his job as a CPA at a major fashion retailer. This allows us to recycle our business income back into the business without suffering on a personally level.

FA'SHOE'NISTA thanks Samanta Joseph for her time and for contributing to the culture of glamour!

Samanta Shoes

Want to know more? Click here

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Lovin' the Skin We're In!

Hello, my beautiful Bellas! Here's hoping you're headed for a most bodacious weekend. Well, again the votes have been tallied, and it's been determined by all fashion mavens that Skin is definitely in!

So cast your peepers upon this cold-blooded creation by Mr. Red Soles, Christian Louboutin as it sinks it's fashionable fangs deep into your stylish subconcious, leaving an undeniably lasting impression. I'm so glad flying on the trapeze is not his ONLY talent!

Christian Louboutin
Tall Python Boot
Neiman Marcus

Video -

Thursday, September 11, 2008

BCBGMAXAZRIA: Innovative Cool

Hello, my Bellas!

Please forgive the recent scarceness of my entries but being back in the job grind can drain a Fa'Shoe'Nista dry by the end of the workday. So tonight I decided to force myself to stay off the couch (and out of a sleep induced coma)and catch up on some shoe lovin'.

The lastest object of my lust is BCBGMAXAZRIA. The style is sleek, sophisticated and consists of pieces that tend to lay upon the body with the ease and fluidity of expensive silk sheets. Sweaters are form fitting without the appearance of being pulled too tightly. Pants are long, flowing and reminiscent of a 70's retro wide leg--a true bell bottom. Pencil, three-tiered, and flouncy skirts kiss the dangerously seductive area between the knee and the lower part of the thigh, leaving just enough mystery to be considered fresh and funky instead of crass and trashy.

Camilla Wool Trouser

Cotton Skirt

Then there are the shoes (you knew it was coming, right?)

Founded in 1989, BCGBMAXAZRIAGROUP is the brainchild and remains the solitary and eclectic vision of one man: Max Azria. Not only is he the Founder, but he is Designer, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer--a Renaissance man in every since of the term.

Azria moved to the United States in 1981, after designing his line of women's apparel in his native Paris for eleven years. BCBG stands for the French phrase bon chic, bon genre; Parisian slang that translates into good style, good attitude.

In February 2004, Azria launched a highly exclusive couture collection of oppulent gowns, Max Azria Atelier, influenced by Hollywood glamour. His one-of-a-kind gowns are created for celebrity clients and events on the red carpet. A few of Azria's famous patrons include Halle Berry, Sharon Stone, Beyonce Knowles and Fergie.

Other facets of the BCBG empire include Herve Leger by Max Azria, a historical first time merger of French couturier with an American designer, and BCBGirls/To the Max, resulting in BCBGeneration, a young, hip and contemporary brand.

There are currently 475 BCBGMAXAZRIA retail boutiques around the globe; 180 are located in the U.S. In addition, the collection is featured in speciality shops as well as department store "in-store" boutiques such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's.

A fashion powerhouse with a mega-vision, BCBGMAZXAZRIA will no doubt remain a staple in the psyche of fashionistas and fa'shoe'nistas around the world for generations to come.


Leather round toe pump w/platform

Patent Leather Pump

Snake Print Leather peep-toe

All references and photos are courtesy of

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Look of the Week: Bowl Me Over...

Okay, okay. I'm not the biggest bowling fan. In fact, I'm not a bowling fan at all. I remember the days when I would sit in my grandmother's living room and be forced to watch championship bowling tournaments because I was too young for my protests to be heard. Needless to say, I'm not the least bit attracted to anything that remotely resembles the stylings of the local bowling alley, whether it's the shoes (too much foreign DNA), fingerless gloves, shirts or those odd looking bags.

Enter Miu Miu. Taking center stage for Look of the Week is this trendy variation on the otherwise awkward design of the bowling bag.

This beautiful bag raises the bar on bowler style (if there is such a thing) with its exceptional cut-out design and deep, rich color accentuating its center.

So, me ladies, Miu Miu has once again taken a familiar concept far beyond the status quo and created a stylish feast for the senses. Bon appetit!

Miu Miu
Cutout Bowler Bag
Neiman Marcus