Alexandre Birman two-tone strappy sandal | 110mm/4.3″ heel | shop at Shopbop for $595
This cage sandal mixes several elements which make for a fabulous statement shoe including bows, a sleek stiletto heel and strappy silhouette. They’re from the Spring/Summer 2014 collection featuring two knotted suede bows with red leather lining, hortensia pink suede, fiery coral leather, signature slim swirly straps and nude leather lining. Half sizes are available.
Resort, Cruise, Pre-Spring – whatever you call it, I like it! These inter-season styles are a welcome change after a gloomy winter filled with heavy boots. Cruise is now one the biggest and most important seasons of the year for both retailers & brands (including Chanel!).
The yummy colors are a breath of fresh air and designed for frolicking around the Caribbean or other tropical destinations. Many times I much prefer the playful cruise styles over the spring collections. This season is delicious as ever with Jimmy Choo’s pastel gelato heels and Charlotte Olympia’s Sweet Talk confectionary creations.
Here’s a look at some of my favorite new resort arrivals:
Alexandre Birman strappy sandal | 110mm/4.3″ heel | shop at Shoescribe for $618.00
Meet the new Melody cage sandal from Birman’s latest Resort 2014 collection. It’s a gladiator-inspired work of art with scarlet red suede swirly straps alternating between thin patent leather straps. They also feature a patent leather covered heel and suede back tie with metal aglets.
Winter is upon us, which can only mean onething for the ever-moving world of fashion: Spring shoes are just around the corner and a heap of new trends is going to come with it. It’s intimidating, but have no fear! While you’ve been zipping up your knee high boots, we’ve been hot on the trail of the best shoe styles of the upcoming season. Even though it was difficult to narrow it down, here are the trends we’re most looking forward to for Spring 2014:
Mules: Not to be confused with the animal, mules are shoes characterized by their exposed heel and this Spring 2014 season they are everywhere. Backless shoes are a trend everyone can rock, as they come in a myriad of heights. We spotted them on the catwalks of mega-brands Alexander Wang, Chloé, Stella McCartney, and Céline. Our faves? Of course, Gianvito Rossi is the master of the mule – he even designed Altuzarra’s gorgeous runway mules – but, we also can’t help but love Monique Lhuillier’s gorgeous use of PVC in her heel-baring designs and Christian Louboutin’s bead-embellished creations.
Placid Blue: This icy-toned blue is one of Pantone’s top picks for the Spring 2014 season. Dubbed “placid blue,” this hue does indeed have a calming and serene quality about it and designers latched onto it for their warmer weather designs. Used as both the main color and as an accenting neutral, we love the way this normally subversive color is taking control this season. From the curved heel of Walter Steiger’s glorious pump to Miu Miu’s chunky heeled platform, this color has proven itself to be much more than an Easter egg favorite.
Freesia: As if to tell placid blue to move over and share the stage, this Pantone pick is a blazing yellow that commands attention. Freesia is the color of electric citrus, and where placid blue is a blue sky, freesia is the smoldering sun. Just a glimpse at the color instantly energizes you, which is why it isn’t surprising that designers such as Giuseppe Zanotti, Nicholas Kirkwood, Prada, ShoeRazzi favorite Jerome C. Rousseau, and John Galliano (spotted on the trendy heels of Rita Ora) have all utilized this vibrant color. After all, there is no better way to add a kick of ferocity to an outfit than with a sick pair of shoes!
Sporty: This spring, the femininity of high heels are combining with an unexpected element: sportiness. We briefly delved into this trend in our recap of the hottest shoes on the Milanese runways, but this trend is proving to be much more than a footnote. Whether it’s through the use of athletic materials such as perforated leather (Daniele Michetti), woven nylon (Balenciaga), and neoprene (John Galliano), or through design like Emilio Pucci’s padded leather straps, Prada’s rubber bumpers and sole, or Christian Dior’s sneaker laces, it’s clear that one of the hottest trends of Spring 2014 is combining urban style with luxury.
Funky Embellishments: For the past couple seasons, wild embellishments have been a designer standby to make their shoes really stand out, and this season is no different. We’re seeing a wealth of extravagant and unique embellishments that are making classic shoe designs total statement makers. From Sophia Webster’s spunky and vibrant butterfly wings to Bionda Castana’s ingenious use of lace and silicone to create a leopard print, using embellishments is the go-to way to make your shoes the most enviable soles on the block. Christian Louboutin even got in on the trend with his darling doorknocker embellishments and that’s how you know it’s a must-follow trend.
Floral Appliqué: Along the same vein of embellishments, another incredibly popular trend during this upcoming spring and summer season is the use of floral appliqués. It makes sense when you think about it: what better way to celebrate warm weather’s flowers and gorgeous variety of colors than using those very vessels of vibrancy as shoe-spiration? The flowers range from subtle (Christian Dior, Brian Atwood) to a veritable bouquet (we’re looking at you Aperlai and Kotur!), but no matter the size of the flower, we love the elegance and femininity it effortlessly conveys.
Beaded: By this time, you’re probably sensing a theme: next season is all about personality-filled shoes. The more accoutrements the better. Following the shoe jewelry trend (shoewlry? We’ll work on a name for this, we promise), some of the hottest shoes you’ll be seeing in Spring 2014 are ornately beaded works of footwear art. Emilio Pucci’s Masai-inspired beading is picture perfect, Paul Andrew’s floral inspiration combines two trends in one pump, and Aperlai’s caviar beaded platform shoes – seen on Willow Shields during The Hunger Games: Catching Fire press tour – is edgy while still being darling. However, the shoe that takes the bead-embellished cake is definitely Jerome C. Rousseau’s multi-beaded, multi-dimensional heel, which is sure to turn heads.
There are several sexy designs from Birman’s new Pre-Fall 2013 collection including this soft black leather bootie. They feature a glossy leather open lattice front panel, back-zip closure and lace-up front with leather laces. Latticework gets me every time & I would wear this with a white or colorful pedi.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Footwear News CEO Summit in Miami Beach. I was the newbie, I’m clearly not an executive but I wanted to meet the designers & industry leaders which I’ve been writing about for the past three years.
The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and luckily I found new friend, Karen who was also a first-time attendee. She’s a graduate of FIT and inspired by the beautiful minimalism of Céline. I will get to see her debut contemporary designer line, KAREN, which launches the first week of September in New York.
The overall theme of the conference was “transformation” and for two days I heard many designers speak including: Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Rupert Sanderson, Nicholas Kirkwood, Isa Tapia, Charline De Luca, Alexandre Birman, Tony Hsieh plus more.
I want to share a couple of highlights from the designers themselves:
Designer Charlotte Dellal spoke with the president of Charlotte Olympia, Bonnie Takhar about stepping onto the global stage. Her brand is only 5 years old and she’s quickly building a company which is clearly on the path to major shoe brand domination à la Christian Louboutin.
Charlotte shared two important things that she’s learned: 1. Stay true to the brand 2. Surround yourself with the very best people
She stuck to her love for everything nostalgic and has carved a very strong & specific niche in designer shoes.
Charlotte’s also created strong relationships with luxury retailers like Neiman Marcus by giving them so much more than just the standard seasonal collections. She’s released encore collections, holiday-inspired designs and most recently the cosmic collection which centered around horoscope signs.
I spoke briefly with Charlotte and she’s truly one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. She’s genuine, glowy (maybe extra glowy because she’s pregnant!) and I’m excited to see her next spring collection in Paris this September.
Outside of his designs, I didn’t know much about Brazilian designer Alexandre Birman or his story, but I learned that shoemaking is in his blood.
Earlier this year he was named president of his family’s 40-year-old powerhouse footwear company, Arezzo & Co.
He titled his story ‘dreaming in high heels, walking in flats’. Alexandre shared 5 key decisions that helped transform his company including the ability to innovate, solid marketing, efficient supply, nationwide distribution and performance-based management.
They currently operate 4 women’s shoe brands, Arezzo, Anacapri, Alexandre Birman and Schutz. Birman is building a powerful international business and you may remember the recent Schutz U.S. push. They also opened a Madison Ave. NY store which was promoted by several top bloggers.
Of course my shoe hoarder collecting self admires that his father has kept shoe samples since the 70s and they now have an archive of over 40,000 pairs of shoes!
Isa Tapia and Charline De Luca
Relatively new-to-the-scene designers, Charline De Luca and Isa Tapia sat down for a conversation session with the Saks Fifth Avenue Senior Fashion Director of Accessories, Elizabeth Kanfer. They spoke about industry changes and the new contemporary designer niche.
Isa Tapia interned for Marc Jacobs & apprenticed for Oscar de la Renta before launching her own line. She’s chosen to use the highest quality materials while producing in China. I admired her courage when starting her namesake label saying, “I jumped in, made some shoes and crossed my fingers.”
Isa looks at the $450-600 price point from a positive perspective and knows she can get both contemporary customers and designer shoe lovers.
Italian designer Charline De Luca is a trained architect and describes her footwear as ”architectural, rigorous and balanced with a touch of femininity”. Last year she was one of the top names to know in the high-end women’s market and more recently her Zaha shoe was selected for The Museum at FIT Shoe Obsession exhibition.
One of Charline’s first priorities was to get the price at an entry level on the designer floor. She offers young customers designer shoes at a more affordable price point.
Nicholas Kirkwood (who apparently just launched an e-store?!) sat down with FN’s Senior Fashion Editor, Regina Popp to talk about his transformative year.
Things to know about Kirkwood:
- He gets bored easily and thus, he doesn’t have one key design that he has to include in every collection. Instead, Kirkwood worked hard creating an established brand and now he can be adventurous with his designs, switching it up season after season.
- Thankfully, Nicholas says he will never do a diffusion line.
- Tilda Swinton is his dream celebrity client. Impressively, he also remembered that she wore a nude leather pump last year at a photo call during last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
- He just debuted his new menswear line at London Fashion Week! Before he designed womenswear, Kirkwood originally made shoes for himself so this is a natural step for him. Plus, he said that everyone has been bugging him to start one.
- Instead of the usual showroom presentation, he will present the Spring ’14 collections this fall differently….more of a presentation-style and not a runway show.
- The next logical step for the brand will be designing bags. Nicholas says he only needs one or two star bags but he’s not rushing it.
Rupert Sanderson has an amazing story and he’s made the process of starting & running a successful brand look easy. Rupert closed out the summit speaking about 5 transformative moments during his brand’s career.
His story began in Italy with him riding a motorbike through the country visiting shoe factories. Rupert then decided to become a shoemaker and he’s very grateful to have worked and learned from the founders of Sergio Rossi.
Rupert believes that “less is more” and I appreciate his pure design aesthetic. I told him that the Elba pump is currently celebrity candy and I found out that it’s be worn more than other other shoe this award season!
All of Rupert’s designs are named after daffodils and there are over over 13,000 types so he will never run of names.
He’s picky about collaborations and rightfully so since they can be very time consuming. Rupert’s currently designs Karl Lagerfeld’s mainline catwalk collection.
In 2006 he bought a shoe factory in the outskirts of Bologna, Italy where his designs are produced. I quickly learned that this is every shoemaker’s dream.
He’s also just launched his bag line and his first design – the Music Bag – is based on his old recorder sheet-music satchel.
You can keep up with Rupert on his blog at Vogue UK.
I had a chance to personally meet all of these designers (minus Birman) and they’re all very different and lovely in their own way. I have to say that my two favorites were Charlotte & Rupert. Charlotte is very kind and Rupert is direct & respectful. They both have amazing brands; I loved chatting with them.
I consider this my “kick-off” event. I’m heading to FFANY next month and then booked all of the 4 cities for fashion week this September!
Alexandre Birman ankle-strap sandal |110mm heel | buy online at LuisaViaRoma for $746.00
Birman has had the red carpet spotlight recently as Amanda Seyfried wore his designs to several award shows.
These new Spring 2013 sandals are lovely and there are two styles available – one featuring metallic snakeskin + leather, and the other (pictured below) is metallic gold snakeskin + black suede. The ankle strap wraps around the back of the foot and the cut-out straps at the front blend from snakeskin to leather or suede.
They’re on pre-order in arrival by April 30.
Gold watersnake sandal | buy online at LuisaViaRoma for $707
Amanda Seyfried wore Alexandre BirmanNaomie blue satin platform pumps to the premiere of ‘Lovelace’ at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival. Here’a better look at her shoes. She’s worn the Naomie pumps in black satin to several red carpet events.
Amanda had two different film premieres during this festival. Between this look and her ‘Les Miserables’ dress, I prefer this royal blue sleeveless tiered lace gown by Elie Saab from the Spring 2013 collection. She also accessorized with Tiffany & Co. earrings and nude pink nails.
Amanda Seyfried was spotted outside the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’ wearing Alexandre BirmanNaomie black satin platform pumps. These heels are available online (on sale!) in blue leather & cork at LuisaViaRoma.
Just like her co-star Anne Hathaway, Amanda also made an appearance on the evening show promoting ‘Les Miserables’ (hits theaters Christmas Day). She’s worn these pumps again & again – clearly they’re one of her favorite styles.
I adore her Michael Kors LBD from the Resort 2013 collection with gold embroidery around both pockets.
Amanda Seyfried wore Alexandre BirmanNaomie black satin platform pumps to the ‘Les Miserables’ after party in London. These heels are available online (on sale!) in blue leather & cork at LuisaViaRoma.
She switched out of her red carpet Balenciaga ruffled dress and into a more comfortable outfit for the party. Amanda wore coated black skinny jeans with a black button-up blouse and wool coat.