All posts by highup

Are these spiky, glitter heels the cutest party shoes of 2012?

DSquared2 High HeelsI’ll admit that I’m a sucker for glitter but everything about these new high heels from Dsquared2 had me at hello.  They are simply too cute for words, and fashionable too as they dial-in to hot seasonal trends like floral embellishments, glitter and the now ubiquitous spikes.

The pretty party shoes are from Dsquared2’s fall / winter 2012 collection, and they come with either a white or a “glitter rosa” toe and ankle strap. In both cases the delicate-looking bunch of flowers arranged on the outside of the heel is in the same red, green and blue formation.

Dsquared2 party high heelsA lot of kudos has to go to Dean and Dan, the Canadian twin brothers behind Dsquared2 as I’m already picking these heels as the cutest party shoes I’ve seen in a long time. They could be a celebrity party favorite too, with the silly season just around the corner. Unfortunately these Italian-made heels have celebrity and designer price tags. The rosa is available from Zappos for $1,645 and the white from Dsquared2 direct for $1,756. But a girl can dream.

Have your feet tickled by Jimmy Choo!

Jimmy Choo mulesIf you’re anything like me, you’ll just *hate* to have your feet tickled. And I know I’m not alone: most of my girlfriends feel the same way. But knowing all that hasn’t stopped pop-artist Rob Pruitt referencing this egregious pastime in his collaboration with Jimmy Choo in a capsule collection for Spring / Summer 2013.

Pruitt’s “Tickle mules” do make me laugh though, and not because I’m squirming with ticklishness. These playful shoes bring a smile to my face because, above all, they are fun. The shoe is completely over-the-top and, in keeping with this, it references all aspects of the boudoir – there’s the oversized feather from which “Tickle” gets its name, and even angel and devil printed panda motifs on the insole for the girl who can’t decide whether to be naughty or nice. The 4.5 inch heel is a glitter zebra-print (what else!) and the soles are colored a slightly naughty pink.

Rob Pruitt Jimmy Choo shoesThe shoe is a mule of course – the time-honoured bedroom footwear for generations – but its striking, self-mickey-taking personality will certainly see it moving beyond the bedroom to hit the streets and red carpets this coming season. I can see the Tickle as a feature in itself, worn with a little black dress to draw attention to its multitude of features. Another option would be to wear Tickle as part of a multi-colored ensemble: I’m thinking fluoro hotpants, a bright feather boa and zebra-striped eyeglasses.

sexy sandals

Top sexy high heels

These items of fantasy footwear may never leave the house, but they're guaranteed to spice things up in the bedroom ...
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Rob Pruit Jimmy Choo

The Jimmy Choo x Rob Pruitt capsule collection was launched at a cocktail party in NYC Thursday. Here’s the artist himself with the Tickle mule (picture: @JimmyChooLtd). will be featuring more of the collection in the next few days. In the meantime, the Jimmy Choo and Rob Pruitt Tickle patent leather mules are available now from Net-a-Porter for £458.33, and come with angel and devil panda stickers.

tickle mules by Rob Pruitt and Jimmy Choo

Kick a goal in high heeled sneaker boots

high heel sneaker bootsFor a variation on the sneaker high heel, how about high heeled sneaker boots? These Taylor black adult boots may not be much good for kicking goals, but they would be great to dress up to watch a game in.

UPDATE: I found the Taylor boots featured in this articles online in 2012 but they are no longer available.

They might also make for an excellent accompaniment to a racy referee costume for Halloween, or a cheeky cheerleader, lanky linebacker or upstanding umpire… I could go on but for once I won’t.

Anyhow my point is that it is the season for dress-ups, so little excuse is needed to add a pair of these cheap, cheerful and sexy boots to your collection. They are made of canvas and have a 4.5 inch heel.

sneaker high heels


Killer high heels you can actually walk in

Stuart Weitzman Fall Winter 2012There might be nothing sexier to look at than a dagger-like stiletto heel, but a 5 or 6 inch metal spike on your shoe is not exactly practical. Fortunately Stuart Weitzman has come up with the perfect solution with his new Dagger pump.

The designer has engineered a patent leather pump with a sexy, razor thin metal spike-heel. Unlike other killer heels this site has reviewed, the Dagger’s titanium, pin-point heel is a very manageable 4 inches high. The leather footbed should also cushion and comfort. It is pictured above in shiny, tinto quasar colored patent leather with a silver stiletto heel.

Glitter stilettosThe Dagger is part of Stuart Weitzman’s Fall 2012 collection and has been described by the brand as “glamorous, chic and befittingly provocative.” The shoe also comes in a mini-glitter finish for the sexy Cinderella look and, for an extra $10, in black suede with a gold heel incorporating a flash of leopard skin at the top of the stiletto.

Stuart Weitzman suede and leopard skinRussian model Natalia Vodianova will be the face of the Stuart Weitzman Fall / Winter 2012 campaign, her second campaign with the brand. See a behind-the-scenes video of Natalia’s photoshoot for the campaign with Mario Testino below, in which she wears the black suede Dagger pumps.

The Dagger pump is available from Stuart Weitzman for $375 – $385.


Are cutout shoes still on trend in 2012?

The cutout shoe trend has been around for over three years now, and for a while it seemed like it would never be going away. Every second pair of high heels I saw online was being described as “cutout,” even if they were just regular high heel sandals or peep toe shoes. Nowadays though there seems to be a little less cutout shoe hysteria, so I got to wondering whether the cutout shoe trend would survive 2012 and beyond.

If social media is any guide, then the answer is that cutout shoes are here to stay for a while yet. Facebook fans went mad for these Mokada cutout platform pumps by B Brian Atwood when the designer posted them earlier this month. And unlike some cutout shoes of earlier times, the Mokada employs the cutout detail in a subtle and understated way: the edgy, pointed toe, futuristic design and ankle strap all mean the cutout detail is a highlight rather than the main feature of this shoe. Mokada is from the B Brian Atwood collection and is available from Brian Atwood for $465.

Subtlety is also the name of the game with this tidal wave-inspired Giuseppe Zanotti bootie. Here the designer has used the cutout effect to help the wave pattern to stick out rather than being the feature themselves of the shoe. This 6 inch high heel has a hidden platform that peeks through the cutouts and is available from Neiman Marcus for $1,150.

So that’s my take on the fate of the cutout shoe this year – it’s not so much disappearing in 2012 as evolving and improving.

The perfect black work pumps: comfortable, pointy and reasonably priced

Aldo black pumpsThe black work pump is an essential of office attire: it goes with everything, can be worn daily and will stand up to punishment with a bold defiance. Over the years I’ve wrecked far too many pairs of black work pumps to count – bashing heels on every conceivable corner and scratching the leather on hidden office hazards that they never tell you about in induction.

It’s not that I don’t love them of course. I love them to death – for their practicality, their comfort and their magic ability to keep my ankles from twisting when running for the bus.

Boutique 9 black high heels with collar detailAnd that’s the problem with black high heels – they’re for work, not play. They live a hard and happy life but it is a short one compared to their glamorous designer cousins. Office heels live under the desk, not in an embroidered designer dust bag.

Feeling that another pair are coming to the end of their natural lifespan, I’m on the hunt for some new ones and comfort has to be top of my list of desired features. If my black work pumps aren’t comfortable then I might as well be trekking around the office in gravity-defying Alexander McQueen party heels, or 6-inch Louboutins. And when Loubie called them “pleasure with pain” last week he sure wasn’t kidding.

For me a comfortable work heel is no more than four inches high with no platform (platforms are fine, but not for every day). Some padding on the insole is also highly regarded. A leather upper is essential.

Ivanka Trump high heels with cut-out detailsUsually I opt for a pointy style – not enough to squeeze the foot, but not too little that they look like grandma shoes either. A hint of toe-cleavage is ideal, but more than a hint says “nightclub” not office.” We’re going for the smart, in control and feminine  look, not desperate and dateless.

Finally, the ideal black work pump must be reasonably priced. I wear designer heels to the office too, but not every day. If I had that much money I wouldn’t be at work! The perfect black work pumps I’ve chosen to illustrate this column are (from top to bottom):

Black work pumps by Nine WestSo there you have it – the perfect pair of black work pumps are comfortable, pointy and reasonably priced. Add feminine, practical, hard-working and versatile to that list and it would be rude to ask for anything more.

Calvin Klein high heels

Born Again range makes wood sexy

Up and coming UK-based shoe designer Bryan Oknyansky has just unveiled his latest range called Born Again. The new line was commissioned to accompany the Sorapol Brand launch and was recently showcased on the runway to fashion glitterati in London’s Hanover Square.

Oknyansky’s latest range comes on the heels of his inventive Heavy Metal Series collection which we profiled earlier this year. Born Again is every bit as cutting-edge as the Heavy Metal Series, but it draws on an entirely different expression of technology and luxury – taking its cues from nature and using wood as the feature material, bringing a new edge to shoe fashion.

At the launch, models tiptoed down the runway barefoot, clutching the wooden shoes as if holding must-have handbags, allowing the audience a closer look.  Together with the beauty of Sorapol’s couture, the collection of wedge (Genesi Heel) and stiletto platform (Butterfly Heel) were captivating and ethereal, evoking thoughts of butterfly wings, cocoons and even tropical life forms…

Who knew wood could be so sexy?

Bryan Oknyansky’s sky high steel heels

Introducing a fusion of steel, technology and beauty… brings you an awesome preview of Bryan Oknyansky’s new ranges of limited edition, made-to-order sky-high steel heels from his recent collection that will be on show at next week’s Paris Fashion Week.

Off the back of a truly outstanding showing of his debut “Heavy Metal Series’ collection at Berlin Fashion week, up and coming architecture and footwear designer Bryan is one of the new breed of designers making his mark in the pursuit of luxury design innovation. Bryan’s latest collection is a result of experimental digital design and fabrication techniques to create steel heels that are the most exquisite and durable on earth, with steel set to become a new symbol of luxury footwear.

Following widespread interest and demand, Bryan is taking his collection to Paris Fashion Week where he will debut two new ranges at the Capsule Showroom,on  1-3 October 2011. On show will be Bryan’s four new cutting edge designs based on his debut Caged Heels and Spider Heels. However these will retail at a fraction of the price of Bryan’s earlier collection, where each steel pair is as unique as a fingerprint and retails for upwards of $10,000 a pair – rivalling historic powerhouse ladies footwear brand Roger Vivier’s five-figure limited edition ladies footwear collection.

Bryan’s Heavy Metal Series is currently taking pre-orders with manufacture to start in time for the 2011 holiday season.

We wish Bryan all the very best at Paris Fashion Week.

Designer Feature: Ra Synclair

For the next installment of the High Heels Daily designer feature series we thought we’d switch gears a bit and and focus on a different kind of designer perspective. We love chatting with new brands on the rise, but we also recognize that our love for more established labels is driven by behind-the-scenes designers whose names you may not know, but whose designs we all admire.

One such designer is women’s footwear designer Ra Synclair. I was very kindly introduced to Ra by our friends Kim & Marc of Auri Footwear. The New York City-based designer currently works for Jimlar – an umbrella footwear corporation, which includes brands like Calvin Klein, Coach, and Frye. She told me a bit about the difference between designing for clients and designing for her own tastes:

Even on paper high heels are sexier and more fun to me to draw; the lines, the architecture of a high heel are “it!” Although, flats are a challenge in a different way because I think it takes a different eye and sense of creativity to make a flat sexy, or fun, or sophisticated. I’m a high heel girl to the core, however.

Ra earned a BA in Architecture and Studio Art from Smith College in Massachusetts, then went on to study Footwear Design at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles. Her education also included working with a shoe repairman, where she learned, hands on, about the materials, history, and process of shoe-making. Being well aware of her love for shoes since childhood, Ra engaged her goal of being a footwear designer with vigor and worked her way up from being an intern then product coordinator at Brown Shoe Co. before landing her current gig as Women’s Private Label Designer at Jimlar. Living and working in a “walking city” like New York has encouraged this high heels lover to make some footwear compromises:

My daytime footwear has changed drastically and I now look for a heel, platform, or wedge with a pitch that stays within a 75-90mm range, that’s like 3, 3 1/2 inches. And I think there are tons of designers out there embracing that. Givenchy lately has been doing some beautiful mid heels, I just recently bought the perfect Prada platform which looks sky high but really isn’t and I can walk in it all day… For night though it’s all taxi cabs so I can strut from the curb to the door in the highest of the high and dance all night.

See Ra’s trusty pair of Prada’s above, which she featured recently on her blog 6 Pairs, 12 Steps. On the blog the designer shares some of her shoe loves, inspirations, and sketches. We’d love to see the below design, which features a “self covered heel with sliver of ‘mirror’ at center back” go into production. Ra’s dream job is to one day run her own line, and when she does we’ll be first in line to try them out!

Designer Feature: Natalia Barbieri of Bionda Castana

Shoe designers Jennifer Portman and Natalia Barbieri are the “bionda” (blonde) and the “castana” (brunette) of the swiftly rising footwear brand Bionda Castana Milano. The London-founded label is a delightful union of British style and Italian craftsmanship, resulting in shoes that are lasting luxury, with just the right dash of fashion relevance.

For our latest edition to the High Heels Daily designer feature series Natalia Barbieri (the brunette) lets us in on a bit of what makes the fabulous brand tick. The former investment banker made a bold career move and studied under an Italian craftsman before launching the label with Portman in 2007.

What’s it like working as a design duo?

Working alongside Jennifer is just fantastic. We are both on the same wave length when it comes to all elements of the business be it designing or future plans for BC, which makes it so much easier and a great environment to work in. Zero office politics and quite frankly, there is far too much workload for just one person.

In terms of our daily seperate roles, I look after the sales and marketing side, whereas Jennifer is more hands on with Production and Quality Control. We both come together to design the collections every season.

Below: a sample of the Bionda Castana Spring 2011 Collection

How did your education and other background lead to footwear design? Did always know you were interested in fashion?

We both studied business degrees which allowed us to understand the fundamentals of setting up our own business. Knowing both how to create an amazing shoe and understanding cash flow and budgets is super important. Both myself and Jennifer have loved fashion since we were little girls so we are truly living out our dream.

You’ve mentioned that you design for “free-thinking” women. How does this perspective affect your design process?

The term free thinking best describes our customer because she is someone who doesn’t follow fashion or trends. She makes up her own mind as to what she wants to wear and how she wants to wear it.

We are effectively women designing for women and knowing what shoes we want to wear and what shoes we need in our own wardrobes – gives us our secret ingredient….we are our own customer.

Our collections are classic with an edge, polished yet tough. Each season we introduce a new shape or heel so that we come closer of achieving our goal of dressing the feet of every kind of woman.

If you could have only one pair of heels in your wardrobe, which would they be? Why?

A pair of our ROISIN studded booties from the AW10 collection in either black suede or grey leather. Stunning and real show piece that will dress up any outfit. (seen below in black suede)

Who are some other designers (shoes/heels, if applicable) whose work you admire?

Sergio Rossi is definately an icon of mine. His designs are what inspired me to start my own range of shoes and in fact, he was the first luxury shoe designer I bought a pair of shoes from. They are so beautifully crafted and timeless.

Who would you most love to see wearing your shoes?

I am totally in love with Kate Bosworth at the moment. So feminine, gracious and never makes a fashion faux pas. Beautiful.