Category Archives: Designer

Taxi shoes by Kate Spade New York

Kate Spade taxi shoes

Kate Spade New York has captured the epitome of New York – the New York taxi – in a shoe. But it’s not a taxi shoe, if you know what I mean.

Instead, Kate Spade has turned the brand’s spirited approach to making a manageable 4 inch heel out of the taxi motif that defines the city the never sleeps. Colorful and creative, fun, serious, playful, sophisticated…

The taxi shoe is called Lexie and it has a quality leather upper with sparkling sequins.

More than anything, Lexie reflects Kate Spade’s passion for sharing the colorful parts of the New York vibe that has long shaped the Kate Spade New York brand. Love New York, love these shoes.

Lexie  is available via Zappos for $398.

Taxi shoes

taxi shoes kate spade

The perfect bridal shoes for the perfect day

Wedding high heels

If the highlights of your wedding reception were the amuse-bouches or the $12 per head you spent on chair coverings, then you may have missed the mark. In truth, the rules of wedding planning are no different from the rules of everyday life: make sure there’s plenty of alcohol, and spend the rest on shoes.

Casadei’s bridal collection can assist with the latter. A mere €650 will get you a pair of the Blade Sheer, an exquisite white nappa laminated mirror-leather peep toe heel with sheer mesh panels and a gold trim.

sexy sandals

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The Sheer has a 4 inch version of Casadei’s famous real steel blade heel, and is available online now from the designer’s website.

Casadei wedding heels


Casadei bridal shoes

High heel sneakers from Christian Louboutin

Christian Louboutin sneaker high heels

It’s 100% a mystery to me why more designers don’t produce high heel sneakers. Every time a pair come on the market they fly off the shelves.

Anyhow, Christian Louboutin knows a money-making shoe when he sees one, hence his new Boltina trainer high heel.

This new 4.8 inch stiletto has mesh side-panels and lining just like a sneaker. However dig beneath the surface and you’ll find the designer’s iconic red-sole – which is leather of course.

The sneaker high heel has a Christian Louboutin logo detail on both the tongue and heel.

UPDATE: as at at 10 March 2016, this shoe has sold out and is unavailable for sale. It was once sold from Neiman Marcus for $1,095 in April 2015. If this high heeled sneaker becomes available again we will link to retail outlets from this post.

sneaker high heels by Christian Louboutin

Saint Laurent’s Tribute sandals – and the Tribtoo too

tribute by Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent’s platform Tribute sandal made its debut in 2004 under the brand’s then creative director Stefano Pilati.

Back then, Saint Laurent was known as Yves Saint Laurent and Tribute fast became a celebrity favorite.

Production of the shoe continued after French fashion designer Hedi Slimane took over the brand in 2013, rebadging YSL as Saint Laurent.

Tribute’s distinctive strappy look and longevity mean it is instantly recognisable as an iconic designer shoe.

Tribute is currently available in a range of colors and heights at Barney’s. The version pictured here costs $895.

Tribtoo pump by Saint Laurent

The Tribtoo platform pump with its distinctive square heel (also known as the Trib Too) evolved from the Tribute sandal at some point during this period and became another go-to shoe for celebrities.

Tribtoo has been seen on A-listers such as Paris, Salma, Brittany, Heidi, Victoria, Christina, Drew… pretty much anyone actually. The shoe retails via Barney’s for $795.

Saint Laurent’s iconic Tribute high heel is one of the five high heeled shoes you should own before you die.

To see the others, take a look at the shoes we’ve rated as five of the best high heels in the world ever.

Gianmarco Lorenzi sandals: creating dreams on women’s feet

Gianmarco Lorenzi double platform

Gianmarco Lorenzi’s mission statement is to create dreams on women’s feet. He’s been doing that for over 30 years, finding particular fame with the double platform look featured here.

So much so that the indented Lorenzi platform was rapidly copied in stripper shoes.

Many of Lorenzi’s recent creations have incorporated the double platform, including the Daisy leather sandals embellished with  yellow gold Swarovski crystals from the Black Label range.

They’re currently on sale at Gianmarco Lorenzi London for £440.

Despite being a celebrity favorite, Lorenzi maintains a low profile. The only Gianmarco Lorenzi quote we could find online was this one:

The perfect shoe is a result of a delicate balance between fashion and my personal idea of femininity.

This unmistakeable look from an iconic brand makes it one of our five most iconic high heeled shoes in the world right now.

Gianmarco Lorenzi


Gianmarco Lorenzi’s iconic double platform heels are one of the five high heeled shoes you should own before you die.

To see the others, take a look at the shoes we’ve rated as the best five high heels in the world ever.

BB pump by Manolo Blahnik: “totally timeless and very chic and flattering”

BB pump by Manolo Blahnik

In 2012 Manolo Blahnik confirmed that his BB pump is the best-selling shoe he had ever produced, describing it as “totally timeless and very chic and flattering.”

BB is named after sex symbol Brigitte Bardot, and it is inspired by the fashions of the 1950s when Bardot reigned supreme.

Blahnik reintroduced the BB court shoe in 2009, and since then it has been produced in over 50 colors and in heel heights ranging from 2 inches to nearly 5 inches. 4 inches remains the staple though.

Manolo Blahnik BB pump

Blahnik’s favorite color BB is sold out (“I love it in beautiful silk ottoman, in the brightest Spanish yellow,” the designer once told ELLE) but the BB is available from Bergdorf Goodman in over 50 colors with prices starting from $595.

BB is also available online from Sak’s Fifth Avenue. See it in grey coated satin here.

Manolo Blahnik’s iconic BB high heel is one of the five high heeled shoes you should own before you die.

To see the others, take a look at the shoes we’ve rated as the best five high heels in the world ever.

Christian Louboutin’s Pigalle high heel: “the design that encapsulates my career”

Christian Louboutin Pigalle

With its trademark red sole and revealing toe-cleavage, the classic Pigalle pump is Christian Louboutin’s most popular and revered stiletto of his 20+ year design career.

The shoe is named Pigalle after one of Louboutin’s favorite neighborhoods in Paris: the Quartier Pigalle is home to the famous Moulin Rogue cabaret as well as dozens of other theatres and shows.

Pigalle comes in a range of different heel heights besides the 120mm (5 inches) shown here. They include the more walkable 100mm (4 inches) and 85mm (3.4 inches) versions.

Since debuting in 2004, the shoe has been produced in a vast range of colors and of diverse materials including python and watersnake.

Spiked versions and even flat versions of the Pigalle are on sale right now. However the classic shiny black patent leather red-soled shoe on a 5 inch heel is the original and most loved Pigalle look of all time.

Pigalle is the most famous and recognisable Louboutin of all time. So much so that Louboutin has himself described it as “the design that encapsulates my career.”

Louboutin has made plenty of classic pumps (including the relatively new celeb favourite the So Kate) but Pigalle will always be the indispensable heel in any designer shoe wardrobe.

This all unfortunately means that Pigalle is so popular that it can be difficult to lay your hands on a pair. Try your luck at Louboutin’s website where it retails for $625.

Christian Louboutin’s iconic Pigalle high heel pump is one of the five high heeled shoes you should own before you die.

To see the others, take a look at the shoes we’ve rated as the best five high heels in the world ever.

Cesare Casadei’s Blade high heel: a magnificent obsession

Casadei blade heels


In the same way that the Charlotte Olympia platform has come to define that brand’s shoes, or the Alexander McQueen armadillo heels have allowed McQueen’s legacy to live beyond the grave, Cesare Casadei’s blade heel has become the label’s signature tune. Casadei is already describing it as “iconic.”

Launched in 2011, the ‘blade’ heel is a stiletto heel made of real steel. The shoe took literally years of research to get right, and the blades are individually handmade, one by one, by shoemakers in the label’s Italian factory.

After being honed to the point where they look like a sharp razor blade, the heels are then individually”welded” to the upper soles of shoes by a leather sheath. The process was so difficult that the designer described it as an “obsession.”

In fact the blade heel nearly didn’t happen at all. The successful end-product was Casadei’s last try at creating the steel stiletto. “Nobody did it before us. After five months I thought it was impossible,” Casadei confessed in February 2014.

Shortly after its creation, the blade heel was popularised by Kim Kardashian, who tweeted that her pair were the “perfect hot pink heel” in April 2012.

Other celebrities followed and Casadei’s blades have since been seen on all the usual suspects: Kylie Minogue, Eva Longoria and Victoria Beckham have all stepped out in the shoes.

In March 2014 HIMYM actress Cobie Smulders  wore a pink pair to the premiere of Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the El Capitan Theatre.

Cobie Smulders in Casadei Blade pumps


Design doesn’t stand still. For Fall / Winter 2013-14, the designer reinterpreted the blade heel, making it into a wider golden column shape named the “BladeOne.”

The original blade is still going strong too. The shape may have started on pumps but it has rapidly now expanded to be seen on Casadei boots, sandals and other shoes – even wedges!

The blade heel is available online from Casadei for €620 (around US$850).

Blade pump by Casadei


Cesare Casadei’s iconic Blade high heel is one of the five high heeled shoes you should own before you die.

To see the others, take a look at the shoes we’ve rated as the five of the best high heels in the world ever.

Christian Louboutin’s iconic Pigalle high heels turn 10 years old

Christian Louboutin PigalleAt the 10th birthday party of his favourite high heels, reflects on the secrets to Christian Louboutin’s success.

Now nearly as famous as its creator himself, this season Christian Louboutin’s iconic black high heel the Pigalle turned 10 years old. A sleek, low-cut heel with Louboutin’s trademark red sole, Pigalle’s soaring stiletto is the designer’s most popular heel of his spectacular 23-year career. In an area of fashion in which trends change so quickly, Pigalle’s success merits investigation. For despite its longevity and price tag – the basic model costs US$625 a pair – in 2014 the shoes still sell out as quickly as their designer can stock his shelves.

Pigalle was born a decade ago for the European Autumn/Winter season of 2004. That was the same year that Sex and the City ended its run, a show that did as much as anything to spawn society’s obsession with high priced designer shoes. Like the creators of this iconic show, Louboutin realised that sex sells: everything about Pigalle is at least faintly sexually suggestive, from its red sole to its highly-reflective black patent leather and thin spike heel. The front vamp is even cut extra low to deliberately reveal generous portions of “toe-cleavage” – the gaps between the wearer’s toes that Louboutin has referred to as a woman’s “third cleavage” (the other two being chests and bottoms naturally).

The simplicity of Pigalle is, in truth, a shoe designer’s deception. Every single part of every shoe is handmade at Louboutin’s factory in Italy. It is a labour-intensive affair with at least ten workers involved in creating every pair. Perfection bordering on obsession is the yardstick. The process is in fact typical of high-end, handmade shoes: rival brand Sergio Rossi claims that its heels go through a minimum of 120 different steps before being placed in a box to go to market.

The engineering of Pigalle also defies its simple looks. Louboutin has revealed that a plain pump like Pigalle is actually the most difficult style of shoe to create because it needs to look good on a variety of feet. Last year Sandra Choi, head designer at Jimmy Choo, was quoted to similar effect.

Designers of course have a vested interest in talking up the complexity of what they do, not least a financial interest. Designer shoes have been estimated as having increased in price by at least 50% in the last decade. In 2010 Louboutin blamed the hike on the Euro, telling the Guardian that “[e]verything got more expensive, even bread.” Two years later, Louboutin CEO Alexis Mourot called price “a very sensitive issue” and said the company was taking it very seriously.

Meanwhile, and although Louboutin is coy about the exact figures, retail sales were reported to have exceeded £154  million in 2010 and US$300 million the following year – comfortably double digit growth. Sales of his relatively new men’s line were said by Louboutin last year to be “approaching 25% of our business,” suggesting that this area will grow the brand even further in the future.

Even accounting for the steep price tags, that’s a lot of shoes. In 2011 Louboutin sold around 700,000 pairs – over 1,900 pairs per day. The turnover can generate immense profit for all concerned: retail margins on high-end women’s footwear can be as high as 50%, and luxury shoes generate more profit per square metre of retail space than any other department store item.

Louboutin is doing his best to spend what he makes of it. The designer has been quoted saying that he has “an addiction to buying houses” (Louboutin owns a property in Paris, a thirteenth-century castle in the Vendée, a fisherman’s cottage in Portugal and a place in Aleppo. He also has a houseboat in Luxor for good measure).

Pigalle Christian Louboutin

It has not all been plain sailing. Louboutin has fought fiercely to protect intellectual property rights to the red soles of his heels (the soles have once been painted yellow before to advertise UK department store Selfridges, but most requests to change from the iconic red have been turned down). “Red sole battles” have included litigation with labels such as Saint Laurent, Charles Jourdan and Zara, generating mixed results and some adverse publicity. Back in 2009, now defunct Australian retailer Peep Toe Shoes changed from using red soles on their shoes after coming to the attention of Louboutin’s lawyers.

Counterfeiters are also a problem. The company maintains a multi-faceted approach to stopping the sale of fakes online, describing its standpoint as “zero tolerance.” To this end, in 2003 Louboutin successfully had over 9,500 pages infringing Louboutin copyrights removed from search engine indexes. This month the company collaborated with authorities in the seizure of 292 domain names that were illegally selling counterfeit merchandise online.

Seizures of counterfeit products are also regular, and are recorded on Louboutin’s website. This month, 200 pairs of fakes have already been seized in China. That number pales in comparison to a 2012 confiscation made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of some 20,457 pairs of counterfeit Christian Louboutin shoes which landed in Los Angeles from China. The cost of making each was estimated at under $3 per pair, with a potential retail value thought to be $18 million – a staggering potential profit for the infringers.

All of this background work has assisted in Pigalle’s success, such that it is now Louboutin’s number one selling shoe of all time. And Pigalle has helped Louboutin: from humble beginnings in 1991 (the line was losing money in its second season), the French designer is now the most famous name in women’s footwear.

Like its creator, Pigalle has not stood still. The shoe now comes in a range of different heel heights besides the original 5 inch heel. They include more walkable 4 inch and 3.4 inch versions. Over the years, the shoe has been produced in a vast range of colors and of diverse materials including python and watersnake. Spiked versions and even flat versions of Pigalle are on sale right now.

The cut of the shoe and shape of the heel have also changed slightly since the shoe’s inception, annoying some devotees. However, at its heart, the name “Pigalle” remains associated with a classic shiny black patent leather red-soled shoe on a 5 inch heel, the most loved Louboutin look of all time. It is fair to say that, despite Louboutin’s tinkerings, Pigalle retains all the style and sassiness it has had since back in 2004 when Louboutin named the shoe after one of his favourite neighbourhoods in Paris, the Quartier Pigalle.

Which makes it appropriate now for the designer to pause for reflection. At Pigalle’s tenth birthday party this season Louboutin said, “It’s not a seasonal shoe, but one that lasts a lifetime. You can wear it in winter or summer; it’s suede or leather, shiny or matte. But to my mind, it reaches its maximum expression in black patent leather, because of the colour of the sole and the precision of the design.” Millions of women would agree.

Years earlier, Louboutin described Pigalle more simply. It’s “the design that encapsulates my career,” he said. It is difficult to argue with that either.

Single sole glitter pumps from Jimmy Choo and Casadei

glitter pumps

If two leading shoe designers are doing it, then we think that makes it a shoe trend. The trend we’re talking about is single sole (no platform) glitter pumps. The designers who are getting into the festive spirit with this blinged-out footwear include Jimmy Choo and Casadei, with both labels glittering up their most famous shoes for the occasion.

Jimmy Choo glitter high heels

Jimmy Choo’s sparkly number is the label’s iconic 5 inch Anouk pump in a champagne fabric with a delicate leopard-skin effect. The Choo glitter high heel is available from Choo’s own website for $625.

glitter pumps from Casadei

Meanwhile, Cesare Casadei has plenty of his own bling going on with his own iconic pump. The shoe in question is the Blade heel, featuring Casadei’s engineering masterpiece of a 5 inch stiletto.

This laminated, mirror-leather pump has been decked out with a glitter finish and is available now from Casadei’s website for $750.
Casadei glitter pump