Category Archives: Designer

Where can I buy discount Jimmy Choos online?

discount jimmy choosMany high-end labels seem to frown upon using discount sites to clear excess stock. One reason may be that really hot-selling labels would rather produce a limited number of heels and keep the demands (and their profits) high. Another reason may be the risk of counterfeiting: as soon as a brand increases the number of sites on which its shoes are available, consumers may become less surprised to see those shoes everywhere on the net – and less vigilant against counterfeiting.

Who knows? Anyway, what we do know is that Jimmy Choo and a whole heap of other leading brands (including Fendi, Giuseppe Zanotti and Charlotte Olympia) are happy to sell their shoes at a substantial discount to consumers via leading online retailer Bluefly.

The heels pictured here are Jimmy Choo’s Abel, a four inch heel in metallic gold leather. Abel usually retails for $625 but it is available at a 20% discount via Bluefly for only $500. As an added bonus, Bluefly is currently offering a $50 discount to orders over $300 with no exclusions (the offer code cannot be combined with any other promotion). Follow the link for further details.

The usual warnings with discount sites apply to Bluefly: don’t expect to see the full range of a designer’s products on the site, and don’t expect a full range of sizes for each product either (that said, the metallic gold Abels are currently available in all sizes except 6.5). But if you’re prepared to hunt around many designer shoe bargains may come your way, and that sure beats paying full price.

jimmy choo pumps

How much do Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik REALLY care about comfort?

Back in April 2012 poor old Christian Louboutin was quoted as telling Grazia that he had “not so much sympathy” for women wearing his designer high heels. “High heels are pleasure with pain. If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them,” Christian thundered, causing a predictable outcry.

This followed 2011’s hullabaloo when Christian told the New Yorker ‘I HATE the whole concept of comfort!” Women in ugly shoes wrote furious newspaper columns in protest. These were largely ignored and sales of the red soled shoes continued their rise.

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Fast-forward a year or so and Christian Louboutin says he was misquoted on the issue of comfort. So what did he really think about the importance of comfort to wearers of high heels? And what about two other leading design brands in Jimmy Choo and Manolo Blahnik? Do they really care about comfort when producing their high-end (and high-price) stilettos? Who cares more?

And, while we’re at it, do these big-name designers ever try on their shoes themselves?

So many questions! For the answers to all of them, read on.

Gold medal for comfort: Manolo Blahnik

Manolo BlahnikThe granddaddy of shoe designers (he turns 72 this year) gets first prize of the three contenders for caring about comfort when designing women’s shoes. How much does Manolo Blahnik care about comfort when designing shoes? The short answer is that he cares about it a lot. In 2012 Manolo told the Telegraph that comfort was “of paramount importance.” He continued:

Some people say you have to suffer, to have high heels that hurt. But being miserable is unnatural. There is a trick that you master over years and years, so you know exactly where the pressure on the foot will be, and that’s where you place the heel. If it’s a minute millimetre out of the way, it will be a flop.

In March 2014 Manolo confirmed to the Observer that “Women’s comfort is of great importance to me.” So what is the secret to designing comfortable stilettos? “The key to making a high shoe comfortable is symmetry and balance. Everyone in my factories tries on the shoes until we have it just right. I have learned over the years that there are many little tricks, like making sure the ball of the foot is comfortable first.”

That just leaves the question of whether Manolo Blahnik tries on the shoes he designs. Well, the answer is yes… and no. Back in 2011, Manolo told Hemispheres “Oh goodness, immediately, yes! If it’s wrong, I can detect it in seconds!” However, last month the designer confessed to the Observer that his body was no longer up to it: “Sadly, I can’t do that any more since I broke my tendon,” he said.

Not to worry, as workers in Manolo’s factory in Milan still road test his shoes. “One, she is huge, with big, Mediterranean feet, but I know 100 per cent that if she can walk in my shoes properly, the shoe is good,” he quipped to the Telegraph just after turning 70.

Silver medal for comfort: Jimmy Choo

sandra choi jimmy chooJimmy Choo’s attitude to comfortable shoes seems unequivocal: back in 2013 he was asked what shoes he would take travelling if he could only take one pair. “It would have to be a comfortable pair,” Jimmy told the Telegraph‘s Travel section. “When we walk we need comfortable shoes to hold our feet. I also like to wear slippers. I’m always reminding my family, ‘Slippers, slippers, slippers!’. Feet are very important.”

However Jimmy Choo hasn’t been a part of the brand that bears his own name since selling out in 2001 after his relationship with Tamara Mellon broke down. Worse still, as Tamara asserted when promoting her autobiography in 2013, Jimmy never actually designed any of the shoes sold by the Jimmy Choo brand even when he was part of it. In 2013, when asked by interviewer Jenna Bush-Hager on America’s Today show whether Jimmy designed any of the heels, Tamara answered: “Not one. Not one sketch did I get from him. Not one.”

In truth, the Jimmy Choo range was always designed by Sandra Choi, Jimmy’s niece. Sandra is now the sole creative director at the label and, like her uncle, she also seems to take comfort seriously. “Talking about comfort is not very sexy,” Sandra told The Cut in 2013, “but our shoes do fit well, and that makes a difference when you need to stride around and look confident.” Speaking to the Fix last year, Sandra elaborated and explained her role as unofficial shoe-tester-in-chief:

First of all, I’ve been trying the shoes on for years. Since you put your entire body weight into your shoes, they should be comfortable! Maybe not for 24 hours a day, but if I can do something to make them a bit more comfortable without sacrificing style, I will. It’s not very sexy to talk about comfort, so we don’t talk about it. But people do mention it, and it’s a nice, proud factor of what we do.

The quality of leather helps the shoe shape to the foot. When we try on certain shoes for fittings, I don’t just try it on one person; I try it on several people! I like to have everyone try them on so I get an average fit. It doesn’t matter how beautiful a shoe is—if it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’ll get left behind in your wardrobe.

Sandra’s obsession with comfort was confirmed in an interview with Tina Loves in 2012: “I actually try them all on and all the samples are made in my size and the girls in the office actually trade them around to make sure that they’re okay,” she said. And, as if that wasn’t enough, here’s what Sandra Choi told New York Magazine in 2013 about whether she tried on all the Jimmy Choos herself:

I do! I’m a little obsessed with how they look. We have a joke that everyone who works for the team must have a size 37 foot so that they can try on the shoes for me. My right foot is a size 37, my left foot is a little smaller.

Bronze medal for comfort: Christian Louboutin

Christian LouboutinAs we noted above, in 2011 Christian Louboutin caused waves by telling the New Yorker that he hated the concept of comfort. That quote got a lot of headlines, and the designer elaborated on his passionate dislike in the same interview: “It’s like when people say: ‘Well we’re not really in love but we’re in a comfortable relationship.’ You’re abandoning a lot of ideas when you’re too into comfort.” Christian wasn’t a fan of the word “comfy” either:

Comfy, that’s one of the WORST words! I just picture a woman feeling bad, with a big bottle of alcohol, really puffy. It’s really depressing, but she likes her life because she has comfortable clogs.

All of this should have been enough for readers to tell that Christian was teasing a little, but it didn’t stop a PR brouhaha developing. Reflecting on the comment to Metro in 2012 Christian described it as “sort of a misquote.” “I have no problem with the idea of comfort,” the designer continued, “but it is not an important thing aesthetically. If you look at a shoe and immediately say it looks very comfortable, in terms of design, it is not going to excite me. Of course, I am not putting nails in my shoes to ensure everybody is in pain, but a heel is not a pair of slippers and never will be.’

Those comments may not win Christian a gold medal for prioritising comfort, but is that such a bad thing? Christian further explained his priorities to CBS News in 2013:

Design is my most important thing, but then after I have tricks to make in order to make those shoes as comfortable as possible, but it’s true that the comfort is not my first thing. If you look at my shoes I just don’t want you to tell me  “Oh my God it looks so comfy.” That’s not a thing that I would take as a compliment.

Knowing all this, has Christian Louboutin ever tried wearing his own shoes? The answer is yes, but only twice. The first time was at a cross-dressing themed party. “And another time I was making heels and I was trying to understand the balance, the center of gravity. It was very technical, so I can’t say I’ve worn high heels for excitement, or to feel like a woman,” the designer confessed to Popsugar Fashion News back in 2010.

Once or twice was enough though. “I can understand that it is not like walking on sneakers,” Christian told CBS News in 2013.

Yet another pair of new gorgeous Sergio Rossi sandals

Sergio Rossi sandalsNot for the first time this year Angelo Ruggeri, the creative director of Sergio Rossi since 2012, has conjured up an eye-catching pair of designer sandals. The brand’s blurb says that it produces “collectible pieces of breathtaking beauty” – and let’s face it they all do – but Sergio Rossi has been doing it for fifty years, and recently its been hit after hit. For examples we need cite only the Rossi butterfly and tangled puzzle sandals both of which we featured earlier this year.

Today’s addition is the Flora TTK sandal (Zappos, $2,100 with free shipping and returns for up to 365 days from the date of purchase). The feather look on these blue slip-on sandals is actually provided by a suede leather upper, sitting atop a 4.25 inch skinny heel. There are more pictures of this designer shoe (which is handmade in Italy) on the Zappos website.

Sergio Rossi shoes

Zanotti’s 4 inch black pumps cost more than Louboutin, Choo

Giuseppe Zanotti black pumpsFor at least a couple of years now, we’ve billed the battle of the 4 inch black work pump as being between two contenders: the reigning champion Christian Louboutin and his 100mm red-soled Pigalle, and the challenger Jimmy Choo with the Abel (a 4 inch version of the brand’s 5 inch Anouk).  But this is a popular retail niche, and other top-end designers wish to have their wares in this category too. Which brings us to Giuseppe Zanotti’s offering.

The beautifully-shaped Zanotti 4 inch black high heel has pretty much exactly the features you’d see in other work pumps of this kind: the heel is around 4 inches or 100mm high (Zanotti’s is officially 3.9 inches), and the shoe has a closed, pointed toe, a low-cut outer and is handmade of leather (nappa leather in this case) with a leather sole.

Giuseppe Zanotti work shoesAlthough the Zanotti, Choo and Louboutin heels are similar, there is one major point of difference – the color of the sole! Christian Louboutin’s is red of course, and Jimmy Choo’s is a natural off-white / light brown shade. There is no risk of confusing either pump with Giuseppe Zanotti’s shoe because it has a black sole to match the color of the shoe’s upper. We think it manages to both be eye-catching and yet remain appropriately conservative at the same time.

There’s one more obvious point of difference between the heels, and that is that the Zanotti shoes are the most expensive of the lot. They’re available for $695 from Giuseppe Zanotti’s website. Louboutin’s Pigalles take second place at $625 per pair, and Choo’s Abel is a full $100 cheaper than the Zanotti pumps costing a mere $595.

Divine discount designer d’Orsays: sexy stilettos you can actually walk in!

red peep toe d'Orsay pumpsShoe porn that you can actually walk in is the unicorn of the high heeled world: it sounds really awesome, but it’s pretty damn elusive too. Too often the sexiest stilettos are so sky high they’re best off in the bedroom, and more practical heel heights (ie those you can actually walk in) just don’t scream “sex goddess” as much as “I can run in these for the bus.”  Big name designers make a lot of sexy stilettos, but rarely in a height under 5 inches and that’s too tall for the everyday goddess. But salvation is at hand or at foot, and it comes from Casadei.

Casadei makes these shiny red peeptoe pumps in Italy out of the finest patent leather. They have a cutaway side feature (known as the d’Orsay shape) and open almond-shaped peeptoe. The sexy shape and sexy color make these heels close to irresistible, but the best is yet to come: they actually have a reasonably manageable 4 inch marbled heel! That makes these sexy shoes wearable for both work and play, and sure to capture attention at both.

The Casadei peeptoes are available at designer discount site The OutNet for £187.50 (that’s 55% off), but they’re selling very fast. If red are not available in your size, we have shown this shoe in two more colors below: green (£161.25) and purple (£187.50, and with an even shorter heel).

eep toe d'Orsay high heelsCasadei peeptoe heels

Emanuel Ungaro is new to Net-A-Porter and worn by Zoe Salanda

 

Emanuel Ungaro shoesLongstanding French brand Emanuel Ungaro has arrived with a splash at Net-A-Porter. The label is brand new to Net-A-Porter which is currently stocking only one pair of stilettos, plus some designer sweaters and skirts. But what a pair of shoes it is: 4.5 inch, wrap-around, leather sandals with pleated organza ruffles! The heels are from Ungaro’s Spring / Summer 2014 collection and they’re certainly proving popular: most sizes are already sold out or in limited supply despite the product just arriving. If you’d like a pair, they’re available at Net-A-Porter for $1,645.

The sandals may be new, but the label they come from was founded by Emanuel Ungaro himself way back in 1965. The House of Emanuel Ungaro has been based on Avenue Montaigne in Paris’s couture fashion district since 1967, although Mr Ungaro departed in 2004. The heels above were produced under the the Sicilian designer Fausto Puglisi, who has been the Creative Director of the Emanuel Ungaro brand for about a year. Puglisi was reportedly hired to get the Ungaro name back on track, and so far it looks like he’s going well. It is obviously early days but having a pair of designer stilettos look like selling out quickly on Net-A-Porter is a good sign.

Emanuel Ungaro high heels

 

Net-A-Porter also recently featured the sandals on the feet of actress Zoe Saldana. The shoot was for the 13 March 2014 edition Net-A-Porter’s magazine The Edit, which has Salanda on the cover. Click on the link to go to the magazine. The picture of Salanda in Ungaro is below.

Zoe Salanda in Emanuel Ungaro sandals

Nicole Kidman models Jimmy Choo’s new rope knee-high sandals for Spring / Summer 2014

rope knee high bootsJimmy Choo’s Catwalk Collection for Spring / Summer 2014 has arrived in store, and there are some hawt numbers included. None more than Keane, the bondage-sexy knee-high rope sandals which we’ve featured above. The intricate knotting details which comprise the uppers of these €1,395 high heel sandals are hand-constructed entirely from rope, but Jimmy Choo promises they will still provide enough support for a comfortable fit.

Nicole Kidman in rope sandals for Jimmy Choo

The knotty stilettos certainly look sensational on the long legs of Academy Award winning actress Nicole Kidman who returns to showcase a Choo collection for the third time. Nicole is photographed here in the rope gladiators by famous photographer Sølve Sundsbø. There are more glimpses of Nicole and the  Keane heels in the video celebrating the launch of Jimmy Choo’s Spring / Summer 2014 collection which is at the bottom of this post.

degrade sandals by Jimmy Choo

The best news (in case you were wondering) is that you don’t have to knot up these black and gold elaphe and rope stappy sandals every time you put them on! There’s a long zip fastner at the rear of the shoe, which also features the degrade patterning that we’ve seen on Choos in recent times. And the use of rope is not a Fifty Shades throw-back: the “modern jungle” is the inspiration for the 2014 collection, so its more a nod to Tarzan I guess.

rope high heels Jimmy ChooJimmy Choo rope boots

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Metallic Jimmy Choo slingbacks, because you can never have too much of a good thing

Jimmy Choo gold slingbacks

If the new metallic Tilly slingbacks from Jimmy Choo’s spring / summer 2014 collection have a hint of familiarity about them, then that is no bad thing. Tilly is a beautiful slingback, in fashionable metallic finishings and with a practical 3.5 inch heel. All of which reminds me of the India slingbacks from Choo which were hot property a few years back. Also available in metallics, and with the same heel height as Tilly, the India sandals are sadly no longer stocked by Net-A-Porter in the gold and silver colors which we featured in our article about them a little while back.

The good news is that the closed-toed Tilly is a more than adequate replacement. This new slingback from Jimmy Choo’s Spring / Summer 2014 collection displays all the characteristic pride and confidence in simplicity of Choo’s best offerings. These Italian-made heels are available now in on-trend gold and silver metallics from mytheresa.com for $625.

Jimmy Choo silver slingbacks

Tease and tantalise in tangled Sergio Rossi sandals

Sergio Rossi sandals

Angelo Ruggeri, the creative director of Sergio Rossi since 2012, has come up with an early nomination for sexy heel of the year with an Italian-made caged evening sandal called Puzzle. This strappy new 4.25 inch gem from the Spring / Sumer 2014 collection has a central spider-web leather upper, suggesting the wearer weaves a web of seduction to lure unsuspecting prey back to her lair. Well, that’s what the marketing information says anyway.

In dark brown leather (styled “ebano” or ebony with tortoise shell detail) the high heeled evening sandals fasten with a trendy double ankle strap with buckled closures. They are retailing fast from Zappos for $955.

Sergio Rossi high heels

If you love the look but not the colour, the shoes are also available in a blinged-out “new nude” colour with exquisite crystal accents and a sculpted metallic stiletto heel. Although only just introduced they’re selling fast too, and are available in limited sizes only via Zappos for $1,655.

See a video of the launch of the Sergio Rossi Spring Summer 2014 collection below.

Highlights of Nicholas Kirkwood’s spring / summer 2014 collection

Nicholas Kirkwood lace pumps
Nicholas Kirkwood’s collection for spring and summer 2014 has arrived on the designer’s website, and there are some gems in amongst it as we’ve come to expect. None better though than this elegant black on white lace-fused suede pointed toe pump. The lace look is undoubtedly in right now – we’ve covered both ends of the range from $41 lace stilettos to Jimmy Choo’s £450 (US$750) take on the trend – and Nicholas Kirkwood has nailed it with these pumps. They retail for £420 (about US$700) from Nicholas Kirkwood’s website.

 

Nicholas Kirkwood sandals

Also very pretty is the navy suede and silk satin “S” sandal with 105mm (about 4 inch) heel. They’re highlighted with a glitter trim.  The touch of PVC is probably necessary to make the “S” illusion work, and hopefully won’t be too prominent when worn. The sandals cost £540 (US$900).

Nicholas Kirkwood angled platformThe collection also includes an almost compulsory pair of the Nicholas Kirkwood angled platforms.  I am starting to feel bored of this design, I must say. I feel the same way about it as I do when I see the Alexander McQueen Armadillo heel these days: move on already. McQueen is long dead, so it is understandable that his look should be frozen in time but I wonder what Nicholas Kirkwood’s excuse is? Every designer is searching for their signature look I suppose.

On the bright side, the collection is limited to just one pair of the angled platforms, and they are magnificent. In a gorgeous orange raffia, the round toe platform has a shimmering hammered gold platform and heel. The platform height is 30mm (just over 1 inch) and the heel height 130mm (just over 5 inches), making for an effective heel height of 4 inches. They retail for £640 (US$1,062) from Nicholas Kirkwood.

Nicholas Kirkwood colour blocked sandalsThe the rest of the collection doesn’t excite the interest so much. If colour-blocked sandals are your thing though (we say they’re on the way out) then you’ll be in heaven. See the whole Nicholas Kirkwood spring / summer 2014 collection here.