Category Archives: Features

Get the trend: 4 purple lace ups to tie yourself up about in 2016

Steve Madden sandalia

Sometimes shoe trends are obvious, but this isn’t one of them. At least I didn’t think that purple lace up heels would suddenly become a “thing” until they did. Fortunately, the strappy fuchsia look has become a major trend for 2016 and all the shoes catching the wave are fabulous.

Thanks to our affiliate partnership with Zappos, we’re able to present 4 of the best purple lace up high heels that are on-trend for 2016. The links will take you to the Zappos website which offers fast, free shipping and returns (sales are to US customers only).

Steve Madden lace up sandal

Topping the charts of our fantastic fuchsia beauties is Sandalia, by Steve Madden. Sandalia is not just beautiful but it is also practical. The shoe’s structured real-leather side straps provide strong support for the foot, allowing the laces to shine in their own right as a detail but without having to pull them tight to prevent yourself from falling out.

A 4 inch heel, leather upper, padded insole and clever design all mean that this heel is a winner in its category. Comfortable, stylish and just plain fun, Sandalia is available via Zappos for $129.95.

Closed toe purple pump

If you prefer a closed toe look, then Sam Edelman’s Dayna is what we think you should be considering. Once again the lace up straps here are mainly decorative: this 4 inch pump in purple kid suede leather has a pointy toe and over-sized heel-up to fit securely to your foot. With a small, sneaky d’Orsay cut, these purple Sam Edelman stilettos can be shopped via Zappos for $120 with free shipping and returns.
Dolce Vita

Dolce Vita’s impressive entry into the purple sandals list comes courtesy of Hazeley, a bold stiletto sandal with an orchid suede leather upper. With Hazeley the laces do more of the work to hold you securely in the shoe, allowing the sexy open arch to out itself as an equally compelling feature.

The fabulous Hazeley by Dolce Vita in orchid suede is available now for $120. Shipping is free.

purple open-toed high heeled sandals

Ending where we start, we have a second purple high heel from Steve Madden to round out our collection of 4 show-stopping purple stilettos for 2016.

Natila has a fushia upper made of genuine nubuck leather and sits atop a gentler 3.5 inch heel (measured on a size 9). The single strap across the vamp of the shoe is very much on trend, while the slingback strap holds these heels firmly in place.

The real fun comes with the tie-up ankle lace which you can arrange to suit your own style. While it is a head-turner in its own right, the ankle lace is purely decorative: it can be removed for a more classical look when the occasion demands.

Natlia retails from Zappos for $89.95 with free shipping and returns.


2016’s best black work pumps

There’s a true art to finding the perfect pair of black work pumps: they must be super comfortable, they need to be reasonably priced and they’ve got to be hard-wearing and versatile.

The heel height should be no higher than 4 inches, and it is essential that the uppers are made of leather not a synthetic material. The perfect pumps have to look great too.

BCBGeneration high heels

sexy sandals

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We’ve reviewed the best black work pumps that fit this criteria for 2016, and there’s one clear winner in the sub-$100 category.

The shoe is called Treasure by BCBGeneration. It has a perfect 5/5 rating on, with reviewers labelling it “super comfortable,” “very comfortable” and “comfy, sexy, classy.”

Treasure is available in 3 different shades of black, including black patent pictured above. This classy leather work pump retails online for only $70 via Zappos with free shipping and returns.

If Treasure is not your style, or you want to compare this shoe with others on offer, you can check out the full range of black, four inch pumps stocked by Zappos here (currently over 120 pairs).

Please be aware that our links are affiliate links to our partner Zappos. This means if you click through and buy we’ll get a small percentage (you do not pay any extra).

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.

“Stilettos are sexy,” say scientists – and leading shoe designers agree

Stilettos are sexyHigh heels are sexy, in case you didn’t know.But there’s no need to take our word for it. In 2012, the scientific journal Evolution & Human Behaviour published the results of experiments which examined the basis of the strong contemporary association between high heels and female sexuality.

The investigators (Paul H Morris et al) examined the hypothesis that one motivation for women wearing high heels is that it artificially increases the femininity of their gait. They showed point light videos of women walking in both flat shoes and high heels to participants and asked the participants to judge attractiveness.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the participants judged the women wearing heels as “significantly more attractive” than those walking in flats. Biomechanical analyses which were conducted revealed that wearing high heels led to an increased femininity of gait including a reduced stride length and increased rotation and tilt of the hips.

The investigators concluded that high heels exaggerate sex specific aspects of female gait and that women walking in high heels could be regarded as a “supernormal stimulus.” This confirms what shoe designers have been saying for years: stilettos are sexy.

We’ve assembled high heel quotes from several leading shoe designers explaining how they say stiletto heels truly make women feel special and look divine. Our collection of high heel quotes is below.

Giuseppe Zanotti

“In a flat you can feel beautiful, but a stiletto changes your mood, how you move—like a wild, beautiful animal.”

-to Harper’s Bazaar, April 2014

 Cesare Casadei

“[A high heel] has imagination. For men, this is unknown territory, it’s a highly feminine thing. It gives you goose bumps, the hair stands up on your arms. If you see a woman dressed to kill, wearing high heels, you understand that she can metamorphose, transform herself, that she has enormous power.”

– interview with Massimo Torrigiani, Casadei website

Christian Louboutin

“One moves more slowly in heels. Walking fast is neither sexy nor engaging. Nobody notices the people who race around. If you’re walking in heels, you’ve got time. It’s much more attractive.”

– Answering “Why are high heels so sexy?” Marie Claire interview, February 2012

Manolo Blahnik

“The first thing men look at are a woman’s legs, and there is nothing more flattering than high heels.”

– Interview with Vogue, September 2010


Image credit: the platform cowhide sandals shown above are available from Milanoo.

Introducing Jaspa King: affordable luxury high heeled shoes designed in Australia [interview]

Jaspa King shoesWe love a good news story at, and today’s comes in the form of recently-launched Australian-based footwear brand Jaspa King.  Jaspa King is the creation and pride and joy of co-founders Jalni and Sarju Shah and was launched in 2013 in Sydney, Australia.

The Jaspa King concept is essentially affordable luxury: really well-designed shoes using top-class materials, but without the huge mark-ups that big-name designer brands get away with. Hence the label’s signature shoe the New York (pictured above) retails online for around AU$300 (currently about US$275). Other stand-out items in the original Jaspa King collection include pointy d’Orsay pumps (Columbia) and a pretty berry-suede peep toe pump encrusted with crystals (Seattle).

Judging by the brand’s website alone, an enormous amount of time and effort seems to have  been put into getting the look of these shoes just right. This seems to be a fairly slick operation for a company in start-up mode, and it cannot have been cheap to get here. It is all-round a most encouraging investment in the Australian footwear industry.

Jaspa King pumps Of course one challenge with retailing stilettos at the price point that Jaspa King does is that customer expectations as to quality and service will not be low. These are certainly not your average run-of-the-mill high heels but we were curious to know more about the concept behind Jaspa King, and the price point. Co-founder Jalni Shah kindly took some time to answer some of our questions and the interview transcript is below. Our thanks to Jalni for taking the time to speak to us, and best wishes with taking the Jaspa King brand to the world. We hope to feature you again soon!

HHD: Your pumps retail for AU$299, which is considerably more than your average $100 pump but still half the price of big-name designer shoes (so the New York for example at $299 compares favourably with Choo’s Anouk or Louboutin’s Pigalle 120mm, both at around US$600). It seems there has been a bit of bifurcation in the world of high heels into a glut of very cheap heels ($30-$99 say) and lots of really expensive ones ($600-$1,000 or more),  leaving quite a gap in the middle (ie around the $300 point). Where do you see Jaspa King’s position in the market as being and what you think customer expectations are at this price point.

JS: You are absolutely correct – There are plenty of shoes less than $100 but when we researched these, the bulk were low quality leather (if at all). There is clearly divergence in the market and the masses that produce at this price point compared with the high end luxury retailers indicates the gap in the market. We have crafted these shoes using the highest quality leathers for the leather uppers, cushioned leather insole and the leather bottom sole. Why? We believe that quality can be purchased without paying the $1,200 price point. All of our shoes come with a satin bag, spare heel tips and are sold with free shipping and free returns.

Jaspa King high heelsHHD: What are the challenges and opportunities for a shoe designer based in Australia? Do you see the Jaspa King brand catering primarily for an Australian market, or will your focus be on overseas markets?

JS: There are plenty of challenges based in Australia rather than Europe or Asia. The manufacturing industry in Australia continues to struggle and every time we spoke to an Australian manufacturer they could not produce our range, had *really* long lead times or the price was prohibitive. The difference with oversea manufacturers is the push for extensive order quantities and the language barrier. Email and Skype make things easier but the trick is purchasing the expensive samples and then adjusting them. Unfortunately, many of the samples were produced three times due to the language barriers but we got there in the end!

Jaspa King shoes are currently sold in Australia and we are looking to push into NZ, UK and USA. Our shoes have already made their way to Europe and USA so now its about showcasing our brand to the whole market.

HHD: Where are your shoes made?

JS: The shoes were designed in Australia and hand crafted in China due to the shorter lead time verses Europe. On a recent trip to Europe, we have also explored production from Europe and this looks to be an opportunity going forward but again lead times need to be taken into consideration. We do not want to skimp on quality as this is key to our brand positioning.

Jaspa King New YorkHHD: The New York (pictured above in black leather) is rightly your signature pump. What do you love about this shoe?

JS: The New York represents everything refined in that strong woman; it is striking, elegant and most importantly a classic but simple pump that suits most outfits. It is like the “Little Black Dress”; you need one in every wardrobe. Elegant and sophisticated women like Audrey Hepburn from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or Grace Kelly from “High Society” conjure up my thoughts on the New York.

HHD: Comfort is a major part of the marketing of the Jaspa King brand, but all your single-sole pumps are 5 inches high. These are great, but do you anticipate increasing the range over time to include lower heel heights (eg a black 4 inch pump or, gasp, even 3 or 3.5 inch) that would be more suitable for every-day wear (eg pumps for work)?

JS: I love high heels but when I went looking for shoes that were elegant and comfy and after searching for years with no luck, I decided to design my own. I cannot be the only woman who wants to look good in heels without the pain. Our current range are definitely “high” but we are also working on a range of flats, smaller heels and strappy sandals to cater for the wider audience.

We are looking at extending our categories with jewellery and leather bags but only if we can find the right manufacturer to cater for our designs. The recent collapse of an Australian designer/retailer indicates the need to maintain quality using a cost effective business model through e-commerce and boutique outlets.


Jaspa King high heels are available for purchase online now through the brand’s website. All shoes come with free shipping and free returns for 30 days.

Jaspa King slingbacks

High heeled shoe trends for 2014: sling-backs, kitten heels and more

Alexander McQueen’s black suede gold metal tip sling backsOnline footwear retail in the luxury sphere is big business, and the competition continues to grow hotter as more and more women become comfortable with buying heels online. In recent years retailers have not been idle in helping smooth the transition from bricks and mortar to web-based retailing.

Improvements have included offering reduced or free shipping and retailers investing in producing better quality pictures of their wares, including multiple angles and close-up shots. Customer service has also improved across the board, at least partly due to the real-time (and public) effect of feedback given via social media. The online luxury shoe retailing experience is overall a high-quality one across a number of sites.

One of the more critical keys to success in this field is ensuring a reasonable range not only of respected labels, but also of the latest on-trend heels put out by those labels. Buyers who get it wrong will suffer as shoppers simply go elsewhere.

A website that seems to us to get the product range of luxury shoes more or less right each season is There are probably some good reasons for this: the site was launched as far back as 2006, and has had time to mature. In addition, maintains links with its sister company THERESA, a bricks and mortar luxury fashion store that has been operating in Munich since 1987. No doubt has been able to leverage off this experience and off connections with leading designers worldwide.

Marni chunky heeled sandalsEach season,’s buying team faces the challenge of selecting luxury footwear that is in step with modern trends and that will sell. As they’re a long established player in this market, we asked to pick the company’s corporate brains about high heel shoe trends and online retail developments for 2014 and beyond. Senior Communications Editor Mrs Denise Lyons gladly answered our questions, and our interview with Denise follows below. Images of some of the on-trend heels identified by Denise illustrate this article.

HHD: Recently we identified some of the high heel shoe trends  we see happening for 2014. What are the high heel shoe trends that you think we should be looking out for in 2014 and beyond?

DL: Honestly, kitten heels are the must-have summer height . Chloé’s block heels are also amazing as well as Marni’s chunky heeled sandals [HHD: the Marni sandals are pictured above]. For the upcoming Fall season,  detailed heels are hot, check out Miu Miu’s spike versions and Stella McCartney went super chunky with platform styles which remain a fave among the fashion set [HHD: see picture below].

Chunky platforms by Stella McCartney

HHD: There seems to be ferocious competition in the online marketplace for high-end, designer footwear. What does offer that helps it stand out from the others? Are there any developments we can expect to see to continue to improve the online retail experience for footwear?

DL: The selection stands out because we offer the finest edit in luxury fashion. This translates into the best buy, best selection and best brands  when it comes to our assortment which of course includes footwear. Online retail is improving  and developing all the time with new technological and cosmetic improvements. Product pictures are super detailed,  videos have been incorporated etc etc. Every day we learn what the customer wants and everyday our teams work on granting them the best experience in online shopping.

HHD: Are there any buying tips you can give to women who are looking to purchase high heels online?

DL: Purchasing high heels online is like purchasing any other item of clothing or accessories. The most important thing is to love what you want to buy. Read the descriptions, especially sizing recommendations and heel heights carefully, view the detailed pictures and then make your decision. My motto is, if you really love them, buy them.

HHD: has an incredible range of high heels from a wide range of luxury labels. If you could just pick one pair of this season’s heels to highlight, which pair would it be and why?

DL: I am in love with the Alexander McQueen’s black suede gold metal tip sling-backs [HHD: these are pictured at top and bottom of this article]. If ever there was a super femme shoe for the season for me, this is the one. It also helps that sling- backs are full in style and since most of these come as kitten heels, taking it up to a higher level is exactly what I want!

Alexander McQueen slingbacks

Kenneth Cole knee high boots – simple, sexy and on trend

Kenneth Cole bootsSimple is sexy. A shoe trend we’re seeing again and again in 2014 is that the most in-demand stilettos are those stripped nearly bare. Devoid of nearly all embellishment, the sexiest shoes of 2014 let their natural curves do the talking. Why should boots be any different?

Kenneth Cole New York is right onto this trend with its in-demand Blessed-Ed boot (pronounced “blessed”), a 4.5 inch stacked heel beauty with a tiny hidden platform tucked away inside a pointed toe. The beautiful, smooth leather upper of this killer boot does most of the talking, but it does have one pronounced feature: a sexy buckled harness across the front and side of the boot that is eye-catching but also blends expertly with the boot at the same time.

The Blessed-Ed boot is perfect to wear with jeans, and has a partial size zip so that it can be quickly slipped on and off. The lining is leather.

Kenneth Cole New York’s Blessed-Ed boot is hot property right now, and available sizes are limited. Currently sizes 6 – 8.5 are available via Zappos for $378. Limited sizes are also available from at the bargain price of $299.99 if you’re quick.

Check out a couple more pictures of this knee high boot with 17 inch shaft below.

Knee high boots 2014

Sexy high heel boots

Exquisite butterfly detailing on Sergio Rossi sandals

butterfly shoesToday’s featured high heels are truly fly. They’re beautiful new 4.5 inch sandals from Sergio Rossi, the highlight of which is a gorgeous gold-tone butterfly detail that wraps around the side and back of the foot. When I see a creation like this, it serves to remind me that the Italian brandname deserves to be considered in the same breath as other big-name, high-end high heel designers that soak up so much press attention.

sergio rossi butterfly shoesHigh-end is certainly what this shoe is, and it has a price tag ($1,150 from Zappos) to match. But it’s totally worth it. The shoe is handmade in Italy with the care and attention for which Sergio Rossi heels are known: the label boasts that there are a minimum of one hundred and twenty steps that are taken before a shoe is placed in a box for sale with the Sergio Rossi name. You will also get a shoe made of decent materials for your money (the lining, insole, outsole and upper are made of quality leather as you would expect).

The Sergio Rossi high heel with gold leather butterfly is called Filigree, and we can expect to see more of this shoe on celebrities and social butterflies alike. Filigree is selling quickly through Zappos where it is now available only in limited sizes.

butterfly high heels by sergio rossi

Stilettos made entirely from platinum for only $100,000

platinum high heels

Here’s something for the woman who thought she had everything: a pair of high heels made entirely from platinum! The precious-metal sandals are from the House of Borgezie, which earlier gave the world the eternal diamond stiletto (a snip at SU$155,000 per pair). The sandals are are variation on the eternal diamond stiletto, also featuring the lily stamen heel that is part of those shoes.

The good news is the platinum sandals are cheaper than the eternal diamond stilettos: the sandals currently market for £67,000 or about US$100,000 give or take. The shoe is called Cleopatra, and its designer and manufacturer claims (probably correctly) that nothing like it has ever been achieved before.

Borgezie PlatinumThe platinum high heels took over four years of trial and error to get the design right, with the extremely high temperatures required to work with platinum being one of the major challenges for the designer.

The heel and sole of the sandal can be replaced by the shoe’s owner. The rest of the stiletto is said to last forever and never to tarnish or age. So much so that each pair comes with an “eternal guarantee.” Consider me sold.

Cleopatra shoesIf you like the shape of the Cleopatra but not the platinum, then the shoes can also be obtained in either 18 carat white gold or 18 carat yellow gold. Both cost £60,000. To buy these shoes or for more information, visit the House of Borgezie website.


Borgezi shoes



3 beautiful wedges from Edmundo Castillo

Edmundo Castillo wedges

In the search for exquisitely beautiful wedges, it is difficult to go past Edmundo Castillo. The designer has created 3 of the prettiest wedge heels I can recall. We’re featuring them today, starting with Reina above (for other colours see Edmundo Castillo’s website).

Edmundo Castillo shoes

Equally exquisite, and even more dazzling, is this blue ankle strap wedge. It is Edmundo Castillo’s Valerie. As with Reina, the designer’s website is the best place to go to locate a store to purchase Valerie.

Edmundo Castillo high heelsOur final selection is this beautiful iridescent purple suede wedge heeled shoe. This stunning sandal is available online from luxury shopping website for $1,034. For more  wonderful heels and other shoes from Edmundo Castillo visit the designer’s website.

Edmundo Castillo heels