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.
Kardashian Kollection Shoes has quietly closed down just two years after starting up.
The shoe line was launched in Australia in November 2013 as the inaugural shoe collection of Kourtney Kardashian, Kim Kardashian West and Khloé Kardashian. At the time it was said to encompass “dramatic, sexy heels, show-stopping wedges, stunning flats and chic boots.”
While it lasted, Kardashian Shoes sold product not only through its own website but also through Australian fashion website such as The Iconic and Style Tread. The Kardashian Shoes were even available via Australian retail giant David Jones.
Yet in early in 2016 the label quietly closed down. The website directed viewers to the site of another Australian shoe label RMK, which says it was responsible for bringing the Kardashian shoe collection to Australia. No shoes from the collection are available on the RMK website.
Kardashian Shoes is not the only Kardashian fashion project to take a hit recently. In 2015, retailer Sears stopped offering items in the Kardashian Kollection in its stores. The mutual decision ended an exclusive department store collaboration that had begun in 2011.
A Kim Kardashian solo project has also had difficulties. In 2009, Legalzoom.com founders Robert Shapiro and Brian Lee partnered with Kim on the launch of ShoeDazzle.com, an e-commerce network offering a monthly membership for $39 shoes chosen by a stylist.
After the label encountered numerous challenges, Rachael Zoe took over from Kim as “Chief Stylist” at ShoeDazzle in January 2013. ShoeDazzle ultimately merged with one of its biggest competitors JustFab in August 2013, following months of negotiations.
Following these, the closure of Kardashian Kollection Shoes in Australia is perhaps not entirely surprising. The site last posted on its Instagram account well over a year before it closed, and it made only 42 posts in total. No other social media channels were dedicated to the shoe label.
In January this year Kardashian Kollection Shoes was advertising 40% off everything. Now only a handful of the shoes are available online for purchase through third party retailers. It seems the writing was on the wall.
So why has the attempts to bring the Kardashian fashion empire to the masses? The trouble is that it is hard to do designer fashion at bargain basement prices.
When the shoe collection launched, publicity lauded the Kardashian sisters as “revered worldwide as trendsetters and fashion leaders, their striking and unique style making them the most searched sisters on the internet.” But they didn’t get that reputation by wearing cheap clothes.
The Kardashian shoe line, for all its celebrity endorsement power, was just a collection of cheap-looking high heels which were not particularly cheap to buy. The shoes were not made of leather – they had manmade uppers – and cost between $99 and $139 per pair.
In the highly competitive field of women’s footwear, it was not difficult to see that better value and style could be found elsewhere. It now seems that shoppers have voted with their feet.
Drinking champagne out of stilettos is one of the weirder things people do with high heels. So when did it start, and why do people do it?
The practice of quaffing champagne out of a slipper appears to have first been used to pay tribute to the artistry of female dancers prior to 1900. Perhaps in those male-dominated times it was seen a more appropriate way of showing respect than simply grovelling at the dancers’ feet. However the exact origins of the practice are a little hazy.
Christian Louboutin’s shoes for champagne swilling
In 1999, Christian Louboutin and champagne maker Piper-Heidsieck combined to create a package comprising a bottle of champagne and a crystal heel shaped glass from which to drink it. The limited edition package was called Le Rituel and it retailed through high-end stores for $500.
When promoting Le Rituel, Louboutin referred to a practice of Russian tourists in 19th-century Paris, who would apparently drink vodka out of ballerinas’ slippers. For this reason he said he decided to model his crystal champagne flute on a Cinderella theme, not “dirty old Russian guys in the 19th century.”
The designer may have been correct in suggesting that vodka was served to Russian tourists in this way. However, what is not in doubt is that the female cabaret dancers of Folies Bergère in Belle Époque Paris would regularly serve champagne to gentleman admirers from the inside of their dancing shoes during this period.
Drinking from high heels in Russia… and maybe England
We also know that this ritual was itself inspired by the ballerinas of the Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow in the 1880s. While multiple sources say that the Russian ballerinas used champagne for this ritual, it is perhaps possible that vodka was not also used on some occasions there too. The theory is not widely implausible as there is an established custom in Ukraine of drinking vodka from a bride’s shoes on her wedding night.
Although the custom of drinking champagne from a slipper is widely credited as beginning in Russia in the 1880s, one source has been identified which suggests it may have been around a lot longer. The source – a review in a newspaper from 1893 – attributes the practice of drinking champagne out of a figurante’s white satin slipper to Fop’s Alley in the reign of William IV (1765 to 1837). Fop’s Alley was the passage through the centre of the pit in an 18th century opera house or theatre.
Drinking from high heels spreads to the USA
However it originated, the best-known example of a person sipping champagne from a stiletto occurred in America’s most famous brothel in the early hours of 4 March 1902. That venue was the Everleigh Club in Chicago, where Prince Henry of Prussia was being entertained with a lavish banquet.
As part of the celebrations, Vidette, the best dancer amongst the Club’s butterflies, was dancing on a table to the music of the Blue Danube waltz. In the middle of her routine, she kicked and her silver stiletto flew across the room and hit a bottle of champagne. A man standing nearby picked it up, raised it high and drank the champagne from the shoe.
Prince Henry’s entire entourage arose, yanked a slipper from the nearest girl, and held it aloft. Waiters scurried about, hurriedly filling each shoe with champagne.
“To the Prince.”
“To the Kaiser.”
“To beautiful women the world over.”
After this, it did not take long for the trend to spread beyond the Everleigh Club. Charles Washburn charted its progress in his 1934 book Come into my parlor : a biography of the aristocratic Everleigh sisters of Chicago:
A custom soon to gain momentum across the land was dedicated. Wine was sipped from a slipper for the first time in America.
It was the only interlude ever to be broadcast from that celebrated revel. In New York millionaires were soon doing it publicly, at home-parties husbands were doing it, in back rooms, grocery clerks were doing it — in fact, everybody was doing it. What? Drinking wine from slippers! It made a more lasting impression on a girl than carrying her picture in a watch. No wonder it became so popular.
Drinking from high heels becomes part of pop culture
By the first half of the twentieth century, drinking champagne from stilettos was seen as an act of extravagant decadence, which was sometimes parodied in the art world. Oscar Hammerstein II referred to it in the lyrics to his 1927 song “Life Upon the Wicked Stage” for his Broadway musical Show Boat. In the 1939 MGM film At the Circus, Groucho Marx humorously reminisced:
That night I drank champagne from your slipper. Two quarts. It would have held more but you were wearing inner soles.
By the 1950s, women too were getting in on the act. In 1951, American actress Tallulah Bankhead sipped champagne from her slipper during a press conference to celebrate her arrival in London. And in 1957, English actress Julie Andrews drank a toast to the cast of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella by sipping from her glass slipper.
Drinking from high heels in modern times
In modern times, the most famous example of alcohol being consumed from footwear comes from renowned shoe-lover and director Quentin Tarantino. In 2010, Tarantino’s muse Uma Thurman let him drink white wine out of one of her stilettos.
The pair were at the New York Friars Club Roast at the Hilton Hotel to honour Tarantino, and the shoes in question were black velvet high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. To the amusement of the audience, Thurman filled the second of her shoes with wine and had a drink from it herself.
So, why do people drink out of high heels? As the history of this quirky practice suggests, there are different reasons. What started as a way to salute dancers has now become a tribute to female beauty generally.
But it can be also be more than that: a symbol of extravagant decadence, or of high celebration. A way of combining the sex appeal and beauty of heels with the luxury of champagne. A way of revelling in the great things in life, or perhaps a grand romantic gesture. Or maybe it is just a way to ruin perfectly good champagne?
In this post we explain how to accurately convert heel heights from millimetres to inches (or vice versa).
The simple fact is that there are no tricks to converting heel heights! It is just easy math, with the key formulas being that 10mm = 1 cm and 2.54cm = 1 inch.
In reverse, 1mm =0.039 of an inch.
The need to convert arises because European manufacturers will usually use millimetres or centimetres to refer to the height whereas Americans will typically use inches. But then almost all online retailers go by inches meaning that they convert from mm even where the heels are European.
Generally, heel heights are rounded approximately when they are converted. For an example of the conversion, we will use Christian Louboutin’s popular 100mm (ie 10cm) Pigalle heels. These heels are advertised by Louboutin with the height in mm not in inches.
Converting 100mm to inches gives a height of 3.94 inches. However, these calculations are almost always rounded so the 100mm Pigalle is generally referred to as the 4 inch version of the pump.
In a similar way, a 4 inch pump converts to 101.6mm but would ordinarily be referred to as a 100mm (10cm) heel.
Conversion guide for heel heights
An approximate conversion guide for common heel heights is as follows:
3 inch heels = 75mm
4 inch heels = 100mm
5 inch heels = 125mm
6 inch heels= 150mm
Sometimes errors in the conversion come because the high heel heights have not been measured correctly. You may find it helpful to read our post on measuring high heel heights too.
If you want to get *really* high on heels then there’s a simple answer: platforms! Combined with a high heel, a platform can add many inches of height but without the pain from a really high spike stiletto.
The key to these awesome leather ankle-strap stilettos is indeed in the platform. While the heel is 7.9 inches high, a 2.4 inch platform makes a net rise of a manageable 5.5 inches.
Platforms are just fine with celebrity socialite Paris Hilton who is a devotee of the stepped-up look, and the comfort that platforms bring. Paris has confessed her love for platforms on her official website, saying:
I love front platforms. The trend is amazing because it makes shoes more comfortable while keeping the height to make your legs look longer and leaner.
But not everyone is a fan of platforms. Those who are against the trend even include legendary high heels designer Manolo Blahnik. Manolo once confessed that he “can’t stand platforms.”
Judging by the number of platforms on the market though, Manolo might be alone in thinking that.
We were a bit meh about the slow tease reveal when SJP first launched her own shoe label: long climb, short ride etc. But the collection seems here for the long haul and it really does have some beautiful pieces.