Month: January 2016

Designer Intro: Irregular Choice

Welcome to the psychadelic world of Irregular Choice, the moment you step into their Carnaby Street flagship, and you feel like you’re on an acid trip (yes that does somewhat date me…), you’re plunged into a Wonderland of gnomes, unicorns, and jedis made of every imaginable colour. But it’s all real, you can genuinely have a pair of shoes where the heels are bunny rabbits.


These rabbits are genuinely available to adorn your feet. Aren’t they the cutest?

Founder, designer, and maverick, Dan Sullivan wanted to completely break the rules, go against the establishment, the resulting outlandishness of Irregular Choice shoes means you can make that bold statement without having to go to vertiginous stilettos. The shoes are going to be so loud that many people prefer to tone down the rest of their outfit keeping the shoes as a focal point, equally you can keep in the spirit of Dan and Irregular Choice, and simply wear whatever takes your fancy, the madder the better.

>

Walk This Way/Talk This Way

I’ve been inspired by the the Run-D.M.C. lyrics, where an experienced lady shows a boy what women want. In the same way that Run-D.M.C. claim theres a special swagger for the boys, there is good reason that models have that typical runway strut, it’s not just pretentiousness. There is a really important function of the “model’s” walk, it’s to correctly spread the impact from each step through your body, it will help protect your joints from wear and breakages, and strengthen and tone muscles However if you try to walk in the same way as with flats, you’ll only end up fighting your heels and potentially causing yourself harm.

Essentially your heels are purposefully throwing you off balance, as a result you have to walk in a special way to retain balance by transferring the force of each step vertically up. Higher heels in particular take no prisoners, in the same way martial artists are trained to always be in the zone, because if you lapse for a moment you’ll get hurt, and the same applies for walking in heels, fall out of the zone and your shoes will punish you.


Couple of clear demonstrations of good technique. Heel first landing of the foot. Knees straight to transfer force up the body, spreading out the impact of each step. Hips swing forward to allow for straight leg, heel-toe movement.

Images used with permission, Left: ©Usien, Right: © Jason Hargrove

(more…)

Designer Intro: & Other Stories

How does a brand within three years launch and go to having 31 stores in prime locations such as Regents Street, 5th Avenue and concessions in Printemps? & Other Stories is an interesting brand, if you don’t like big corporates, then you may as well look away now. International powerhouse H&M are the driving force behind them and they have sledgehammered their way into the market.


So it’s not the sexiest shoe in the world, but it’s great to throw to make a slouchy look a little dressier.

(more…)

When is a duck not a duck?

Reading a post by Suitably Scruffy, it reminded me how sometimes the shoe I wanted didn’t fit properly when I picked my size. This is a real problem when you’re either a small or large size where you can’t go either up or down in size. Over time I’ve learnt that the reason this happens comes from the various processes involved in turning a design on paper into a shoe.

A typical shoe is quite a complex product, it’s assembled in a number of layers from many parts which are glued, stitched and/or nailed together. Obviously, it’s hard to give a floppy piece of leather structure, so a form called a last is used. The last is the only fixed measure when making a shoe and it is from the length of the last that the shoe size is based. However only the length is used in calculating a shoe size, therefore factors such as shoe width, the shape of the vamp, toe box, etc are not accounted for when listing shoe sizes, and you’ll find that two different designs from the same factory will have fit differently.


Traditional lasts are made of a material into which nails can be hammered to hold the leather in position. Used with permission © Jeremy Engleman

(more…)

Designer Intro: Rupert Sanderson

It’s an established designer, Rupert Sanderson that I am writing about today, I’m sure many of you will have heard of him and maybe even wear his shoes. It is his approach to the industry makes him a unique designer in today’s world of fashion. As a result a there is a strong and loyal following from all walks of life, and I’m sure fans will know the whole story, but for those of you new to Rupert Sanderson, I hope by the end of this you’ll be going out to try his shoes out for yourself.

Rupert’s Britishness does come through clearly, and in many ways he has broken with expectations, he refuses to allow himself to be drawn into the seemingly endless the stiletto arms race where many other designers are being outlandish for the sake of it, instead he creates elegant designs are subtly sexy and exceptionally easy to style and wear. He plays hide and seek, and uses juxtaposition and contrast to play tricks with the eye, the result is you’ll look fabulous, you’ll also feel that way because you never push your body beyond what it’s meant to do.

Key to his success has been the vertical integration of production it’s crucial to achieving the standards he seeks. Looking and feeling the shoes, you’ll notice that only the best materials are allowed to delicately cradle your feet, all stitched together by hands of experienced Italian craftsmen at his own factory. This is why his collections are never made in huge volumes; the result is they always feel so much more exclusive.

Apart from designing four collections each year, Rupert finds time to create for a number of carefully selected a number of collaborations, including having worked with the King of Fashion himself, Karl Lagerfeld. These collaborations have produces some of his more conceptual ideas, yet he holds true to his core values and even these shoes are still very much wearable.

Now if Manolo was Carrie’s weakness, Rupert is my equivalent, just looking at these shoes is never enough. It’s time for me to strut out off into the sunset and for you to go to a shop and try Rupert Sanderson for yourself. You won’t be look back, but everyone else will.

All images from Rupert Sanderson Resort 2016 Campaign, © Rupert Sanderson 2016

Where to train

There is a place where I visit with a new pair of heels, its the perfect location to break in a new pair of shoes, it also has all the facilities you might need if your shoes tire you out or need adjustments. This place has all the equipment you might need get used to a pair of unfamiliar shoes.

Where I hear you ask where can I find somewhere with perfectly flat and hard surfaces, is dry, heated in winter, air conditioned in summer, always something near to lean on, has a cobbler, with somewhere to sit down and great transport connections? Well, drumroll please…

(more…)

A Second Chance

Lots of people might wonder why anybody would want to wear someones old shoes? Some of these shoes have been remarkably well looked after, or for some reason even unworn! Sometimes what you’re looking for is waiting there for you.

I feel like I’m in a time warp and it’s the 90’s again. These Juliet & Juliet shoes still have the protective plastic on the soles. The Ferragamos have been worn a lot over the past couple of years, not bad for £25 from a Pimlico charity shop.
Charity Shop Chic

Some unbelievably good finds can pop up anywhere, a local place got a donation which included two pairs of Miu Mius, a pair of Rupert Sandersons, and a pair of McQueens, all of which were worn at most a couple of time. To save time however I do recommend that a spot of profiling, signs of disposable income are always good indicators. Look out for large detatched and semi-detatached properties with well kept gardens, 2-3 cars expensive cars on driveways, and private and prep schools.

(more…)

All animals are equal, but some are more equal

We are often told leather shoes are good because they are made of a natural, hard wearing and water resistant material. Traders in the UK are legally required to label the composition of footwear. However in an effort to simplify things for the consumer the system is both unclear and open to exploitation.

Clockwise from top left: Brooklyn in Burgundy Calf by Rupert Sanderson, Nude Peep Toe in Nubuck by Ted Baker, Elba in Python by Rupert Sanderson, Studded Black Court by Dune

If a section of the shoe is made of more than one material, they both have to be labelled, but unlike clothing which clearly defines the composition by percentage, shoes don’t. Potentially a plastic shoe could have a leather trim and still be labelled as being synthetic and leather, without you necessarily knowing which is which.

(more…)

3-for-1

This is why I love socks, the shoes today weren’t cheap, but they are so versatile. I’m only showing you three looks and of course theres so much more that could work. These shoes will also look fantastic on their own.

Kibo Wedges by Rupert Sanderson, Bastille socks by Wolford

From the day look above, which is smart enough for me to wear for work, you could can easily carry with you everything you need to transform into an evening look, the gaiter looks like a strap that goes across the shoe, and could work barefoot too. Costume jewellery from the art deco era will compliment the design on the heel.

(more…)

Cheat with platforms

Platforms are a great way to get you extra height for free, I’ll admit it’s cheating but what’s life if you don’t find some shortcuts. Effectively the platform reduces the heel height by the same amount as the platform. So if you usually wear a 10cm heel, you could wear a 12cm heel with 2cm platform.

The trick is to be subtle in your approach, and nobody does it quite as well as our friends in Italy. A hidden platform can give you 1-1.5cm without showing much, and if the shoe is cut well it will draw attention away from the platform

Nicholas Kirkwood loves to live dangerously, his shoes are extremely low cut to show loads of toe cleavage, and a defined arch. Teaming them with a pair of fishnets is a good way add more drama, but usually I’ll go bare with these.

(more…)