In the past on this blog, the wonders of TKMaxx have already be briefly covered, however this year has been a real jackpot of finds there. It seems that since Kurt Geiger’s Bicester outlet closed a lot of high end stock that needed to be offloaded have ended at TKMaxx, often at silly prices.
TKMaxx seems to be loading up on high end designer luxury recently, and often at silly money
I have seen, Prada, Stella McCartney, Gina, Moschino, D&G and even Valentino amongst others. Even better, often these finds have been in regional sites, although the chances of finding these gems are definitely improved by searching within the boundaries of the M25.
Never thought I would own a pair of Pradas, they’re legendary enough not to need discounts. So to see these in Brent Cross was pretty amazing, even better they were the yellow sticker price, at £50! Even better is that there was still the box (never seen that before!)
So regular readers will know I have a major obsession with leather shoes, to the point that that I have avoided anything except pure leather shoes. My reasoning being that natural leather breathes and absorbs sweat, therefore improving the health of my feet. Now after some research I have learnt more about artificial leathers, and having come across a very keenly priced pair of Stella McCartney vegan leather shoes, I thought it would be worth a try to see how good high end synthetics perform.
These slingbacks by Stella McCartney are really quite something, I’ve seen high end luxury leather with worse finishes than this, I think Sergio Rossi have some of the best patent leathers and these are as good!
While it feels like only yesterday, it was a couple of months ago when my beloved Rupert Sanderson held a sample sale. Rupert always has a taste for the class, so even while many designers hire an empty shop front or warehouse, we find ourselves instead visiting the Royal Institution on Ablemarle St in the heart of Mayfair. We tread the same boards that the scientific giants of from Faraday through Rutherford to Dawkins.
The Palatial Neoclassically Styled Royal Institution of Great Britain Image modified under Creative Commons License, original artwork by Gryffindor
When Dune announced that they would be launching a collaboration with my favourite designer, Rupert Sanderson, I was absolutely thrilled. Combined Dune and Rupert Sanderson make up a quarter of my shoe collection, with good reason too, both brands offer what I look for in shoes, that magical combination of beauty, comfort and (relative) value for money. Knowing Rupert, he would only put his name to something that was worthy of his name, so expectations were understandably high. While I love so many styles in this collection, I have followed my head and only permitted myself two pieces, so I would welcome anybody who owns a pair of these or Rupert’s main collection to provide opinions on this too!
Dune London’s first major collaboration, and who better to work with than Rupert Sanderson?
Hi guys, apologies for the lack of activity recently. Someone highly intelligent thought it would be a smart idea to leave to skylight open on the conservatory while it was raining! So unfortunately computer is slightly unwell, so I’m not going to be tapping in endless HTML and CSS on my phone and of course have no way of doing any post pro work eother so some of the following blog posts might not be as easy on the eye as the regular content. Hope to resume normal service soon!
On a more positive note, Kurt Geiger at Bicester Village are doing some amazing sales! Picked up a couple of items today, at an unbelievable price, been looking for a pair of Charlotte Olympia Kitties for ages and finally found my favourite ones there. Also couldn’t resist the Stuart Weitzmans either they were from AW15/16, not shoes I needed but still it was too good to refuse.
Abstract Kitties by Charlotte Olympia (left) and Stuart Weitzman sandals (right) both from Kurt Geiger Bicester Village
At £15 pounds I really could not say no to these. Its about 95% off retail price, I know they look a little tacky but to be honest they’re a pair of shoes which I don’t care if they get beat up
The Kitties were more expensive at £79 but still the cheapest I've ever seen them at and worth it for a very special pair of flats
You love those chunky boots don’t you? The ones which have served you so well through the past few winters. Do you wish that you could have the same comfort without suffocating your feet through the summer? While pretty shoes are hot now, you can still be pretty in a chunky heel.
While sample sales are often older designs being sold, Rupert Sanderson does keep classic lines going as well as refreshing seasonal designs with new finishes. Earlier this year I picked up these from the sample sales, the Ravenna is quite a retro look, with the velvet it reminds me of the glamour of the inter-war years. Best is they’re amazing under this season’s wide legged trousers! They’re currently available in a burgundy velvet at the Rupert Sanderson Bicester Outlet.
The Velvet Ravennas are just feel so luxuriant, they’re super cute with a little platform they’re a very wearable shoe that can be dressed up and down.
For 2016-17 floral patterns are also still going strong, a little switch from before is that they are inspired by interior styling. The key is a slighly kitschy look, think bohemian embroidered fabrics, or slightly hippy prints rather than the neater prints. Its a twist on the classic, but nonetheless florals are going strong, and I think they look even better with a chunkier heel. These looks are very now and should see good service through AW16/17.
This is so typically Erdem, still a smaller designer right now but he’s going to be very hot this season. Even better a lot of his shoes part of a collaboration with the great Nicholas Kirkwood
The classic option, ever present is the classic stacked heel sandal, with or without platform, they will always make a good strong choice especially for a more casual wedding, a garden party or a BBQ. There are few things less elegant than that sinking feeling as your heels dig in, not a problem with these chunky heels. Personally I prefer the single sole look, it’s defininitely more elegant for a summer evening and won’t compete with lighter fabrics.
These lavender python skin sandals are by Coach, perhaps a little bright if but you can always find a similar shoe in nude.
Summer doesn’t mean you have to abandon the chunky boot for flop flops, you can carry on in comfort with a chunky summer shoe. The trick with chunky heels is to avoid swathes of cow’s leather. Fabrics such as velvet or satin print are great, or get sandals which have that au naturelle look.
Following on from my post about Faking It a guide to how to get the luxe look without the price tag, I began to wonder how to quickly identify genuine luxury pieces. Have you ever found amazing bargain accessory in a charity shop only to end up walking away because of the uncertain provenance of the piece? Spotting the real deal is doesn’t have to be hard, there are already plenty of brand specific guides on the internet, especially on eBay. They offer some great advice, and I want to build on that and give you done tips which can always be relied upon regardless of the brand.
From a Distance
Before even looking into more detail, luxury shoes and bags have a certain presence to it. Shoes have a certain elegance and sleekness to them, bags tend to have good structure even after years of service. Leathers and fabrics will have a depth to their colour.
The Riviera Bag (left) was Made in England during the 1960s, 50 years down the line it’s structurally solid, zips and clasps all still work. Here pictured with Paris 105 by Yves Saint Laurent. The unbranded Snakeskin piece (right hand image) is likely to have been made in Germany in the 60s or 70s, and likewise still in exceptionally good condition.
Do you like supporting your local independents, small designers, etc? You may find yourself surprised how corporate they actually are. In the world of fashion this is happens more often than you realise, designers will sell their name and subsequently step back from playing a key role. I wonder are they selling out or perhaps they do it out of necessity to survive and expand?
To understand better, it would be useful to have a look at who owns who? Between two luxury power players, Kering, and LVMH, they own over 20 of the worlds biggest luxury fashion brands. During the late 1980s up to the mid 1990s intelligent mergers, aggressive investments combined with ageing founder-designers such as Cristobal Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent opened the door to easy pickings. By the turn of the millenium this put Kering and LVMH in prime position to dominate the luxury sector.
Like most people, Yves Saint Laurent called time in the early 2000s, today completely absorbed into Kering it’s one of it’s key brands and as allowed the name and classic designs like the Paris shoe pictured here to live on
Whole I admit I have an exceptional love for leather, sometimes its unjustifiable to splurge a triple figure sum on a luxe shoe or perhaps disagree with the use of animal products. So let’s start by playing a game, take a look at the pictures below, can you tell which is the real deal which is the imitation stuff.
A few shoes that haven’t been on the blog, can you tell which of these are real animal skin? Answers below. Hint: two are real animal skin
Leather lined shoes always interest me, they’re typically more forgiving and absorbent than synthetics, so when New Look and H&M both started to sell their premium quality collections which both incorporated a number of shoes all of which were leather inner and upper. Next though is my disappointment, they retail typically around from £40 going all the way to £65! Now £65 for a pair of shoes is nothing, but dropping a that much on one item at New Look or H&M does seem a little perverse.
My concern is I’ve paid less for new Nicholas Kirkwoods, and Charlotte Olympias, now is it at all possible that the materials can hold up against what the luxury brands use? Still leather will always be more comfortable, and there are few pairs that are quite appealing, but personally I don’t think I would pay full price for them, on the other hand they are a few sandals on sale right now which might work quite well for summer.
The lace up look is really popular right and at £22 they’re worth getting