Thursday, October 15, 2009


I’m open to design finesse and creative expression. I dig off-the-wall, outside the box and edgy. I spent years studying interior design for Christ’s sake, my middle name is edgy!

Taking fashion risks is how unknown fashionistas become icons. Think Jackie O, Twiggy and our more modern day muses; Kate Moss or the styling of Patricia Field for The Devil Wears Prada or Sex & The City. The outrageous is precisely how women of fashion befall recognition and if they are tremendously lucky, become elevated to fashion royalty.

Where might Liz Hurley be today if it weren’t for that Versace safety pin dress she nearly wore while gloriously decorating Hugh Grant’s suit?

Are there times when designers have gone too far? I’m with the whole push the boundaries and make the press talk public relations stunt but when the latest collections from fashion houses hit my laptop I was left wondering who was going to wear these things beyond the catwalk?

Has ugly become the new hot?

Overtly chunky heels with almost orthodic like strapping have been pushing the boundaries of attractive for the last few seasons. Despite their somewhat medicinal appearance women clambered to get their hands on the much yearned for Chloe or Stella McCartney versions.

The ankle boot has been beaten to death by every design house from Bottega Veneta to Christian Louboutin and we’ve come out the other end with some specimens of boot resembling the paraffin wax dip we had at our last pedicure.

Animal prints have been climbing all over our bodies and clinging for dear life to our feet for longer than most of us are prepared to admit and then Marc Jacobs added the exclamation mark with horns to the toes of last season’s cow hide ballet flats. An interpretation I found entertaining until security at the airport told me I couldn’t wear them on a Qantas flight I was preparing to board. I must admit, this is the first time my shoes have been classified as lethal weapons!

Enter Balenciaga last season with what I like to call Yeti Chic. If you are curious to see what happens when an Ugg and an ankle boot reproduce you have your answer right here. It is at this point I assume that trying to get Pamela Anderson into some heels as an alternative to her Uggs may be the inspiration behind these? In their defense, I can imagine Mary-Kate Olsen or Kate Moss trudging through New York or Notting Hill respectively donning a pair.

I can only assume the Gridiron WAGS would be the clients of note for Balenciaga’s second fascinating offering last season, with its gridiron uniform likeness, these were available in contrasting black and white or the ever striking primary colours. Was this a mercy design encouraging husbands to become interested in what women are wearing or did somebody get drunk during the USA’s Monday night football and presuppose this would be amusing?

Alexander McQueen was inspired by the notion of Darwin’s The Origin of the Species and these little gems (pictured) were the result. While I completely understand the creative journey and use of amphibian and prehistoric references… paaahlease! I am not wearing twelve inch ankle boots that resemble animal hooves, with or without the bling.

When canvassing the male population on their thoughts concerning the most desirable shoes it is fairly unanimous that orthodic, overly chunky platforms are not sexy, no matter how much they are embellished with jewels, ribbons or butterflies. Evidently, I find by scrutinizing some of the most stylish feet around town, our motivation is not to appeal to the men. Undoubtedly we are looking to appeal to our fellow shoe constituents.

Sassy interpretations of these chunkier trends can be seen in McQueen’s current season stacked platform heart peep, YSL’s platform pump and Prada’s Satin Sandal, all sure to demand a second glance from any passer by. A little bit of ugly (directional, to use the language of our beloved designer folk) can be a good thing. It creates interest and defines us outside the horde, which is precisely why we seek out these must-haves in the first place.

Building a shoe wardrobe can be tricky and if thinking long term investment, wise selection is a must. Too directional and the wearer will be vilified next season for inappropriately repeat offending. Select shrewdly and they can be slipped into the next few seasons virtually unnoticed in their repetition. Sure, they may have to sit a season out but most of the good ones do.

It can be done. We can all learn to introduce a touch of ugly into our wardrobe, as long as it’s done appropriately.

That being said, the only surefire way to get noticed by the fash-pack is to jump into that LBD, sling a Chloe Victoria shoulder bag over that arm and slip on some animal-hoof-chic. Hey, it worked for Liz!

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