The New Adorable – RED Valentino

I received my new Saks Fall 2012 Catalog last night and on page 133, I saw the most adorable pair of black glitter t-straps.


Then I saw that they were from RED Valentino.  Of course we all know Valentino but I had not given their RED line a lot of awareness.  But I popped over to Saks to see the shoes online and was enchanted with the adorable heels!

I love the black pair, but how cute are the pink?

Then I found these candy-colored kiltie loafers with the soft bows.

Super sweet lace ballet flats in the perfect creamy pink. Very provocateur.

I’m not sure why I love these kitten heels with the candy pink edges and bows and abstract leopard print, but I do.

Sadly, most of these are not available in my size.  If they did I would be in serious trouble!  Now I have to run off to do a shoe search.

I really want those loafers and kitten heels!

Darn You, JCrew

JCrew is trying to ruin me.  I cannot resist all the polka dot/plaid/stripe/tweed/snakeskin print goodness.

I actually am tempted by these adorable sweaters and I generally don’t like crew neck tops!  We’ll see what actually works and stays around for Fall/Winter.

Oh, yeah, I got a pair of cap-toe heels too.  It’s sickening how cute all this stuff is!

Designer Focus – Richard Braqo

It’s always exciting to see a strong new designer come onto the shoe radar.

Richard Braqo (Richard Kwame Brako), is from Ghana, studied at Parson and hails from Helmut Lang and collaborated with Cesare Paciotti.  With a debut collection this season, Richard is already showing a strong design eye and a unique vision that makes his work jump out for me.

While the whole collection is great – check out his lookbook here – I love his sharp, sexy stilettos and his lethally gorgeous jewelry-inspired embellishments.

 The pearl spear to skinny gold heel of the Benedetta is my top pic of the collection.  The pieces in his collection come in oxblood and moss but I love the black velvet and gold accents best.

Asymmetrical Coralle is a signature piece, with the bracelet ankle detail.  I love this is the deep oxblood, which is turning out to be the color of the Fall/Winter 2012 season.

My other favorite design element from the collection is the metallic feathers of the Nina sandal.  You can see why his pieces are catching the eye of musicians and performers.

Richard’s work already shows a confident style and aesthetic. I can’t wait to pick up a pair and to see how his work evolves over the next few collections.

Shoes of Change

On my way in to work most mornings, I tune into NPR and the BBC World Report.  I don’t get the newspaper or TV so my news consumption comes from online sources that I access via apps my Twitter feed or that I search out.  NPR and BBC keep me informed with views from outside the US and about world news that may not get the same focus here in the US.

Much of the news today was about the death of Ethiopian Prim Minister Meles Zenawi. He was a controversial figure but a pivotal one in Africa and for the world.  His death will be a big change to the region.

But why am I writing about this topic here?

As a child growing up in the 80s, Ethiopia was a recipient of much of the aid programs such as Band Aid and Live Aid.  We saw the pictures and sent in money.  These programs helped to remind us that there is a world outside our borders. We talked about the issues.

What’s weird to me is that every day I hear the news but never get the chance to talk about it.  Sure people I know talk politics (usually on heated partisan lines) and other rights issues, when the topic is hot, but other than that…. not much.  There isn’t a lot of discussion about influential books or world news or scientific breakthroughs.   Maybe I need to start a salon, a la the ladies of the Enlightenment.

But behind these big stories are the individual people who live in the countries.  I love the inspirational work showcased each year at the Arise Collection during NYFW. I wanted to see if I could find any footwear designers from Ethiopia.

My favorites were the pieces from soleRebel.  They’re fair trade and artisan crafted, creating jobs and cute shoes for men and women. Founded 8 years ago, they’re helping locally and reaching out globally.

But in thinking about Ethiopia, I began thinking about Eritrea.  I met a lovely lady from there many years ago.  At the time I didn’t know much about the country or how it had fought for independence from Ethiopia. I’ve tried to learn more and the news today brought the country back to the forefront of my mind.

One thing I did not know is that Barka sandal, or “shida” is a national symbol for the country.  The sandals were worn by the fighters wore, almost as a de facto uniform, during their bid for independence.

Lightweight and repairable, these shoes are such a part of the national identity, they are even symbolized in monument in Shida Square.

Shoes as a symbol of change.

In each country they are supporting the people differently but they each are representative of the hopes and lives and dreams for a better future.

Push It Payless

Each Fall I get a little bit jazzed about the runways shoes by the Payless-affiliated designers like Lela Rose and Christian Siriano.  Not only do I like their clothing styles but they always show some lovely shoes.

This year was no different.  I pinned a few lovely pairs to my Fall 2012 board in hopes they would make it to reality…

But, sadly again, the reality is not as edgy as the originals.

While these pumps are nice enough, and close to those shown above, they are missing the sheen and the height.  Can’t girls on budget have cute shoes too???  And these aren’t even that “cheap” at $55!

Maybe more are on the way… right? Well, yes, the whole collection should be out in September. So I’m reserving full judgement until then.

The only collaboration that seems to really be consistently keeping up in the design arena is the Isabel Toledo collection.  I like her edgy style, especially these Fluevog-esque mary janes.

Two-tone, patent, fun heel.  These are heels I’d be happy to pick up from Payless, even for $55!

Payless, if you want to up your price range, you need to up your design bravery.

Greatest Glitter – Miu Miu

I have decided that no other designer is doing as good a job with glitter as Miu Miu. Sure, I love the Loubies, but Miu Miu is staking a claim to the glitter throne.

Sure, their Noir sunglasses were awesome, but where they really shine are their shoes!  I love the fact that they don’t limit glitter to just heels but they make sure, no matter what type of shoes you wear, you can have some sparkly glitter love.  If you want silvery glitter, you have a slew to choose from.

I personally was seduced into getting the classic pumps…

What a great heel profile!
But if you want more casual (yet still show-stopping), get the hightop sneakers.

A little bit lighter on the glitter but still snazzy when combined with black peep-toes.

Or all out, in your face, platforms.

I even like the subtle mix of the booties. The glittery heel is an unexpected surprise.

All of these gorgeous shoes are available now on  I have to say they have a great selection and their packaging is luxurious and delightful.  If you are trying to track down a special shoe or outfit, they are a great resource!

Reading My Mind

So, Sunday was my birthday….

And, yes, I’m old.  I think I’m in a new age checkbox, so yeah… blech.

Actually, I don’t really focus on my age number, so I’m not really bothered by it.  And obviously I don’t really feel “old” because what I want to get with my birthday money is a pair of Necomimi Brainwaive Cat Ears.

Come on!  How can you NOT want these.  They do say they are looking at other ear styles.  Maybe I’ll hold out for fox ears!

Designer Focus – Michelle Chang Jewelry

 I was very excited to see one of my favorite Etsy shops featured on the other day.

I’ve been a fan of Michelle Chang’s jewelry for a while now and had been planning on making a purchase but this gave me added incentive.  There were a few pieces on Fab that I had not seen in her store so I made sure to add them to my cart right away.

What I love about her pieces are the delicate details combined with the soft finishes.  Each piece has a warmth and humor that is so engaging.  

The piece that first got me interested in her work was this whimsical (you know I can’t resist that!) snake ring.  As a fan of snakes (they’re much maligned and misunderstood), I was instantly smitten with his playful expression.

This ring also has a lovely brass version holding an amethyst.

I actually purchased the silver snake ring directly from Michelle’s Etsy store but I did nab two pieces via Fab. First was the fox necklace in sterling with diamond eyes.  She has this without stones, as a ring and earrings as well.

Two snakes are better than one, right?  I also nabbed the brass “holding is tail” (very ouroboros, no?) snake with ruby eyes.

Working with Michelle through Etsy has been a pleasure so far.  I love that she’ll adjust sizes and stones to suit your preferences.  I’ve had nothing but great experiences with the artists on Etsy and I can’t wait to wear my new pieces.