Christian Louboutin: “There is a Showgirl in Every Woman”

Post-show, Abrina and I found Jessica, who has worked for Christian Louboutin for 8 years, looking so chic in her shoes and bag. Louboutin says that a heel hight should be no more than 5″ and Jessica agrees: “It’s all about the pitch,” she says.

So, do you want to know the real story behind the iconic and now-trademarked red-lacquered soles of Christian Louboutin shoes? To hear Monsieur Louboutin tell it himself is pure storytelling and the stuff of fashion legend! Inspired by artist Andy Warhol’s bright colors Louboutin says it was watching his assistant, Sandy, paint her nails red that gave him the idea to paint the soles. Louboutin was trying to bring the reality of his designs to life but it didn’t happen until he saw Sandy apply that red nail polish. He grabbed the polish, a fight ensued (Sandy didn’t want to stop polishing with only 2 nails completed!), he won, he grabbed the red polish and painted the black sole of the shoe. Once he saw that red it transformed the shoe and a brand was born! It turned out that red was the perfect choice because women don’t see red as an actual color. In the 90’s when women were wearing black and more black, Louboutin noticed that these very women also wore red nails and red lipstick. When he asked them about the red on their lips and nails, they replied: ‘that is different – that’s not a color!’ – and in that moment Louboutin knew: “If it’s different on the lips, it would be different on the soles.” He had found instant success …

Last night, as I watched Louboutin interviewed by Fern Mallis in her Fashion Icons series at the 92nd Street Y, I was charmed. Quintessentially French, born and raised in Paris, it was clear from the start that Louboutin was a perfect blend of artist and businessman, dreamer and doer. And also a bit of a dickens … Continue reading

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“Why Do Women Wear High Heels, Mom?”

So, the conversation started this way: my son Cameron, who is 17, looked at me in ernest and asked, “Why do women wear high heels, even when they know it’s bad for their feet?”  We were leaving for school/work, and I had just explained to Cam that the reason I was a few minutes late was because I needed to add bandaids to my feet – as a result of hard wear-and-tear caused by shoes. His question was simple and to the point. My answer, however, gave me pause. And it was not simple, that is for sure.

For the rest of the drive to school we talked about why women continue to wear high heels even through the pain. I explained that it’s never been fair for women who feel the societal pressure to do what it takes to be considered feminine and beautiful. I told him about the ancient Chinese tradition of young girls bonding their feet so that they would remain smaller as they grew, which was considered to be a sign of beauty and status. Bonding was eventually banned in China in 1912 but women had endured this painful tradition for 10 centuries. He was shocked. Cam then mentioned the tradition of wearing corsets. By the mid-16th century wearing corsets was common for European and British women. These uncomfortable undergarments restricted breathing and caused great distress, all for the purpose of raising the shape of the breasts and tightening the waist and midriff.

And then there are high heels. Continue reading

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Kerri Washington Earns a Purple Heart

Kerri Washington

Kerri Washington’s handbag design to support victims of domestic violence : Courtesy Allstate Foundation

Kerri Washington earned a purple heart. The actress has been the ambassador for the Allstate Foundation’s Purple Purse campaign for a while, but this is the first year that she is teaming up with fashion designers to design handbags that will support victims of domestic violence. Designer handbags will be auctioned throughout October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Washington’s own design will get produced for a giveaway sweepstakes – guaranteeing more visibility for the cause.

In a press release Washington said: “2016 marks my third year as Allstate Foundation Purple Purse ambassador, and it’s a truly exciting year as we’ve teamed up with amazing designers to create handbags that will help women enduring financial abuse … I’m grateful for the participation from designers like Tory Burch and Christian Louboutin as well as the passion and creativity they are bringing to this cause that’s so important to me.”

This is fashion design at its best. I hope they raise awareness (and a lot of money) for people in dire need.

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Braving a New York fashion experience : The sample sale

Open the door to a NYC sample sale

Open the door to a NYC sample sale

Writer Ingrid Steffensen is living in New York City for the year, and we, in turn, can live vicariously through her. Her latest fashion experience? Shopping a sample sale. Let’s hear more …

Ever been in a room full of girls wearing thongs? It’s not as much fun as it sounds. Actually, it’s a little awkward. But that’s what you have to be prepared for if you want to brave a New York City sample sale.

Let’s start with what a sample sale is: a particular designer has a little extra merchandise, not quite up to its high-end retail showroom standards. Maybe the items are a little out-of-season for the ever-earlier fashion cycle (don’t get me started on that! – I mean, who wants to be trying on woolly sweaters in August?) Or maybe they’ve been on display or have been through trunk shows. Maybe they’re a little wrinkled. But in any case it’s comforting to know that designers’ closets fill up as fast as mine do. Continue reading

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