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Comfort and style finally combine in new shoes

High heels can cause many woes for ­women. Cracked heels, pin­ched toes and redness all round is a lot of ache for one person to deal with. To dismiss it as sore feet doesn’t do the pain justice. Worse still, there’s no cure – aside from boycotting high heels altogether, taking extreme surgical measures or injecting your feet with Botox. Don’t scoff – some women resort to these procedures. It’s a problem we have had to suffer for many years. But things are taking a positive turn, with the fashion industry’s latest fixation on heels that are more comfortable and wearable.

Take the cult shoe of the moment: the Chanel slingback. Its neither too-pointed nor too-rounded toe, small block heel and slingback strap celebrate a new era in fashion – one that doesn’t include foot torture. Sadly, the Dh2,800 shoe is sold out in most Chanel stores across the globe – even in its latest grey-and-black colourway, to my dismay. If you have neither the savings nor energy to hunt around personal shoppers’ Instagram pages for coveted Chanels, don’t despair, because the high street has caught on to the trend.

Sock-style heels are another type of comfort-over-looks shoe currently on the market. Niche New York-based shoe designer Maryam Nassir Zadeh pioneered the rise of this trend. Her retro renditions, which cost Dh1,000 to Dh2,000, also gained recognition when luxury leather label Mansur Gavriel was accused of copying her shoe designs (particularly the colourful mules) when it launched a footwear line.

The autumn/winter stock slowly trickling into Zara takes a lot of inspiration from high-end designers, shoes included. Lace-up ballet styles, à la Miu Miu, are in the collection, as are cap-toe, block-heeled renditions of the Chanel slingback.

Sock-style heels, meanwhile, can be found in neutral shades of suede at H&M. Online retailer Asos also has some great offerings, in printed, plain and backless options. Speaking of backless, mules are another example of wearable heels that have resurfaced, though I much prefer the sleek, black options to the wooden clog styles that some brands (such as Gucci and Alexander McQueen) have tried to repopularise. Gucci, however, did bring a clever shoe style to the market this season when it introduced loafers with leather back panels that fold in, turning them into mules. For all of us who resort to sticking plasters onto the backs of our heels so shoes don’t cause blisters or worse, this new style is quite a genius solution, as is the decision to go with square toes. For women such as me, who are cursed with wide feet, ultra-­narrow pointed styles are tortuous to fit all five toes in, let alone walk around in for five minutes.

A sign of the working, professional woman used to be an enviably high-heeled shoe – often with the signature Louboutin red sole. But with varying definitions of feminism influencing trends, and man-repelling becoming an increasingly popular style statement, traditional notions of feminine footwear are changing, too. Slowly but surely, women in the workplace are shedding the sexist connotations that place them in tight suits and uber-high heels. We have kicked off our uncomfy pumps, replacing them with lace-up ballerinas, flat-form sandals, relaxed espadrilles and, if your office is super-lenient, sporty trainers. As I type this in our office, which abides by quite a professional dress-code, my feet sit happily inside my latest shoe splurge from All Saints. They’re black, open-back, bow-adorned canvas flats that are somewhat reminiscent of house-slippers. Office appropriate? I will let you decide.Read more at:formal dresses australia | evening dresses online

08:06 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Wedding attire for two

Deirdre Wall, an actress in Brooklyn, New York, was eight months pregnant when she was married on a New Hampshire mountaintop on June 25. While planning for the wedding, even amid a whirlwind engagement and impending motherhood, she found the task of dress shopping the most worrisome.

“There is a real hole in the market for cool maternity bridal dresses,” said Wall, 36. “I looked really hard throughout New York and couldn’t find a place to try one on that would also let me return.”

After perusing Etsy and Anthropologie, Wall ordered two gowns from Tiffany Rose, a British-based designer of bridal and special-occasion maternity dresses. One gown featured a lace bodice with cap sleeves, while the other had a classic sweetheart silhouette.

The best part was that Wall could try them at home and send one back. “Both dresses are beautiful yet stretchy, and I felt like I could gain 30 pounds next month if I wanted to,” she said. “I’m relieved that I have options.”

Wedding-dress shopping is a rite of passage for any bride. But throw in the physical demands of pregnancy — a rapidly expanding middle, growing bra size and disappearing waistline — and the process becomes all the more complex: How will it look a few months, and pounds, down the road? The same goes for pregnant wedding guests and bridesmaids who want to look and feel great while on their feet all night.

Though traditional maternity labels have long offered their share of empire-waist gowns with endless ruching and layers of stretch jersey, for a growing number of stylish women, these dresses feel matronly and passé. Whether trekking to a remote field or a hotel ballroom, today’s expectant brides and pregnant wedding guests want fashion-forward alternatives that offer the security of comfort and fit throughout pregnancy and even after baby.

“The modern pregnant woman doesn’t want to wear maternity only for a short period of time, but wants clothes that are adaptable,” said Sarah Rutson, vice president for global buying at Net-a-Porter. “Of course it depends how pregnant you’re going to be and which stage you’re in, but many pregnant women who shop our site expect to wear these pieces afterward.”

Rutson cited voluminous cocktail and black-tie dresses by designer brands like Chloé, Isabel Marant, Lanvin and Tibi. With their forgiving silhouettes and looser cuts, certain styles could fit some pregnant wedding guests.

Last November, Net-a-Porter began selling its first maternity-minded label, Hatch, which offers ready-to-wear that women can dress in before, during and after pregnancy. “I wear Hatch all the time, and my pregnancy days are long gone,” Rutson said. “The style and design is there, and if you’re eight months along, it’s not too tight.”

Ariane Goldman founded Hatch in 2011 after wearing a strapless dress she designed for a wedding while pregnant with her first daughter.

“I got stopped constantly by people saying how beautiful and comfortable I looked, but also how formal and appropriate,” said Goldman, who also founded twobirds, a bridesmaid dress label. “I thought, wow, this is the feeling I want women to feel: that they can go out on a beautiful evening and be comfortable and chic and not be omitted from fashion.”

Lindsey Evans chose the Fete gown by Hatch, a black sateen maxi style with a crisscross top, for a June 10 wedding in France. She was just over 30 weeks pregnant.

“The fabric felt really expensive, and it didn’t look like a bag hanging over me,” said Evans, the director of merchandising at the jewelry firm David Yurman. “I also appreciated the flexibility, that no matter what my size would be, it would still fit.”

Evans plans to wear the gown to a friend’s wedding in Mexico at the end of the year, long after her baby arrives.

Seulki Chung shopped Hatch for a wedding she attended over the Memorial Day weekend at the TriBeCa restaurant Locanda Verde. After trying on a few dresses in the maternity section of Nordstrom, she felt matronly and uncomfortable. Hatch’s off-shoulder Audrey style features an easy A-line silhouette that Chung expected she would wear during the warm months after her baby was born May 31.

“What drew me to Hatch is the idea that I can wear the pieces after my pregnancy,” said Chung, who runs Real Food Kitchen, a food company.

LoveShackFancy is another label offering dress styles for pregnant bridesmaids and wedding guests. Rebecca Hessel Cohen started it in 2013 when she was unable to find bridesmaids dresses she liked for her own wedding. She designed a single dress for her maids that featured a halter top and empire waist.

Since then, the pregnant bridesmaid has been an unexpected but loyal customer. Given the label’s ethereal aesthetic, in which many of the flowing chiffon styles lack closures in the waist and bust, the dresses are comfortable enough during pregnancy and flatter post-pregnancy bodies.

“When I designed the first dress, I didn’t know anyone pregnant at the time,” Hessel Cohen said. “Now our dresses do really well with pregnant bridesmaids. Personally, I wore our dresses a few times when pregnant and to a wedding three weeks after my second daughter was born. After you have a baby, your waist is nonexistent. You still look pregnant, and these pieces are forgiving.”

But for many women, an easy go-to remains a classic maternity style. Liz Corder was a bridesmaid at a Florida seaside wedding on June 18 when she was 25 weeks pregnant. Like Wall, she opted for a Tiffany Rose gown with cap sleeves, with a long skirt and sweetheart neckline.

“Something about the jersey underneath makes it so comfortable,” said Corder, a development manager for the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay in Tampa, Florida. “A lot of people think of maternity dresses as unflattering and tentlike. I feel really pretty in this style.”

When bridal designer Monique Lhuillier created the actress Ginnifer Goodwin’s tulle-and-lace wedding dress in 2014, Goodwin was well into her third trimester. Lhuillier suggests to all pregnant clients that they show off their neckline and shoulders, which are flattering regions regardless of a baby bump.

She also encourages them to enjoy their silhouettes. “I tell my pregnant brides, ‘Let’s not hide the pregnancy, because it’s such a beautiful thing,’” Lhuillier said. “The best thing to do is embrace the belly. I love showing it off.”Read more at:princess formal dresses | blue formal dresses

06:24 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


At Josefinas, Ballet Flats with a Twist

When Audrey Hepburn paired skinny jeans with black ballet flats in Funny Face (1957), a sartorial phenomenon was born. Since then, the ballet flat has weathered fashion’s many phases: throughout the 60s by French New Wavers Anna Karina and Brigitte Bardot, on the glamazons of the late 80s (cue: Sam & Libby), and in the early 2000s as a reprieve from Uggs. And now they’re back again, this time from the far shores of Portugal.

“I felt that I needed the perfect pair of flats to conquer the world. So I created Josefinas,” says 35-year old Portuguese shoe designer Filipa Júlio who founded Josefinas in 2013 with her business partner Maria Cunha. A former ballerina and architect, Júlio admits the idea for her own line of footwear was a natural way to marry her passions of construction and dance. “[Shoemaking] was something I never expected in my life,” she says, “but now I can’t imagine my life without thinking about shoes all day.” After all, shoemaking is in her blood. Not only did she name the brand after her ballet-dancing grandmother, but her grandfather was a shoemaker by trade. “He probably influenced me without me knowing it,” she says. But as he never passed down any pointers on the craft, Júlio set out to learn the tricks of the trade from scratch. And in three short years she’s come a long way.

Josefinas opened their first flagship store in New York’s Nolita neighborhood last week, and tapped designer Christian Lahoude (who has designed flagships for Gucci, Tiffany’s, and Jimmy Choo) to outfit the haunt with pearl-encrusted wall coverings and rose gold adornments. The shoes are of equal panache. The brand takes their material and aesthetic cues from Portugal’s rich artisan history, hand-crafting each pair in the small town of Sao João da Madeira, which is famous for producing luxury wares.

But what started as a line of classic leather ballet flats has since expanded to include twenty-five different colors, a range of fabrics (from crocodile to lace and suede), and other models such as mules, sneakers, low-heeled ballet flats, and knee-high boots. The shoes retail between $179 for a pair of classic leathers, and as high as $3,300 for their topaz-adorned ‘Blue Persian Salt’ flats, which are heralded as the most expensive ballet flats in the world. “A shoe can be simple, but extraordinary,” says Júlio, who is always thinking of inventive ways to reinterpret the classic style, such as her ‘Moscow’ shoe, which resembles a pointe shoe and comes in a rather extravagant, custom-made music box.

It’s no wonder Josefinas has garnered a unique following, such as Eva Chen, Sarah Sampaio, Leandra Medine (who owns three pairs) and Gloria Steinem, who collaborated with the brand to design a limited edition pair to benefit the non-profit Women for Women International. But it is their logo – an asymmetrical bow—that best summarizes their feminist, go-getter mentality. “It just didn’t make sense to have a perfect bow. Life is not perfect, handmade is not perfect, and you can adjust your life as you go,” says Júlio. “Our bow became a symbol of this.”Read more at:cocktail dresses |

06:24 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)