Archive for January, 2009

Shoes go nude

The new trend in shoes, it seems, is nude, which basically means beige-ish and they are supposed to make your legs look as though they go on forever.

Nude shoes from LAMB

Nude shoes from LAMB

Celebrities have been seen sporting nude shoes on red carpets everywhere and they are being touted as the number one shoe obsession by fashion magazines the world over. But one woman is not so keen on nude shoes. Dodai (Jezebel.com) writes that naming products, such as shoes, nude or flesh-coloured automatically alienates a rather important demographic – namely black people, or anyone who isn’t Caucasian. She mentions crayons that were “flesh” coloured until some bright spark changed the name to “peach”, as well as flesh-coloured plasters (band aids) that simply didn’t blend with her skin as it did with her rosy friends.

Times may have changed and Dodai may have grown up, but she’s never forgotten the hurt of realising that she didn’t conform to the archaic standards of long ago. The new nude shoes trend, she says will not make her legs look long because they don’t blend into her skin tone. It’s not the colour that she finds offensive – beige is never an offensive colour, not really – but the naming of the colour. Surely marketers ought to be more sensitive to the feelings of people who were not born pasty.

United Nude, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with beige, in fact you won’t find anything quite as run-of-the-mill as beige at United Nude at all. United Nude is a British shoe company that was co-founded by Dutch architect Rem D. Koolhaas. According to Yahoo!’s shopping site, the shoes “combine architecture and abstraction to elevate footwear to the level of art”, and they certainly are interesting.

I love these from the “Fold” line, which apparently is all about the “fluent movement of a single strip”.

These are cobalt and magenta.

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From the “Sharpei” line we have magnificent green flame boots. Named after sharpei doges, the inside layer of the boot is independent of the outer layer, which is intentionally oversized.

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Mono Janes are Mary Janes with a quirky difference, and I love them.

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The shoe-throwing phenomenon

When Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw his size-10 shoes at outgoing US President George Bush he could have had no idea that his rather courageous demonstration would have such an international impact, and that he would be elevated to hero status – near god-like even. Nor could he know that his actions would inspire emulation by thousands across the world.

Demonstrators in the UK, who were protesting against the Israeli bombing in Gaze and Britain’s apparent lack of action against it, threw shoes at the gates of Downing Street. Protestors threw more than 1000 pairs of shoes while chanting the catchy slogan, “Shame on you, have my shoe”.

Protestors throw shoes at Downing Street

Protestors throw shoes at Downing Street

Shoes litter Downing Street

Shoes litter Downing Street

In Beirut, Lebanese and Palestinian youths threw shoes at the fences surrounding the Egyptian embassy, also in protest against the Israeli attacks on Gaza. And in Iran, around 70 protestors threw their shoes at caricatures of George Bush in support of al-Zaidi. The event was sponsored by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, and attracted passers by who were on their way to Friday prayers.

An Iran woman lets her feelings be known

An Iran woman lets her feelings be known

Canada has also been in on the action, with shoe throwing protests in Montreal and Toronto. Canadian journalist and activist, Stephan Christoff commented on the event, “Today is an act of humour in a sense but it’s also a profound situation and context. We’re talking about a situation where hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in Iraq. It is George Bush who holds a direct responsibility for the devastating, horrific situation of occupation and imperialism in Iraq.”

Artists, who are generally pretty good at seizing on a good trend, have also adapted the phenomenon to suit their industries. Artist, Eric Navickas, opened an exhibit in Oregon with a “shoe throw” piece. He painted the soles of various shoes a bright red colour and invited guests to have a go at an 8-ft image of President Bush. The exhibition was a “statement of solidarity” with al-Zaidi. And on the 19th Jan 09, San Francisco will hold the first “Potrero Hill Shoe Throwing Carnival” in support of al Zaidi, to cleanse American souls of 8 years of “carnage and stupidity.

Maine activist, Jamilla El-Shafei, is on a shoe drive to collect shoes from all over the States to shoo Bush out of the White House, which will culminate in a massive shoe-toss near the white house closer to Barack Obama’s inauguration. The shoes will then be donated to homeless shelters in Washington D.C.

Meanwhile, al-Zaidi’s trial has been plagued with scandals and set backs. There have been allegations of torture and abuse at the hands of Iraqi authorities and it’s been alleged that he was initially denied legal representation. His brothers have also claimed that his apology to Iraqi the Prime Minister was written under duress, as al-Zaidi would never have apologised for his act. The trial, which was to have started on the 31st Dec 08, has been postponed while his lawyer tries to reduce the charges from assault against a foreign head of state – with a 15-year prison term – to insulting a visting head of state – which carries a maximum sentence of 2 years. The attorneys claim that the shoes didn’t place Bush in actual danger. Dhiaa al-Saadi, al-Zaidi’s lawyer, says, “Have you ever heard of anyone being killed by a shoe? In Europe, they throw eggs and rotten tomatoes to insult. In Iraq, throwing a shoe is a symbol of disrespect.”

As for the shoes themselves, a Turkish shoe firm has claimed credit for their creation and has had to hire an extra 100 people to cope with a surge in demand. The shoe has been renamed the Bush Shoe, or the Bye-Bye Bush Shoe and is achieving international notoriety as orders come in from all over the world. Once again, al-Zaidi’s brothers are not keeping their silence and claim that the shoes were actually made in Iraq. One of the brothers has lashed at out at all those who are flying on al-Zaidi’s famous coat tails.

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Accessories for accessories

I always thought that shoes were accessories, but it turns out that you can accessorise your accessories. Shoes don’t have to be just plain old shoes, and you don’t have to wear them as you bought them, they can be spruced up, decorated and adorned just as the rest of your wardrobe, and the results range from the chic and elegant to the downright weird.

Starting with the latter, we have “Lastic Laces”, which don’t get any more complicated than the name implies. They are indeed elastic shoelaces that coil to stay in place, so you don’t have to tie them. Other features, according to the website, include:

  • the convenience of a slip-on
  • never loses elasticity
  • lace ’em just once…and never again
  • no more struggles dressing those fiesty little kids
  • no more laces to drag or trip over

Lastic Laces™ also boast endorsement from the Arthritis Foundation, Special Olympics and Sports Illustrated and come in a range of colours, including magenta, raspberry/white/silver, purple, pink and black and white.

Shoe clips are something that I feel a little ambiguous about; I think that they carry an inherent tackiness risk. For instance, I’m not a fan of bows, I would never clip bows onto my shoes under any circumstances, and especially not for my wedding, but I could possibly accept some small, tasteful flowers, or even a classy brooch, but flowers start pushing red-alert buttons again.

Absolutely Audrey is pretty cool, they offer shoe clips in three categories: Vintage – where they convert vintage accessories (earrings, brooches, pendants, etc) into shoe clips

Olympia

Vintage Collection: Olympia

Chic – includes custom designed shoe clips

Hope

Chic Collection: Hope

Bridal collection – with crystals, pearls and rhinestones.

Desire

Bridal Collection: Desire

All of which are just fine by me.

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