Here is some travel advice: After you have wandered the beautiful streets of Amsterdam before Christmas, done a canal cruise, visited the red light districts and are ready to get out of the rain and the cold, go buy some shoes.
Probably the most awesome shoe store EVER is located on 125A Spuistraat, flagship store of the architecture and design inspired label United Nude. And that refers to the design of the store as well as its contents.
The shoes are displayed on wall of light that continuously changes color, and the setting reminds more of an art gallery than a place to buy footwear. This impression is reinforced by Rem D. Koolhaas’ creations themselves, some of which definitely look like nothing you have ever seen before, not just when it comes to shoes.
The first pair that caught my attention was the Nova shoe from a collaboration with architect Zaha Hadid – a vinyl coated work of art reminiscent of a Tony Cragg sculpture. Not surprisingly, the sales clerk told me that a couple had actually bought a pair of the limited edition creation to display at their home.
My pick was somewhat more modest – a black pump with a metal heel inspired by the Eames Chair; its brushed leather finish made to reveal more of the metallic blue undertone as it gets more worn. But since it is the only black pump I now own, I felt I needed to go with something “basic”.
Shoe: Eamz Pump in “Blue Steel” by United Nude, Amsterdam.
Skirt: … and other stories, Brussels.
Denim Jacket: model’s own.
Chair: Eames reproduction.
Until a few days ago I knew Iris Apfel as the ninety something New Yorker wearing vast amounts of costume jewelry and black glasses, along with her brightly colored outfits. But I have to admit that I didn’t quite understand what made her a fashion icon.
Albert Maysles’ documentary “Iris” changed this. Not only does the film allow a glimpse into Mrs. Apfel’s extensive (and that is still an understatement) wardrobe, which is full of one of a kind creations such as a leather jacket hand painted by Versace.
But scenes in which she styles mannequins to be displayed at Bergdorf Goodman’s store windows, or the exquisite textiles on display for Rara Avis’ exhibition at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, made me understand that Mrs. Apfel not only has a truly unique, sculptural, sense of style, but also owns one of the most comprehensive archives of contemporary fashion history.
One of the designers having come up in the past few years that I will continue to watch: Philip Lim. If bold prints are your thing, you should too. And even if they aren’t. His designs are strikingly unique, and yet oddly familiar and very easy to wear.
A favorite of mine is the delicately composed print of cherry blossoms and ginkgo leaves, placed on a shirt dress with Chinese inspired collar; great with skinny black pants, or tall flat boots. Cherry blossom or ginkgo leaf jewelry mandatory.
Shirt Dress: Philip Lim
Black Pants: Madeline
Peep-toe High Heels: Costume National
Crocheted Flower Earrings: H&M
You gotta love the rich brocade seen on runways for the fall and winter couture!! At first, the rich shiny metallic with the decadent patterns may seem daunting to wear. Yes, the fear of being mistaken for drapes when exploring a baroque European palace is real. And there may be some traumatizing experience that makes you shy away from this century old look, such as wearing your first brocade piece to a party,where the chairs happen to be upholstered in that exact fabric. My advice if that happens, is to pretend that was intentional.
Despite having had a somewhat rocky start, a blue and silver brocade blazer I did buy for a Christmas party a few years back is now one of my favorite pieces. When buying it I thought I would probably rarely wear it, because it’s so opulent. But to my surprise, it’s really easy to wear and dress down, for example with a pair of skinny jeans to jazz up a casual Friday. Another trick to keep your look quirky and light, is combining it with Octopus jewelry or a Star Trek inspired jacket.
And if you want to go for a head to toe look, pick something ironic like gold brocade sneakers. Those will be a keeper.
- Brocade Skirt: H&M.
- Star Trek Jacket: Industry.
- Patent Leather Pumps: Costume National.
- Hobo Bag: Guess.
- Octopus Ring: Express.
- Earrings: Blogger’s own.
- Makeup: MAC.
- Brocade Blazer: The Limited.
- Brocade Tank Top: White House Black Market.
- Blue Pumps: Vivienne Westwood.
- Pants: Only.
- Bracelets: Africa, the World Market, H&M, Old Navy.
- Felt Clutch: Blogger’s own.
- Makeup: MAC.
I remember the pair I had owned in the early 2000’s. They were burgundy and olive patent leather wing tips, with the mandatory chunky heel and buckled strap.
My approach to buying shoes has since changed from functionality to their artistic value. A pattern that reminds of a sofa from the 1970s? Count me in. Rhinestone studded skulls with wings? Most certainly. Oversized bows in leopard print? Bring it on. Being able to walk in them has become a somewhat secondary concern.
Skull Sandal: Zadig & Voltaire.
Green Platform Pump: Aldo.
Sweater: Barbour Men.
Glasses: Dolce & Gabbana.
Watch: Swatch Skin.
Mittens and Hat: H&M.
Tights: Express. Lipstick: M.A.C Red.