Manolo Meets Manhattan

Inside the mind of a master at his first New York Fashion Week presentation.

The temperatures may have been steadily dropping, but even the threat of snow and ice couldn’t keep oft-jaded fashion insiders away from Manolo Blahnik’s first-ever New York Fashion Week presentation. Inside Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, guests explored the imagination of one of fashion’s ultimate masters. The collection swung—as if in mid-flight—among the crowds while a projected quartet of films literally and figuratively illuminated Blahnik’s inspirations. As for the collection itself? A sumptuous display of east-meets-west ornamentation: here, a lushly embroidered boot; there, a pink satin bottine in crystals and studs. After taking it all in, you’re left to wonder what may have inspired this frenzied flight of fancy and why (luckily for us) Blahnik debuted it in New York. Fortunately, he was able to satisfy…

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The temperatures may have been steadily dropping, but even the threat of snow and ice couldn’t keep oft-jaded fashion insiders away from Manolo Blahnik’s first-ever New York Fashion Week presentation. Inside Chelsea’s Paul Kasmin Gallery, guests explored the imagination of one of fashion’s ultimate masters. The collection swung—as if in mid-flight—among the crowds while a projected quartet of films literally and figuratively illuminated Blahnik’s inspirations.

As for the collection itself? A sumptuous display of east-meets-west ornamentation: here, a lushly embroidered boot; there, a pink satin bottine in crystals and studs. After taking it all in, you’re left to wonder what may have inspired this frenzied flight of fancy and why (luckily for us) Blahnik debuted it in New York. Fortunately, he was able to satisfy our curiosity with his signature sense of wit.

Does your spring collection have an overarching theme?
Blahnik: There are a lot of different influences…turn-of-the-20th-century richness and elegance, Boldini paintings—especially the portraits of elegantly dressed, sophisticated women—and obviously details coming from my beloved Spain.

What’s one style rule you wish women would break? And would adhere to?
Blahnik: I wish all women always had an immaculate manicure and pedicure. Grooming is very important! But no one should wear a matching bag with shoes. It’s a trend very much of the past and I never liked it.

Why did you decide to present for the first time in New York?
Blahnik: We had a very successful London presentation last season so I decided, why not do the same in New York? I wanted people everywhere to see the thoughts behind my creations!


Roger Vivier, Ahead of the Curve

Designer Bruno Frisoni introduces the comma-shaped Virgule heel at Saks New York

Within the world of chic French shoes, there’s a new girl in town. She’s cool and irreverent, looks good in metallics and mink, and is at home on Rue St. Honore and Madison Avenue. Her name is Virgule, and she’s the latest design from Roger Vivier. Literally meaning “comma”, the Virgule gives pause with a curvy, comma-shaped heel modeled after Monsieur Vivier’s original 1963 design. Luckily, the new look has enough je ne sais quoi to turn even the most seasoned style doyenne’s head, as designer Bruno Frisoni found when he introduced it at a benefit luncheon at Saks New York this week. How did the original Virgule heel come into play when you created this latest design? Frisoni: The Virgule is iconic. It’s a…

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Within the world of chic French shoes, there’s a new girl in town. She’s cool and irreverent, looks good in metallics and mink, and is at home on Rue St. Honore and Madison Avenue. Her name is Virgule, and she’s the latest design from Roger Vivier.

Literally meaning “comma”, the Virgule gives pause with a curvy, comma-shaped heel modeled after Monsieur Vivier’s original 1963 design. Luckily, the new look has enough je ne sais quoi to turn even the most seasoned style doyenne’s head, as designer Bruno Frisoni found when he introduced it at a benefit luncheon at Saks New York this week.

How did the original Virgule heel come into play when you created this latest design?
Frisoni: The Virgule is iconic. It’s a design from Roger Vivier himself that we reimagined with a newer, elongated silhouette. I was interpreting and reinventing a favorite from our archives.

Vivier shoes have always been linked to fashion icons like Catherine Deneuve, Brigitte Bardot & Tilda Swinton. Does anyone come to mind when you think of the Virgule?
Frisoni: I don’t want to exclude anyone, so really, anyone with a sense of fun and cool can wear this shoe. It’s designed for anyone with the attitude to wear it!

Is there a fantasy Vivier shoe not yet designed?
Frisoni: Well, there are so many points of inspiration. Obviously, new and fresh is the ideal, so my style is always evolving…

Roger Vivier shoes & handbags are available at select Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

ROGER VIVIER


Tabitha Has Us Bewitched!

Photographed by Phillip Angert  Tabitha Simmons stopped by Saks Fifth Avenue on Tuesday to meet with clients and talk about one of our favorite subjects:  shoes. American Express and Saks hosted a private breakfast with the British Fashion Award-winning shoes designer and fashion stylist on Tuesday, followed by a tour of Shoe Obsession, the stunning shoe exhibition at The Museum at FIT. We took the opportunity to ask the woman who wears many hats — err, shoes, rather — about spring style. SaksPOV: It’s 830 am, and you seem fairly chipper… Tabitha Simmons: I wake up every day at 6am to get my kids ready for school, so this isn’t early for me at all! SaksPOV: And it finally feels like springtime in New York….

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Photographed by Phillip Angert 

Tabitha Simmons stopped by Saks Fifth Avenue on Tuesday to meet with clients and talk about one of our favorite subjects:  shoes. American Express and Saks hosted a private breakfast with the British Fashion Award-winning shoes designer and fashion stylist on Tuesday, followed by a tour of Shoe Obsession, the stunning shoe exhibition at The Museum at FIT. We took the opportunity to ask the woman who wears many hats — err, shoes, rather — about spring style.

SaksPOV: It’s 830 am, and you seem fairly chipper…
Tabitha Simmons: I wake up every day at 6am to get my kids ready for school, so this isn’t early for me at all!

SaksPOV: And it finally feels like springtime in New York. What is your favorite part of spring?
T.S.: The warm weather, absolutely! 

SaksPOV: What will you be wearing this spring? Do you have any favorite styles from your collection in mind?
T.S.: I’m just so excited to be able to wear lighter shoes. I’ve been in boots and ankle boots for so long now. I’m going to wear these striped oxfords a lot!

SaksPOV: What is it like when you meet with customers?
T.S.:  It’s the greatest thing, honestly. I used to work at a shoe store — it was my first Saturday job. I love seeing what people like.

SaksPOV: What do you think when you see someone wearing your shoes?
T.S.: I still get excited! When I see someone wearing my shoes on the street, I accost them and say, “I made those shoes!”

From left to right: Tabitha Simmons with Deb Curtis from American Express and Saks Fifth Avenue President Ron Frasch.

Tabitha Simmons shoes on display at 10022-SHOE

 

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See more photos from the event in the gallery. Which Tabitha Simmons shoes will you be buying this season? Tell us in the comments.
 


Meet Melissa

Behind the Scenes at the Plastic Fashion Brand

Spring is here and as they say, April showers bring May flowers — and soggy stilettos. Unless, that is, you’re wearing Melissa shoes. The Brazilian-based label consistently taps into each season’s key trends, and turns out strikingly innovative designs — from deck shoes to elaborately studded pumps — exclusively in plastic. Inspired by the season’s wet, sole destroying weather, we visited with Michele Levy, the brand’s U.S. CEO, who clued us in on a few fun facts about the chic, all-season shoes. Here’s a quick education in all things Melissa: • The original Melissa shoe was created in the 1970s as a sturdier plastic alternative to a leather sandal worn by French fisherman. • There’s no real-life “Melissa,” but so many refer to the CEO by…

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Spring is here and as they say, April showers bring May flowers — and soggy stilettos. Unless, that is, you’re wearing Melissa shoes. The Brazilian-based label consistently taps into each season’s key trends, and turns out strikingly innovative designs — from deck shoes to elaborately studded pumps — exclusively in plastic. Inspired by the season’s wet, sole destroying weather, we visited with Michele Levy, the brand’s U.S. CEO, who clued us in on a few fun facts about the chic, all-season shoes.

Here’s a quick education in all things Melissa:

• The original Melissa shoe was created in the 1970s as a sturdier plastic alternative to a leather sandal worn by French fisherman.

• There’s no real-life “Melissa,” but so many refer to the CEO by the name, that she automatically responds to it.

• Every pair of Melissa shoes is infused with a sweet bubble gum scent.

• Kids collection Mini Melissa launched two years ago and was an instant success. “They make me the most popular person at any baby shower,” says Levy.

• Melissa is a favorite of the eco-conscious. The accessories are totally recyclable.

• Designer collaborations might seem like a trend of recent vintage, but Melissa was ahead of the curve on that score. Back in 1984, Jean Paul Gaultier designed a shoe for the brand.

• Karl Lagerfeld is the newest designer to join the roster. Look for the capsule collection of pointy flats and whimsical, glitter embellished pumps to hit stores starting in May.

Plastic Fantastic! Check out some other water-wicking we love:

Givenchy’s ankle-strap jelly sandals are part of the latest wave of gladiator-inspired accessories ($280).

Perennial prepster favorite Jack Rogers does its classic Georgica thong in beach-ready PVC ($68).

Fendi’s ankle strap Hydra wedge is a subtle way to wear stripes ($395).

Loeffler Randall updates the look of the smoking slipper with a girly jelly version ($250).

Tory Burch’s gamine ballet flat makes a plastic shoe look downright ladylike ($125).

 

 

 


Birman’s Brazil

Alexandre Birman takes us to his hometown, Rio de Janeiro

Alexandre Birman knows a lot about what women want when it comes to the perfect pair of shoes. After all, he’s been designing them since the age of 15. Today, his namesake brand is known well for its ultra chic designs created in only the most luxurious of materials. And his main inspiration comes from where it all started — Brazil.  I regularly draw inspiration from… The architecture of Oscar Neymeyer and the beaches of Rio. My country is most inspiring because of… The history behind the emigration of different nations to Brazil throughout the generations. They have all come together to create this melting pot of Brazilian culture. I love Brazil for its… People — especially the women in my life — my mother,…

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Alexandre Birman knows a lot about what women want when it comes to the perfect pair of shoes. After all, he’s been designing them since the age of 15. Today, his namesake brand is known well for its ultra chic designs created in only the most luxurious of materials. And his main inspiration comes from where it all started — Brazil. 

I regularly draw inspiration from…
The architecture of Oscar Neymeyer and the beaches of Rio.

My country is most inspiring because of…
The history behind the emigration of different nations to Brazil throughout the generations. They have all come together to create this melting pot of Brazilian culture.

I love Brazil for its…
People — especially the women in my life — my mother, wife and daughter.

When I think of my country I think of…
Futbol — or soccer as it’s known in the USA. Soccer is the binding agent among every single culture in Brazil. It is taken so seriously in Brazil, during the World Cup workers are even given time off to watch their team in action. Pelé, arguably the greatest footballer ever, is from Brazil, as well as modern-day soccer super-stars Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Kaká. As a native Brazilian, we are honored to be hosting the next official World Cup championship. It’s an exciting time for my country and I hope we can add another World Cup title to our passionate team.

When home, my favorite place to eat is…
Fasano in Sao Paulo. The menu contains dishes from the Lombardy region from whence the Fasano family originally hailed, really is excellent. Travelers can always opt for the five-course tasting menu and let the chef take you on a gastronomic journey around Italy.

My best advice to those visiting Brazil for the first time is…
“Visit Sao Paulo for the art, especially the São Paulo International Art Fair and The Bienal de São Paulo for some wonderful displays. In Rio de Janeiro stay at the beautiful Fasano Hotel in Ipanema, run on the beach like the “cariocas” and eat Churrasco (Brazilian BBQ) with Caipirinhas.

Do not miss…
The Christ the Redeemer statue of Jesus in Rio that is considered to be the largest Art Deco statue in the world. It is located at the peak of the 700-metre Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park and definitely a must-see is to climb to the top of the inside of the statue. The view overlooking the entire city is breathtaking, and certainly worth the 223 stairs it takes to reach the top.

 

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What are your favorite Alexandre Birman pieces? Tell us in the comments.