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Wheel of Heels

“Round-heeled” is an old-fashioned label for a woman who is promiscuous. “Well-heeled” is a phrase which can have a few meanings, including “being wealthy” or “equipped with a weapon”. Why can’t we be a little bit of all three with the styles below? SIT! Now HEEL.

How to dress in nine different heel and platform options this Fall 2013 - including Kate Spade, Alexander Wang, J.Crew, Alexander McQueen and Michael Kors

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Espadrille Sergeant

Espadrilles are casual, summer shoes originating from the Pyrenees Mountains, bordering France and Spain. Instances of the traditional shoe appear as far back as 4,000 years ago. The foot covering was originally made from rope and canvas – it was considered a peasant’s clothing item. They were even being worn around the XIII Century by the King of Aragons’ infantry men!

The biggest volume of espadrilles was sold to mine-workers in northern France. The shoe was particularly popular because the natural soles molded to the user’s foot and were considered very comfortable. An important craftsman during that century was referred to as an alpargatero, espadrille maker.

Espadrille Sargeant via The Walkup
Excerpt from the Dolce & Gabbana 2013 Spring/Summer Ad Campaign.

The term espadrille is French and loosely related to the Catalan word for esparto, a wiry Mediterranean grass used in making rope. Today, many espadrilles are made with braided jute, raffia, twine, straw, hemp and other tough, natural fibers. Have I whet your appetite for shoe history? Enjoy a complete and thorough origin story – here.

Espadrilles became fashionable in the US of A in the 1940’s because of Lauren Bacall’s character in the 1948 movie Key Largo. Audrey Hepburn, Pablo Picasso, Grace Kelly, Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy and Salvador Dali were also known to sport these chic, unisex, summer footwear.

Join the ranks of famous espadrille wearers – choose your own pair, below:

Casual Espadrille Choices for Summer Shoes

(clockwise from top right) Nine West Immunity Espadrille; DIANE von FURSTENBERG Espadrille Platform Wedge Sandals – Origenes; ASOS HIPPY Wedges; Stella McCartney Zebra-printed Espadrille Wedge; Kate Spade New York ‘lucie’ Espadrille Sandal in Cobalt Patent; Enzo Angiolini – Nomas High Platform Wedge Espadrille Sandals; Pierre Hardy Cube Print Espadrille – Red/Black/White; Chloé Platform Espadrille Sandal – Nude.

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Narciso Rodriguez X Kohl’s

Drawing inspiration from the vibrant city of Istanbul, the Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation collection is available at Kohl’s for a limited time. Known for his perfection of color blocking and “the line”, Narciso’s entire collection was inspired by a trip to Turkey and features misses’ outerwear, dresses, skirts, pants and shirts with prices ranging from $30 to $150. That price range means that yours truly can afford to “splurge” on a few pieces at a time!

Features distinguishing the line include color blocking, the interplay of black and white, tuxedo separates, and ultra-feminine dresses. One of the foremost American designers during the last two decades, Narciso Rodriguez plays a singular role in global fashion. As the famed, sunglass bespeckled Anna Wintour, editor in chief of American Vogue has said, “No one but Narciso has ever made a simple line look more stunning.” Narciso’s minimalist, clean design aesthetic runs throughout the collection which is also highly affordable. As the son of cuban immigrants, I appreciate Rodriguez’s offer of simple yet affordable mastery.

Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation Colorblock Ponte Sheath Dress.  Structured, measured and balanced with beautifully slimming proportions. Mustard deep yellows mingle with royal purples and tethered by a basic black.

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Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation Colorblock Ponte Dress. A gorgeous and unexpected color palette. Sky blue mingles with maraschino cherry reds, burgundies and fuchsia. Professional yet cheerful!

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Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation Wool-Blend Coat. A billowing coat’s silhouette, cinched at the waist and juxtaposed with ultra slim tights.  The pink is uber feminine, but tamed by then manly style of the smoking jacket lapels, and robe cut.

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Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation Lurex Tweed Jacket. Sophisticated and professional fabric blends meet dark and whimsical accoutrements. Intellectual, wasp meets punk rock mall rat.

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Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation Colorblock Sweater and Narciso Rodriguez for DesigNation Crepe Tuxedo Pants. Rodriguez is continuing the trend of high-profile designers doing collections for retailers to give public access to world-class fashion at affordable prices. He has been honored with three CFDA Awards, named one of the “25 Most Influential Hispanics in America” by Time Magazine, and won the Fashion Icon Award from the Pratt Institute. In the look above, sea-foam greens and blues mingle with the seriousness of a black rectangle. The color play is quirky yet enlightened.

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While my inspiration was drawn from the ancient and historic city of Istanbul, the collection is designed for today’s modern woman,” said Narciso Rodriguez. “Kohl’s DesigNation has given me the opportunity to deliver beautiful, quality clothing to women at a true value. It is exhilarating to see the collection come to life.” Thank goodness for these inexpensive yet chic and rich collections. My closet and wallet are thankful!