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The Ultimate Shoedown or Fairy Tales Do Come True

An “Ultimate Shoedown” is every girl’s fantasy. Imagine being surrounded by a group of luxury shoe designers each clutching a pair of their prettiest heels, eager for you to accept them. The stuff of dreams, right? Well, just such a party is a yearly occurrence in the Spanish shoe-making center of Elda.

This past June 17, the lucky woman was Marta Hazas, a Spanish TV star and passionate shoe lover. The shoe designers represented some of the best Spanish brands that call Elda home.

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Marta Hazas, Spanish TV star and recipient of 2015 “Women with the Best Shoes” Award. Image source: Revista del Calzado.

The Woman with the Best Shoes

Every year since 1999 the Elda Shoe Museum (and store) convenes a panel of shoe industry, media and arts personalities. Their task – to choose “The Woman with the Best Shoes“. (The Spanish title: “Mejor Calzada” is much shorter and cool sounding. Usually English is more succinct than Spanish, but when it comes to shoes it’s different. Interesting, right?)

Before we get into the details of the latest “Ultimate Shoedown” at Elda, I want to thank Patricia Jorge, a charming person and popular Spanish shoe blogger from the Canary Islands, for the images and information about this unique and very Spanish event.

According to Patricia, the criteria for the prize are quite straight forward. The candidate must be a recognizable public realm persona, a stylish shoe “aficionada“, and a strong supporter of shoes “Made in Spain“. Finally, she must come to Elda to receive her prize and she must not charge for her appearance.

Quite naturally, the winner of the award becomes an ambassador of the brands that present her with the star models of their current collections.

Some of the past recipients include: actress Paz Vega (starred in 2004 “Spanglish“)

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Paz Vega at 20th anniversary of Vogue Spain, 2008. Image source: www.sfgate.com

the late Duchess of Alba, who was for many, many years a highly flamboyant presence on Spain’s social scene, here in a traditional Spanish equestrian outfit:

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Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, the 18th Duchess of Alba. Image source: www.vintag.es.

and the charming Venezuela-born Marie Marguerite, Duchess of Anjou, here with her husband the Duke:

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Duke and Duchess of Anjou. Image source: www.pinterest.com.

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Like a kid in a candy store: Marta Hazas surrounded by her new shoes. Image source: Elda Shoe Museum IG.

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Luxury shoe designer Sara Navarro adjusting Marta’s new Sarahworld feathery espadrille platform sandal. Photo courtesy of El Blog de Patricia.

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Erissal” eco-chic espadrille platform sandal in suede, with exotic feather detailing by Sarahworld by Sara Navarro. Image courtesy of Sarahworld.

The “Woman with the Best Shoes” gets fussed over and spoiled like there is no tomorrow. Besides getting all these new shoes and a pretty winged shoe trophy, she gets measured for her own personal shoe last. With that she can have perfect fitting custom shoes made for her by any of her favorite designers.

Here are some other shoes that Marta Hazas got to take home with her:

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High-heel suede sandal with fringe detailing by JONI. Photo courtesy: JONI Shoes.

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Bejeweled vinyl and metallic leather peep-toe pump by Magrit. Photo courtesy of Magrit.

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Metallic leather and suede fantasy sandal by Paco Herrero. Photo courtesy of Paco Herrero Shoes.

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Leather and fabric high-heel sandal by Pedro García. Photo courtesy of Pedro García.

 

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Glitter bow suede stiletto slingback pump by Sabina Teruel. Photo courtesy of Sabina Teruel.

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Block heel slingback sandal with outsize suede fringe detailing by Sacha London. Photo courtesy of Sacha London.

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Lace-up low-heel slingback by Hispanitas. Photo courtesy of Hispanitas.

So, this is what I call an “Ultimate Shoedown or Fairy Tales Do Come True.” Are you envious yet? I surely am.

Happy dreaming!

 

LacyEsp

A Quick Summer Espadrille Rundown

Espadrille is a great summer favorite. The traditional Spanish rope sole slipper is down to earth informal, pretty, and flattering.

A few things you should know to have a happy espadrille wearing experience:

  1. Go authentic. Not for romantic reasons (even though that counts too), but for practical considerations. Everyone makes espadrilles these days, but the companies that mass produce them often miss the mark. A rope sole shaped by hand and not by a machine will adapt much better to your foot. A hand-stitched espadrille will not fall apart on you like the machine made one. Mass produced espadrilles are glued together – stitches on those are purely ornamental. I also don’t see the point of buying premium espadrilles made by major global luxury brands. They are no better in quality than the high end Spanish espadrilles, but they cost more.
  2. Give your espadrilles a break by not wearing them all day and every day. The rope sole is good at absorbing sweat, but it is an organic material and it needs to be aired out in order to keep the bacteria in check. Going over the fabric upper with a moist cloth to prevent street dust from settling in will help keep your espadrilles looking fresh longer.
  3. Pick up your feet! Rope sole is heavier than the ones used in regular shoes.
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My “San FerminBasque style espadrilles from the Espadrille Store.

Authentic espadrilles can only be found in Spain, where people have spent centuries, literally, sewing them for themselves and their neighbors. Outside Spain, the most basic and affordable Spanish espadrilles are sold by Espadrille Store based in Montreal, Canada. The espadrilles are made in Cervera del Rio Alhama, La Rioja. Local artisans work as a team using traditional craft techniques and equipment.

I’ve always admired Spanish designers for making really simple things beautiful. Only in Spain have I seen regular textile fabrics so attractive, so durable, and so adaptable to modern fashion.

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Red Stripes espadrilles available at the Espadrille Store.

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Green Stripe espadrilles available at the Espadrille Store.

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My “Lola” wedge espadrille from the Espadrille Store.

I have to say that basic fabric upper espadrilles tend to lose their fresh look in one season. Also, cotton insoles wear out to shreds pretty quickly, which can make walking uncomfortable. Companies that manufacture more elaborate, higher end espadrilles, like Gaimo and Vidoretta from La Rioja, Castañer and Paloma Barceló in Catalonia, mostly use leather insoles.

Gaimo gets rave reviews in Europe and beyond, including from readers of this blog. That’s why I am happy to recommend them, even though I myself don’t own a pair of Gaimo espadrilles as of yet. YOOX, my shopping partner, carries a pretty large selection of Gaimo shoes. Some are basic espadrilles, with mixed leather and fabric uppers. Some are leather sandals with rope soles. All soles are finished with a thin layer of vulcanized rubber, for increased comfort and durability.

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Vidoretta is another innovative and design-focused espadrille maker. The highlight of their Spring-Summer 2016 collection is their techno mesh slip-on sneaker.
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iconSequin, leather, and lamé fabric are also a hit this summer.
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Castañer, also on YOOX, uses great artistry in creating unique woven fabric uppers for their espadrilles.
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A perforated leather sneaker by Palomitas by Paloma Barceló, available through YOOX. Palomitas is a casual line of the Paloma Barceló fashion espadrille brand.

Happy espadrille summer!
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SNemblematics

Designer High Heels by Sara Navarro

Designer high heels differ from regular high heels in much more than price. The ones that are truly exceptional closely mirror the creative identity of their creator. This is definitely the case with the luxury designer shoes and accessories brand of Sara Navarro. The designer’s independent spirit, romantic sensibility, and deeply-rooted expert knowledge are only matched by her zest for life.

Designer High Heels

Sara Navarro attending the Telva Magazine Fashion Awards in 2008. Source: www.zimbio.com

Her collection of designer high heels and bags is called “Haute Chaussure pour Sybarites“. This is French for “High Shoe Couture for Sybarites“. Sybarites, if you are wondering, are people who are very fond of sensuous luxury.

Sara Navarro seduces with her signature cherry color, gorgeous leather, and a lot of love for her craft. The designs are inspired by iconic film beauties like Ava Gardner, Brigitte Bardot, Audrey Hepburn, and modern style mavens like Cate Blanchett and Emma Stone.

Designer High Heels

Ava” patent leather platform stiletto pump from the “Emblematics” line by Sara Navarro. Heel height: 4.7″, 1.2” external platform.

Ava Gardner is Spain‘s favorite Hollywood legend. (Here is the story why.)

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Gold-colored leather insole with scalloped trim: another hallmark of the Sara Navarro brand. The external platform is covered in finely textured suede.

It’s not all for show, however. Sara Navarro uses her shoe making mastery and artistic taste to create a special connection between the shoes and the women who wear them. Her swanky heels are made from first-rate materials and are a dream to touch. They also have another sensuous quality: scent.

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Sara Navarro with one of her scented pumps. The scent is injected into the sole with the help of special technology.

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Bardot” peep-toe suede pump from the Sara NavarroEmblematics” collection.

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Bardot” suede pump with a cherry-scented sole by Sara Navarro. It features a sturdy 4.7″ heel and an 1.2” external platform.

Soft, pleasant, and lasting, the cherry scent is used for “Emblematics“, “Evening“, and “Season” collections. Delicate and fresh orange blossom is reserved for the bridal line.

Designer High Heels

Blanchet” jeweled reptile-print sandal from the “Evening” collection by Sara Navarro. Heel height 4.7″, 1.2″ external platform.

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Emma” reptile-print sandal in rosé Champagne with gold tone Swarovsky crystal cascade detailing. Heel height 4.3”, 0.8″ external platform. Designer: Sara Navarro.

These stiletto sandals look like something out of the “One Thousand and One Nights“. I am particularly smitten with the “Emma” sandal. When at rest, the gold tone crystal-studded streamers fall straight down like an exquisite veil. Only imagine the brilliant sparkles whirring  around the ankle when the sandal is in motion!

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Emma” sandal by Sara Navarro in close-up. The striking crystal adornment is designed to invoke the image of champagne bubbles.

There are no two ways about it – to have on a pair of  Sara Navarro designer high heels would really be something. They are extremely queenly. By the way, His Majesty the King‘s approval is guaranteed:)

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Sara Navarro and King Felipe VI of Spain.

And to top it all off, one last creation that takes the prize:

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The wide, Swarovsky crystal encrusted ankle strap resembles an imperial crown. Not surprisingly, “Catherine” is the most expensive item of the evening line.

This glorious creation by Sara Navarro is named “Catherine“. Very to the point, as it makes me think of Catherine the Great of Russia, an empress famous for her extraordinary collection of art, gems and other luxury items. I also believe that I’ve got the perfect dress for the “Catherine” sandals (some slight alterations may be required:)

Designer High Heels

Catherine the Great’s coronation dress. Image source: fashiony.ru.

While this dress is not for sale, you can purchase Sara Navarro‘s designer high heels and accessories at the brand’s web shop.

The designer atelier is located at 83 c/ Goya, unit 6º (on the left) in Madrid‘s posh Salamanca district (see Salamanca shopping guide here). The price tag is high, but on par with other luxury designers. Noblesse oblige.

 

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Deux Souliers Shoes: Toothy Soles

Deux Souliers Shoes Spring-Summer 2016 collection stands out because of its serrated or “toothy” soles. These soles, designed in-house, are made from Microporous EVA, a very good anti-slip material.  The forward-thinking Barcelona-based brand prides itself on using the best and the latest in footwear technology in its collections. It fits in well with the Deux Souliers‘ “beauty in function” philosophy. What is usually perceived as a purely functional feature often becomes the focal point of the whole shoe.

Deux Souliers Shoes

Picnic Teeth” sling back textured leather flat by Deux Souliers SS16.

This sporty sandal is called “Picnic Teeth“. The sharp-looking industrial style sole is separated from the leather upper by a contrasting strip of snow-white rubber.

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The “teeth” are also visible from the top, accentuated by the softly rounded shape of the toe.

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Flat gel-padded sandal with serrated rubber sole. Deux Souliers SS16.

 

The gently “rolling” teeth of the outer sole really pep up this otherwise ascetic-looking sandal.

 

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Deux Souliers X-Light Heel leather platform sandal with bottle green leather upper. Heel height: 2.8”, 1.2” platform.

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The thick platform and heel are made from ultra-light rubber. The wide-set “teeth” make the sandal visually lighter as well.

 

Deux Souliers

A simple black wedge sandal by Deux Souliers SS16. 2.8” cm high ultra-light wooden sole, with 1.8”’ platform.

To each shoe, its own set of “teeth”. Less is more: the contrasting white staples and the serrated wedge are all the embellishments this sandal needs.

 

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Nude sandal with a lightly-serrated flat rubber sole. By Deux Souliers SS16.

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If I had to choose, I would definitely go for the wedge sandals. I also find the “Picnic Teeth” sandal really cool.

Designs featured in this post will be sold at Deux Soulierspop-up shop at La Roca Village, a collection of designer outlet stores outside Barcelona. The pop-up shop is part of the “Barcelona Designers Collective” shopping event showcasing emerging designers. Deux Souliers shoes will be on display next to Timberland from June 22nd to August 22nd.

In short, I am really itching to get my feet into a pair of Deux Souliers. I have a feeling that wearing them would be more than a foray into a different style. Deux Souliers shoes would be a foray into a whole new outlook on fashion. I can’t wait!

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Santo-Domingo, Dominican Republic, a good few years ago
Ann Mailsi – the blogger
Me
Calgary Stampede, Alberta
Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario
On the Trans-Canada highway
Southampton, Ontario
Where i’m based
A letter from Fuente Vaqueros, Andalucia
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Tia Margarita
A letter from Alberto
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Spanish theme always
Tattoo obsessed policeman! Yo-hoo!
sasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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