Blog

Shoes and Chocolate

Shoes and Chocolate For a Wintery Day

Shoes and chocolate are the best treats a woman can get on Valentine’s Day. I used to underestimate chocolate, but I never underestimated the power of shoes. Lately, I’ve been scouring YOOX, my affiliate partner and THE greatest online destination for Spanish shoes outside Spain, for good deals on yummy Spanish shoes. Here is what I came up with:

shoes and chocolate

Chelsea style ankle boot by Si by Sinela. $98 on YOOX. For further details and to buy click on the image.

I’ve had my eye on these cute deep-red ankle boots for a while. Si by Sinela makes great shoes, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind that their designs tend to be on the narrow side. The thick serrated sole and smooth, sturdy leather will get you through any winter slush with flying colors. In my experience, Spanish leather is very good at withstanding salt and other aggressive substances cities use to melt snow and ice on their sidewalks. All you have to do is wipe the boots with a clean wet cloth when you get home. The price of these boots is amazing, but only a few sizes are left. (To find out if yours is still available, click on the image).

shoes and chocolate

Deep burgundy Chelsea style ankle boot with reptile effect side gores by Pons Quintana. $56 at YOOX. For further details, click on the image.

Continuing with the red Valentine’s Day theme, here is a beautiful pair of medium heel Chelseas by Pons Quintana. These boots have a finer leather texture than the Si by Sinela booties above. Glossy reptile effect leather inserts hide the elastic component, making the boots look very elegant. The boots also have a zipper on the inner side. The price is out of this world good.

 

spanish treats

Red suede low-heel ballerina-pump by Pretty Ballerinas. $103 on YOOX. For more details, click on the picture.

This is classic Pretty Ballerinas, with luscious fiery red suede and grosgrain ribbon. The thin gold-colored metallic insert at the base of the heel makes the shoes look even more festive. The inner rim is not elasticized, which I actually like. The pressure from the elastics can get a bit tiring after a while. At least in my case, since my feet are on the wide side. Like Si by Sinela, Pretty Ballerinas are ideal for a normal to narrow foot.

shoes and chocolate

Pink gold high-heel sandals in reptile effect leather by Magrit. Heel height 3.9″. $265 on YOOX. For more info, click on the image.

Magrit is a luxury brand with a reputation for dressing the cream of Spanish society. Hence the price. However, comparatively speaking, it is not high for shoes of this quality. The brand loves using textures, embellishments, and any other means to create the “wow” effect. Magrit shoes are made to dazzle and dazzle they do. I would love to try them on one day: I hear that they are also highly wearable.

Finally, let’s not forget the chocolate!  I wouldn’t presume to recommend one brand over the other, but we all know that shoes and chocolate are only as good as the people who make them. Happy Valentine’s Day!

shoes and chocolate

Photo courtesy of Godiva.

Paloma Barcelo Raffia Ballerina Cork Heel2

Paloma Barceló Summer Raffia Shoes

Summer raffia shoes are one of those simple delights that are very close to my heart. There is so much beauty in something so simple like raffia. Of course, it takes great skill and specific technology to make raffia look like that. Paloma Barceló, one of this blog’s most admired brands, is in full possession of both. The Las Bailarinas brand did something similar, but it was a much smaller company and it didn’t stay in business, unfortunately. But their little raffia bluchers were adorable.

Here is something to look forward to in these chilly winter months – a raffia ballerina from Paloma Barceló‘s Spring-Summer 2017 collection.

summer rafia shoes

Paloma Barceló Lacy Raffia Ballerina with a low cork heel. Spring-Summer 2017 collection.

Paloma Barcelo Raffia Ballerina Cork Heel3

Lacy summer raffia shoes, perfectly paired with a gorgeous powder blue summer suit. Natural look par excellence courtesy of Paloma Barceló.

These ballerinas are not yet available on the Paloma Barceló website, but sandals of a similar type are:

summer raffia shoes

Cely Natural viscose rope open-toe sandal with medium cork heel. $307 on the Paloma Barceló website.

summer raffia shoes

Cely natural rope sandal. Paloma Barceló SS17.

summer raffia shoes

Paloma Barceló SS17.

The “Cely” sandal is made out of viscose rope, not raffia, but it has a very similar look. The Paloma Barceló Spring-Summer 2017 collection is delightful in and of itself and it warrants a separate post. For now, I leave you with the “Cely” sandal and the beautiful summer raffia shoes – a little breath of the Mediterranean.

Paco Herrero Blue Mermaid Pump

Mermaid Heels and Other Cool Fantasies

Mermaid Heels

Mermaid heels – that’s what I call shoes that have a distinctly scaly leather texture. They happen to be signature Paco Herrero, a classic Spanish dressy women’s shoe brand from Elda. Not too long ago I featured a “mermaid” ankle boot by them. As I often say on this blog, I’m a huge admirer of textured leather shoes. That said, I don’t like scaliness – not in shoes, not in clothes, not generally. Reminds me too much of a fish or a snake. Nothing wrong with those creatures, but we have different habitats (usually). However, mermaid heels by Paco Herrero are one big exception. They tickle my senses and bring up good associations. Like the story of the little mermaid who wanted to marry a prince. These shoes are welcome in my natural habitat any day of the week.

"Mermaid" pump by Paco Herrero

Mermaid” pump by Paco Herrero. Currently on sale for 49 Euros on the Paco Herrero website.

Paco Herrero has really great sales: these shoes initially cost double. The website delivers worldwide, but I’m not very happy with the shipping fees for North America at the moment. It does not necessarily have to be like this – many Spanish companies ship for less and I wish folks at Paco Herrero did something about this. I would love to own a pair or more of their shoes but just can’t bring myself to buy them with these shipping prices. Of course, if you are in Europe, you are in luck. Shipping will be next to nothing, so your mermaid heels would end up being a great steal.

Paco Herrero is a well-established brand based at the very heart of Spain’s luxury shoe production. Their designers have a lot of tricks up their sleeves and the mermaid heels are a perfect example. The leather texture imitates scales oh so well, and yet, it doesn’t possess that unnervingly zoological look. The “scales”, of course, are wonderful at catching the light, which makes the shoes look slightly iridescent.

mermaid heels

The “Mermaid” pump in gold. Made in Spain by Paco Herrero. 49 Euros on the Paco Herrero website.

Cool Tones

mermaid heels

Wine tone suede tall boot by Paco Herrero. On sale for 75 Euros ($80!!!) on the Paco Herrero website.

mermaid heels

Low-heel Paco Herrero Suede Tall Boot in Wine. 75 Euros ($80) on the Paco Herrero website.

There is another thing that I noticed about Paco Herrero: the propensity to use cool tones. There are, of course, exceptions, but cool tones seem to dominate. Case in point: this flat tall boot in beautiful light burgundy. It had me at hello, as they say. The color is quite extraordinary. Can’t you just see how any old and tired outfit would be brought to life with these? This is one of those instances where shoes (or boots) set the tone for the whole look. The boots are simply exquisite, and, not to mention, comfortable. I would buy them without any hesitation if it wasn’t for the shipping fees.

mermaid heels

Musqueteer style over-the-knee high-heel boot by Paco Herrero. 99 Euros on the Paco Herrero website.

This musqueteer boot is very sexy, almost too sexy, actually. Not least because the leather is so soft and glossy. The boot does have a good profile. Considering the quality, the price is amazing.

mermaid heels

High-heel Mary Jane by Paco Herrero featuring a studded back seam and a non-slip sole. Currently on sale for 71 Euros on the Paco Herrero website.

This sturdy Mary-Jane has a very attractive profile, further enhanced by the cool black sheen of the large-grain leather. A great urban warrior shoe!

mermaid heels

The studs in the back, the stable, slightly tapered heel, and the robust ankle strap add a strong, edgy vibe. 71 Euros on the Paco Herrero website.

What’s To Come: Summer 2017

Paco Herrero Summer 2017 collection is true to form: strong, confident, imaginative, classy.

mermaid heels

Paco Herrero Suede Open Pump in red. Features long ankle straps and a high wooden heel. Summer 2017. Photo courtesy of Patricia Jorge.

This astonishingly beautiful shoe may be considered impractical by some, but it is definitely a tour de force. It also comes in navy.

mermaid heels

Bonded Straps High Heel Sandal in cool magenta by Paco Herrero SS2017. Photo courtesy of Patricia Jorge.

The Paco Herrero summer staple high-heel sandal in cool magenta. Summer 2017.

mermaid heels

Cage style black kitten heel pump with pink and red decorative detail. Paco Herrero SS 2017. Photo courtesy of Patricia Jorge.

Kitten heels are super popular (again), but this one is extra special because of the intriguing “cage” body with glossy pink and red scallop-shaped appliqués in the front and back.

mermaid heels

High-Heel Suede Sandals featuring double straps and an external platform. Paco Herrero Summer 2017. Photo courtesy Patricia Jorge.

This luxurious high-heel suede sandal is a summer party favorite. The external platform is just right for mitigating the height of the solid straight heel, without spoiling the sandal’s impeccable profile.

mermaid heels

Red Dots Sandal featuring a high patent leather cylinder heel in red. Paco Herrero SS 2017.Photo courtesy Patricia Jorge.

The connected dots design is certainly very original. I wonder how it actually feels on the foot. The profile, complete with the glossy cylinder heel, is certainly attractive.

So here is a taste of Paco Herrero – both of what is available now and what will hit the stores soon. Spanish women swear by this brand, so why not follow their lead? If you are not a mermaid heels gal, there are a lot of other great choices where these shoes came from. Let’s start making room in our closets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Genara" Bag by Malababa

Spanish High-End Bags: The Edit

High-end bags are not limited to a few very well-known names. Unless, of course, you regard high-end handbags as status symbols indicating that you “have arrived”, as Samantha from “Sex and the City” famously said. You may or may not remember, but the episode with the uber-exclusive bag actually backfired for her. Still, what do we mean when we refer to a bag as “high-end“?

What’s the Deal with High-End Bags?

What qualifies a handbag as “high-end“? To me, it represents the degree of creativity that was put into the design, both in terms of style and function, plus excellent materials and equally excellent craftsmanship. Beauty and quality, in other words. The price is also part of the equation – but here the range is much wider than many people think. You may be surprised to find out that you can become an owner of a high-end handbag without spending thousands of dollars on it.

The following is a high-end bags edit courtesy of some of my favorite Spanish leather accessories brands. I started out with quite a large number, but only seven (a lucky number) made the final cut. Of course, my choice was guided by my own taste. The selection is only a sampling of what these brands have to offer. The information for further exploring is there. As usual,  all bags are designed and made in Spain.

Totes and Shoppers

These are the most practical bags, large, with a lot of compartments. They are supposed to hang comfortably from the shoulder. You always feel a tote or a shopper on your side. It’s almost like armour. As a fashion statement, of course, they are impossible to miss.

Paloma Barceló

Paloma Barcelo' Torino Bag1

Torino” black deerskin double-handled bag by Paloma Barceló. Currently at 425 Euros at the Paloma Barceló website.

Paloma Barcelo' Torino Bag2

Paloma Barceló‘s “Torino” bag crafted in total black deerskin and equipped with a removable adjustable shoulder strap, with a handy exterior pocket. Gold-tone metal hardware. On sale at 425 Euros at the Paloma Barceló website.

This sharp-looking bag (currently 50% off on the Paloma Barceló website) is proof that Paloma Barceló did the right thing by entering the luxury handbags game. “Torino” is absolutely exquisite with its black deerskin, double handles, and great functionality. I love the oversized front flap with snap fastening. This bag has the best Spanish design has to offer: leather craftsmanship, stylish restraint, ease of use. It is expensive, of course, but much less so than some other designer bags out there.

Farrutx

Farrutx Nilda Brown Weave Leather Shopper

Nilda” brown weave leather shopper by Farrutx. 200 Euros at the Farrutx website.

Farrutx Nilda Brown Weave Leather Shopper1

Nilda” by Farrutx has three compartments including one with zipper closure in the middle. Currently at 200 Euros on the Farrutx website.

The woven leather technique signals a Mallorcan/Menorcan artisanal influence. The beautiful tone of the leather exudes Mediterranean warmth. The shiny kidskin leather is gorgeous and light. Still, the “Nilda” shopper is sturdy enough to be your everyday bag. The style is less formal, less business-like than that of the “Torino” bag above. Ultimately, whether you go for the one or for the other depends on your taste, lifestyle, and budget. The “Nilda” tote costs half that of Paloma Barceló‘s “Torino“.

Malababa

"Genara" Bag by Malababa

Genara” taupe suede shopper bag by Malababa. Also available in tan. The taupe version is currently on sale at 224 Euros on the Malababa website.

high-end bags

Genara” pressure closure shopper by Malababa with an open front pocket, and additional shoulder strap.

When fully opened, the “Genara” suede shopper from Malababa’s artisan leather workshop reminds me of a stingray. The leather craftsmanship is remarkable. Plus, the corners conveniently fold in, reducing the 52 cm (20 1/2 “) span of the “stingray” into something a bit more manageable. As artisanal products, Malababa bags are crafted individually, in relatively small numbers. The “Genara” bag in taupe was on sale at the time of the writing. The tan version is also available, at the full price of 310 Euros.

Petusco

high-end bags

Rebecca” metal laminated grained cow leather horse logo embossed shopper by Petusco. Currently at 180 Euros on the Petusco website.

high-end bags

Rebecca” shopper features removable side decorative tassel, internal zipped pocket, two open pockets and branded lining. Currently at 180 Euros on the Petusco website.

Petusco bags are known for their signature horse logo embossed leather, roomy construction, and beautiful detailing. As someone who owns several handbags by this brand (albeit from older collections), I can attest to their outstanding aesthetic appeal and quality. They are a pleasure to hold and can withstand a lot of wear and tear. I get a lot of compliments because of them. The lining is really good too: it has satin-like feel and sheen and it is imprinted with the same horse logo pattern. Consistency all throughout! As far as the price is concerned, Petusco bags are a great value. A girl can scarcely own too many bags by this brand.

Hobo and Cross Body Bags

These bags are much more relaxed in style, range in size from small to large and always have a long strap that frees up the arms. They are usually very comfy in use and great for roaming around.

Malababa

high end bags

Hermenegilda” dark-grey top-tied washed braided bag by Malababa. Made of bovine chromium-free leather, with a pressure clasp closure. 495 Euros on the Malababa website.

high end bags

The “Hermenegilda” bag features an adjustable 60-65 cm (24-26″) leather strap. 495 Euros on the Malababa website.

The “Hermenegilda” bag is probably named after some late antique princess – very romantic.  The weave pattern is quite striking (at least to me) and the leather tone is interesting. The only downside is that the color may rub off when in contact with your skin or clothes. This is definitely an inconvenience, but not a dangerous one: Malababa uses only environmentally friendly, non-toxic dyes. The price is right, considering the originality of design, the level of craftsmanship, and the quality of materials.

Castañer

high-end bags

Vega” messenger style bag by Castañer. Includes a split-leather inner bag. Currently on sale at 98 Euros on the Castañer website.

high-end bags

Vega“cross-body bag by Castañer featuring gold-colored metallic brand logo.

Castañer is one of my favorite brands and I already own a bag by them, a shopper of luxurious hunter green leather. It attracts a lot of attention everywhere I go. The “Vega” messenger-style bag has a harmonious shape, pleasantly rounded on the top. As with all  Castañer leather bags, the leather is very high grade – smooth, with a light sheen. Besides the split-leather inner bag, the little, but important luxuries include gold-colored metallic detailing on the body strap and the leather drawstrings of the inner bag. The inner bag is a great idea as a stylish and practical way to protect your valuables from wear and tear. I also love the color: a vibrant navy with a hint of purple. It is currently on sale for a steal: 98 Euros, down from 195. Castañer is known to have very good sales.

Beatriz Furest

high end bags

Lambskin leather handbag with adjustable strap length by Beatriz Furest of Barcelona. Currently at 263 Euros on the Beatriz Furest website.

high end bags

Three color messenger-style lambskin bag by Beatriz Furest of Barcelona. 263 Euros on the Beatriz Furest website.

Beatriz Furest uses the finest quality leathers for its bags: the messenger-style bag on the picture is made from lambskin, which is very soft and shiny. Good leather is not only felt – it is also seen. The color palette is gutsy: ebony black body, reddish brown strap, and mustard yellow trim. It gives the bag a unique look. Roomy and light, this bag is also very reasonably priced, at least as far as high-end bags are concerned.

Summing Up

The focus of this high-end bags edit was universality and practicality. That is why there are no clutches or other specialty bags. These handbags are designed to serve a woman all day every day if need be. Each handbag was made of well-finished quality Spanish leather by skilled Spanish artisans. Each is extremely well designed and bears a unique creative stamp of its brand.

Personally, I love all these bags, but, if I were to choose, I would probably go for the “Torino” by Paloma Barceló. Then again, I may choose the “Rebecca” by Petusco or the “Vega” by Castañer (I’m obsessed with that brand). It all depends on my mood and on the kind of money I would have to spend. However, despite differences in price, I consider each of these bags “high-end”. Being products of medium and small size leather workshops, they are not manufactured in huge batches. This means that the collections tend to go fast and that not too many people end up owning the exact same bag. All the more exclusive, all the more high-end, if you ask me.