Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Business in the front, party in the back

I know all my posts are like "this took me forever to track down!" And it's true, a lot of my stuff does take me awhile. Some of it is that items sell out before they make it to sale, and others even when they do go on sale, it's still out of reach for me.

This lovely number from Kimberly Ovitz falls in the former category, but probably the latter as well even if it had gone on sale (as far as I know, it sold out in most shops before it could make it there).

Months and months of eBay stalking, and this showed up in my size. I'm so happy with it. Back detailing isn't unique in itself, but I love the way this was done, with the exposed zipped and intricate strips of fabric. The material feels delicious.

Undergarments are tricky with this dress, but thankfully it's got it's own Spanx-like qualities, via the way it hugs. I need to figure out the bra situation, though. I was thinking one of those Maidenform backless bras. Hopefully I can find one in person to try on without resorting to ordering online.

Kimberly Ovitz "Martin" Dress, shown with leg avenue fishnets and Rock and Republic "Sabra" booties

Fit is a bit small, but the nature of the dress is to be very tight, so I don't think sizing up would have worked well (this is a US 8). The straps in the back are pretty snug, that is my only qualm with this size. The length is perfect, but I am only 5'2".

After seeing how well made and awesome this dress is, I'd definitely like to find more from Kimberly Ovitz.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Situations wanted

Had a quick twirl around Nordstrom today and these shoes were the brightest stars I saw, Jeffrey Campbell "Situation". A gorgeous two-toned shoe with a pretty bow, they looked perfect with the tights I happened to be wearing.

Jeffrey Campbell "Situation" in Beige/Black

The color in-person is much closer to that of the first picture, a really warm, buttery caramel. A very nice lady-like heel, perfect for year-round wear. They come in two other colorways on the Nordstrom website (pink/black and grey/white), found here.

The tights were a Marshall's find recently, by my favoritest brand Trasparenze. I love that they give a kind of "leggings" look but are closed-toe nylons. They are great for the transition weather in which i kind of want the look of bare feet, but my feet are still pretty cold!

Trasparenze Riki in Cosmetic

Fit on the shoes is true-to-size. I tried on the 6.5 out of laziness, and would have needed a 7. They are lower-heeled so the comfort was higher than normal for heels, but being patent, I think these would need "broken in" a bit to make them more comfortable.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ballet and... bowling

That J. Crew dress I ordered arrived. It's a bit on the uh, small side. I bought it specifically because I wanted a green dress to match my green shoes, but I ended up swapping out the matchy-matchy for leopard after seeing a beautiful picture on the Net-A-Porter site showing leopard shoes with a green dress.

Antonio Berardi Crepe Dress with Christian Louboutin Daffodil Pumps, photo from NAP

I decided to wear it to see the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's "A Gershwin Fantasy". The performance by the ballet company was amazing (though I didn't appreciate the video or the band beforehand -- I would have preferred a longer dance portion of the night).

The shoes I paired it with were another eBay find from last year. I love a good leopard shoe, and the bow detail on these make them extra special. They are named Miss Bunny, after the Playboy bunnies, and are from 2008 (They also came in black/gold patent).

Afterwords, friends were getting together for karaoke bowling. We stopped by, but didn't get a chance to bowl because we arrived much later than everyone else and there wasn't a free lane. I didn't let this stop me from getting a "bowling" picture though!

J. Crew Leighton dress in Pine with Christian Louboutin Miss Bunny in Leopard and Black Patent

Even though the dress was a bit small (I ordered the 10 Petite, and I think a 10 regular would have been better), and it was "free" with a gift card, I still was determined to make it work because it's really gorgeous in person. It's a perfect silk/cotton mix. Just enough cotton to make it less delicate than silk, but a nice blend that it didn't wrinkle very much from wear.

The shoes are a 37.5, and are perfect with heel grips (which I neglected to put in before wearing). In general, for patent shoes I like extra room, though I could have gone true-to-size on them. The comfort is as can be expected for 4" heels.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I am late and lazy with this, but I had a wonderful Saturday night last week. I got to attend a class by an amazing presenter, and afterwards I got to wish a belated happy birthday to a friend, who happens to be Jess of Consume or Consumed's husband.

I debated wearing two separate outfits, but instead opted for ease and slight "maybe not everyone's ready for avant-garde"-ness of a sheer vintage dress with a vintage 50s bathing suit as my "slip" underneath. I also wanted to break out a favorite pair of shoes I don't wear nearly often enough, a pair of sequined heels that jazz up any outfit!

The look can be seen on Jess' blog post, where both of our party outfits are showcased.

I ended up wearing the shoes again last night, and figured I'd share my other outfit pairing here. This top, like many things in my closet, took me awhile to track down (almost 4 years). The shoes took me less time to track down, about a year. I actually bought them on-sale from Neiman's, but returned because I was appalled at the sale price for what I considered damaged heels (the heel is kind of warbled). When they showed up on eBay for about half of the sale price I paid, and the damage pictured and described -- I knew it had to be the same pair and decided I needed them in my life.

The pants were a great find at Gabriel Brothers, home of Urban Outfitters and Anthropology castoffs. They were only ten dollars and I have more than got my money's worth of them for how frequently I wear them.

Christian Louboutin Decollete Paillette 2008-9ish

Shoes worn with: Nanette Lepore Torreador top, Silence and Noise pleather pants

The shoes aren't the comfiest. I think most people either love or hate decolletes, and I'm neither here nor there. I think with foot petals they would feel a lot better, but for now I limit them to only a few hours at a time (I ended up swapping for flats after a few hours last night). These shoes run pretty small as well, these are a 37.5, and I could have easily taken a 38 as well.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Up-and-coming Designer: Havva Mustafa

Perhaps even more exciting than the finished product, is the process and thought behind the shoes themselves. I had the pleasure recently of conversing recently with shoe designer Havva Mustafa, and it's clear this isn't just a job -- it's a passion.

We talked about our mutual love of shoes, and she was kind enough to grant me an interview, and provide modeling pictures of the shoes -- because it's hard to gauge what a shoe really looks like from a picture of it by itself. For me, the biggest selling point is seeing how it looks on the foot, because a lot of times just like a dress on a hanger that looks "nice", when put on there is a total transformation.

So, without further ado, a Q&A with Ms. Mustafa.

Erin: I love the designs! What is your favorite pair?
Havva: I’m in love with the Loretta boot. The spiral staircase, Buhrich house, 1960, designed by architect Hugh Buhrich, demonstrates the curve and shape that inspired Loretta, the swirling shoe boot with elements of the patterns from the 60s. It just compliments any outfit and I change the colour of the lace at the back to suit my outfit.

Loretta Bootie

E: What is most important to you when coming up with a design?
H: It's the look and the fit, the worst is having shoes that are so painful and uncomfortable, that you end up never wearing them! Why have beautiful shoes and not be able to put them to good use. Its great to have fun and go crazy and design for show pieces

E: Do you have a favorite material to work with?
H: It has to be a beautiful quality nappa there’s so much you can do with it and work it into the most structured silhouettes. For example the scroll on Gloria, I adore these shoes the cut is unique and the scroll on the side just give it that little extra special something.

Gloria Peep-toe

E: What is the process like after you come up with a design?
H: Once i have come up with an idea i like to do a stylized drawing to help me visualize what the final creation will be like and then from there I cut some of the patterns myself- as I know how and where each line of the shoe will be when its on the foot- this is what gives a great fitting shoe. Then with my team as I’m the most indecisive person we choose leather and materials combinations. When complete range has been planned out its to the factories to get the samples made.

E: I would love to see your beautiful shoes stocked in the US. Any upcoming plans?
H: As we are currently based in the London area, we are hoping to expand in to the US. For Autumn/Winter we have a great collection of rain boots with fabulous uppers and a traditional Made in England belts and small leather accessories. But some of our stockists do ship overseas- so keep an eye out for that!

E: It’s so cool that you followed your father’s footsteps in going into shoe making. Did he have any specific advice for you when it came time to branch out into design?
H: My father always says never walk around with your eyes closed- have them wide open to take in all of your surroundings, there is something new out there each and every single day. And “it’s not always what you like”- which is so true, every woman has their own taste, their own style and the way they wear items makes it their own.

Jean in Tan Croc

E: Any additional thoughts?
H: Do what you love to do but in gorgeous shoes! And its great to hear lovely comments from fellow shoe lovers! So thank you. x


More of Havva Mustafa's shoes can be seen on her website, and the Stockists can be found here.