Have a Fabulously Frightening Halloween!

Frightening and fashionable do not have to be mutually exclusive, and in fact, a touch of menace can go a long way in making a piece that much more coveted.  Take for example these ghoulishly gorgeous Alexander McQueen’s skull pumps ($1,245 at SaksFifthAvenue.com). Whatever your Halloween plans are, have a great time and let me know in the comments below what you wear!

If you’re in the mood for absurd, creepy and downright disturbing footwear creations, check out If Shoes Could Kill.

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Talking Beauty and Shoes with Nigel Barker

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Nigel Barker, renowned fashion photographer and judge of America’s Next Top Model.  His new book, Nigel Barker’s Beauty Equation, offers beauty and fashion tips for every woman so she can be her best and most beautiful, from the inside out. But the book is much more than just an informative read – it prompts readers to get interactive online at www.beautyequation.com and share their photos and feelings!  So what does this post have to do with shoes?  Read on to find out (Nigel has a thing for shoes!), and to learn a bit more about the book.

Can you tell us about Beauty Equation…how do you define beauty?

The purpose of the book was to discuss beauty from an inner beauty attribute standpoint.  All too often these days, when the conversation comes up, it’s often to do with skin-deep issues, and cosmetic surgery, do you have perfect skin, are you a certain size, height, build.  As someone who works in the business of fashion and beauty, I think we have to distinguish between the modeling business and being truly beautiful.  To capture a photograph that is iconic and timeless has nothing to do with if you’re a model or not.  It has to do with the life you’re leading and your spontaneity, charisma and authenticity.  Those are the things that, as a photographer, if you can capture them, bring your picture to life.  When you utilize them as a person, you have the potential to be the beautiful people we can all be.”

One of the exciting things about the book is we’ve created at the end of each chapter a series of photo challenges, video challenges and written challenges and through a form of art therapy we call Photo Therapy, we ask the readers to examine themselves by taking photos of themselves embodying the attributes in these chapters, and uploading the photos to our website beautyequation.com where they can share their portfolios or keep them private.  If they share them, then they can really start this conversation about beauty with the whole community.

How does beauty come through for you when you’re taking a photo/on film?

Your eyes are the windows to your soul. It doesn’t matter what your facade looks like if you’re not shining through your eyes, emoting, and lack passion or that spark.  In a good photograph, you look at it, you believe it, you trust it, you’re drawn in by it.  That’s why we talk so much about personality on Top Model.

What do you think about the re-emergence of more curvaceous, “real” women walking the runways and being featured in fashion editorials?  Is this something that will stick?

I think things are changing, however the fashion business is trend-driven and things are going to come in and out of style, and we’ve had curvy models in the past.  But I think advertising as a whole is taking a different look on the issue, and we don’t have so much curvy girls, but real women in general, whether they’re curvy, or flat chested, or boyish-shaped or older or younger, and I think that’s a healthy outlook.  It’s about using common sense and promoting a healthy attitude and lifestyle instead of a body-mass index.


How important are high heels to a woman’s appearance, and tell me about this rumor I’ve heard that you have a shoe fetish…?

I am fascinated by shoes, in fact, I buy all my wife’s heels. Even this morning she told me about a pair of heels she wanted to buy and I said, ‘Wait a second, let me check this out’, because I have a thing about feet and shoes in general.  In fact, people have told me that I have a foot fetish.  I also have a heel fetish.  I love the construction of women’s shoes, it’s very smart engineering and beautifully done, and I like anything that is well-styled.  A good heel is something that’s hard to come by, and when it’s done well…I’ve spent a small fortune in Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo in the past!

Christian Louboutin Hyper Prive Peep-Toe Pumps, $865 at SaksFifthAvenue.com

Does that mean Christian Louboutin your favorite designer, er, your wife’s favorite shoe designer?

Yes, I would definitely say he would be my favorite designer, for sure.

What tips can you give our readers for walking gracefully in high heels? And looking great in a photograph in general?

I have been fairly shocked by how badly some people walk in heels!  I’m not a cross-dresser but I have tried to walk in [heels] and I actually did a pretty good job! (laughing) It’s one of those things, you’ve gotta kind of commit to it, work through the pain.  Realize this is what you’re signing up for.  When you stand on your toes, it immediately gives you extra height, and what happens to is it makes all of your muscles tense and tighten look tauter, and your physicality is accentuated.  And it works fantastically in pictures, and in fact, sometimes when I’m photographing a model above the neck, I’ll ask them to put heels on because it changes the look in thier face.

That makes total sense, because when I put on a pair of heels, I instantly feel more confident.  And I bet my readers would say the same!  Lastly, can you tell us a little bit about what charities you’re passionate about, and what other projects you have in the works?

I shot Runway Relief last month, which was an ad campaign for Nine West where the proceeds being raised went to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.  It’s a lot of fun and poignant when various elements of the fashion industry can collide and do something which is more about being a role model than a fashion model.  And as a personal note, I just signed up as the first male ambassador for the United Nation Foundation’s new charity Girl Up, just launched at the beginning of October.  I’m also working on a documentary film for the Humane Society of the United States and the Shark-Free Marina Initiative, an initiative to stop shark finning.

We’re already working on our next book, called Blossoming Beauties (click for a sneak peek!), a compilation of pregnant nude photographs that I’ve taken over the past two years.  Over 60 women of all different walks of life are featured, all in black and white, and it’s a piece to really celebrate pregnancy in all its glory, and life in general.  I have two kids of my own, and my wife appears in the book pregnant with both children. The book should be released by September of next year.

Thanks so much, Nigel!

More ways to keep up with Nigel Barker:

Website: NigelBarker.tv

Twitter: @beautyequation

Facebook Page

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Q&A With Up-And-Coming Shoe Designer Ryan Haber

“I want women to feel powerful in my shoes, feel sexy, feel unstoppable.”

Finally, a footwear designer who understands the love affair women have with their shoes!  I first discovered Ryan Haber on Twitter (@RyanHaber), where his tagline is “You can tell a lot about a woman by the shoes on her feet.”  Ryan has worked for both Steve Madden and BCBGMAXAZRIA, and now he’s taking on the industry with his debut women’s footwear collection, which will be available for purchase at ryanhabercollection.com this December.  We’ll all have to wait just a little bit to get our hands on the shoes, but stay tuned because this is an American designer to watch.  Keep reading for my exclusive Q&A with Ryan, and a peek at one of the shoes! (scroll down)


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Three Online Shoe Sample Sales to Shop Today

GENTLE SOULS, starts at 12PM at www.ideeli.com:

Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole uses revolutionary patented technology for comfort so stylish, you won’t even miss your stilettos.  Each footbed is embedded with flaxseed pillows, providing cushioned support while molding to the shape of your foot-like “memory pillows.” Superior shock absorption comes courtesy of PORON® performance urethane memory foam and a layer of granulated cork, while four-way stretch microfiber positioned at the ball of the foot wicks moisture away, keeping it cool and comfortable. If it all sounds a little too earthy, fear not: from strappy flats to chic pumps, your feet will look as happy as they feel.

SUEDE ACCESSORIES, starts at 12PM at www.gilt.com:

Soft and plush, these suede shoes and bags are the ultimate luxe accessories for fall. Footwear ranges from classic flat and heeled boots to more daring styles, like sexy cutout ankle boots and colorful flats adorned with leather accents, metal grommets, or crystal designs. Complete the look with satchels and hobos that mix suede with equally supple materials, from crocodile-embossed to pebbled leather.

SOREL, starts at 11AM at www.ruelala.com:

See my previous reviews of stylish-and-sturdy Sorel boots here, and pick your own up at this sale today!

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Fearless Friday: $10,000 Stuart Weitzman Holiday Boots

I was reading The Shoe Dish yesterday and first learned of these silver Stuart Weitzman Holiday 2010 thigh high boots.  If I ever called a boot Fearless before, FORGET IT!  This boot takes the 22,000 Swarovski crystal-encrusted cake.  The boots are available for special order NOW at Stuart Weitzman Madison Ave.  Call 212-750-2555 to order your pair today…or slip this phone number as a major hint under the pillow of your Sugar-Santa.

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Organize Your Shoes The Tszuji Way!

Perhaps it’s a bit ridiculous for me to say that a few shoe shelves and boxes have changed my life…but they have!  About a week ago, a company named Tszuji offered me the chance to review a few of its shoe storage products, and you can see the results above.  Read my full review and see more photos at my new blog SpruceMyLivingSpace.com.  It’s necessary for shoe lovers to be well-organized, and the products from Tszuji are sturdy, easy to assemble and great investments to make!

Order your own shoe organizers at www.Tszuji.com

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Holiday Must-Have: Miz Mooz Gayle, Two Boots In One

Look no further than the Miz Mooz Gayle for a wear-everywhere dress boot, a fabulous match for any holiday get-together!  When the kind folks at Miz Mooz contacted me asking if I would like to review a pair of shoes from their fall collection, I was ecstatic!  I have admired their styles for a long time but never bought a pair for myself.  Miz Mooz produces funky and unique designs without sacrificing comfort, and each pair has a vintage look because they are hand-crafted using the highest quality, hand-worked leather.  After checking out the collection, the choice was obvious – I needed to try the Gayle boot in black.  It is on-trend for the season, and versatile because it is really two shoes in one.  Genius, right?!

Gayle can be worn as a knee-high or folded down as a cuff mid-calf boot.  I’m 5’6″ and I find the boots actually hit slightly over the knee on me…I wonder if these boots were made for someone with longer legs? Either way, I love how they’re slightly scrunchy so I can easily tuck jeans in them.

The leather is buttery-smooth, they’re easy to put on thanks to the half-zip, and faux fur lining keeps my feet toasty when it’s cold outside.  Seriously, this will be one of my favorite day-to-night dress boots for the season!

The Gayle boot is also available in purple and grey.  Shop Now: Miz Mooz Gayle Black, $259.95 at InfinityShoes.com

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TOMS Water Project Shoe is Back!

This is the second time TOMS and charity: water have teamed up to bring clean water and shoes to those in need in Ethiopia.  Earlier this year, they funded the building of a well in Sekura, Ethiopia because shoes and clean water are critical resources for the development of children.  Once completed, the well will serve a village of 540 people!

Now you can help them build three new wells in Ethiopia – $5 from the sale of every pair of shoes goes towards wells in developing nations.  And as always, for every pair of TOMS shoes you purchase, the company will give a pair to a child in need.  Featuring a simple map of Africa on a new midnight blue canvas, the charity: water Earthwise Women’s Map Shoe retails for $58.00.  It is vegan friendly, made of recycled and sustainable materials, and includes features that aid with comfort.

Get yours today and fashionably spread awareness of these two critical causes at www.TomsShoes.com

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Fearless Friday: Brian Atwood ‘Harrison’ Chain Leather Pumps

Rather unassuming from the front, this shoe has a sultry surprise in the back!  Brian Atwood dazzles again by adding a corset-like chain detail to his signature platform pump.  The ‘Harrison’ pump is nearly sold out online, but at the moment you can still buy it at saks.com or neimanmarcus.com.

Brian Atwood’s fall 2010 collection is all about the heel, which makes me love the designer even more, since a beautiful, interesting heel is what I love.  Seems I’m not alone in my adoration of Brian Atwood, and these shoes in particular – check out Slice of Chic’s 20 Reasons Why I Love Brian Atwood.

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