Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Top 5 Stunning French Wedding Dress Designers

On my first visit to Paris, I found the women fascinating.  Cliche?  Probably.  But it's true – French women generally have an understated, effortless style about them that is just so right.  And trying to emulate it is difficult, so I instead embraced the tourist look; walking shoes, sun hat and camera slung about my neck.  Classy, me.

The same cool, clean elegance in a French woman's every day wardrobe can be found in their top wedding dress designers.  Often boho, always modern, usually understated.  Structure seems to be thrown out of the window, leaving me wondering if their dresses would look any good on anybody larger than slim.  After all, that's what structure and corsets are for – pulling all your bits and pieces into the right places.   I've been sifting through French designers and picking out my top 10 favourites.  So in no particular order, here they are:

1. Cymbeline

A list of French designers wouldn't be complete without France's most successful design house, Cymbeline.  You can buy Cymbeline all over the world, and its success is likely down to doing classic yet beautifully designed gowns that incorporate both modern styles with more traditional.

2. Stephanie Wolff

Ah, Stephanie Wolff.  Soft, pretty, feminine gowns that manage to be understated yet glorious in one fell swoop.

3. Missy Dress

If you're looking for a killer combination of sexy yet cool, Missy Dress may well be the designer you're after.  Lots of laser cut lace, separates, and loose flowing garments that ooze rock chick charm.

4. Delphine Manivet

Delphine Manivet encapsulates everything about great French wedding gown designers.  Endlessly tasteful, beautifully made, with an element of rock chick that screams coolness (in a good way).

5. Fabienne Alagama

Ah, love at first sight.  Fabienne Alagama mixes clean, immaculate design with a touch of French edge, and 'gasp', some structure! Wonders will never cease.  Her gowns remind me just a little of Jesus Peiro.

Friday, July 28, 2017

True Gault Launches Custom High Heel Creation App

The high tech shoe cobbler is in. Shoes are arguably one of the most difficult items to buy online. Finding the right style and fit can have people exchanging shoes back and forth for a while, which can be an annoyance.

New York-based startup company True Gault is pushing the boundaries for high heel shoe shopping with its latest launch. Founded by former Kodak and IBM employee Sandra Gault, the goal of the Google Accelerator program company is to help solve the online shoe shopping conundrum.

Through its iOS app for iPhone, True Gault's customers will be able to scan their feet and have a high heel built specifically for their foot shapes. Its patented 3-D measuring technology helps to capture all of the biomechanics of a foot — along with a few actual measurements — for these tailor-made shoe designs delivered from Spain.

In conjunction with its overall mission, True Gault shared, "Women can buy shoes online, but size doesn't guarantee fit — so we broke the mold of the shoe industry to redefine the relationship between women and their heels."

For $250 to $350 per pair, True Gault guarantees its high heels will fit and, if they do not, the company will strive to work the shoes into perfection. With more than 20 styles and 40 leather options, as well as multiple colors and heel heights, the customization for True Gault's high heels seems endless.

True Gault's new company advisor, creative director of monthly style magazine Marie Claire Nina Garcia, commented on how technology like True Gault is helping move the ball for the fashion industry.

"Today, everyone's lifestyle is infused with tech from the way you order groceries to how we get around town," said Garcia. "How we express ourselves through fashion should be no different. Shoe lovers no longer need to choose comfort or style, and they don't even need to choose from options on the market — aesthetic customization is very exciting."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I Tried Wearing Wonder Woman Heels For A Day, But I Am Only Human

Wonder Woman truly is a goddess among mortals. You know how I know that? Because I literally tried walking in her shoes for an entire day.

When the first stills for Wonder Woman came out back in March 2016, I was struck by a seemingly insignificant detail: Why were all these Amazonian warriors wearing heels?

I wasn't the only one to notice this — soon enough, the internet started to weigh in. Hadn't we been through this with Jurassic World? Isn't it tough enough for women to break into the superhero space, without having them overcome debilitating foot pain? (This, it turns out, wasn't the only problem with the Wonder Woman costume. Gal Gadot told Jimmy Kimmel that initially the outfit was so tight, she could barely breathe.

At the time, director Patti Jenkins — who, by the way holds the distinction of being the first woman to direct a major superhero blockbuster film — weighed in, explaining that the heels represented her "wish fulfillment."

"I, as a woman, want Wonder Woman to be hot as hell, fight badass, and look great at the same time — the same way men want Superman to have huge pecs and an impractically big body, she told Entertainment Weekly. "That makes them feel like the hero they want to be. And my hero, in my head, has really long legs."

That's valid — I sometimes find heels empowering. And while I would assume sneakers would be more appropriate footwear for defending civilization, I have never attempted to fight crime in flats either, so who am I to judge?

A short time later, Gal Gadot made her first appearance as Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman. I paid close attention to her shoes, perhaps the only thing worth watching in that dumpster fire of a film. Rather than something as ridiculous as stilettos, Gadot was clad in a more sensible wedge heel, her ankles and calves supported by gladiator-like armor.

With every Wonder Woman trailer that followed, the question of how a woman would go about crouching and kneeling and sword-fighting in 4-inch heels nagged at me. So, I decided — why don't I try wearing her shoes for a day?

Full disclosure: Wonder Woman cosplay is expensive. Full costumes can run up to $1,500 on Etsy. Instead, I turned toward my own closet, to a pair of J-Crew wedges I had bought years ago when I decided I wanted to be a person who wore 4-inch wedges to work in New York City. (I am not that person.) I very unscientifically deduced that they looked roughly the same height as the shoes Wonder Woman sports in the new, updated version of her character. Lynda Carter also wore heels in the TV series that ran from 1975 - 1979, but hers were thinner, curved heels, rather than wedges.

I set forth from my apartment on the Tuesday morning after Memorial Day, well-rested from a three-day weekend. It's a 10-minute walk to my office, a fact I usually brag about and relish. That morning, not so much. The commute was okay, but it wasn't the easy breezy walk I was used to. I had to pay attention where I walked — New York sidewalks are notoriously uneven, not a friend to those of us perched on non-flexible stilts.

Things got easier once I got to the office, but mostly because I was sitting down most of the time.

The ultimate goal of this day was to have me run in heels, a la Wonder Woman crossing the No Man's Land between German and British forces in World War I. But as the day went on, I got more and more nervous. Sure, walking to and from the kitchen was a breeze, and at times, I found myself thinking that this wearing heels thing wasn't so bad after all. But I also started to get Final Destination-style premonitions, visions of myself lying on the pavement with a broken ankle.

So, yes, I chickened out of that part. But I did record a glimpse of what it roughly would have looked like. This is me run-shuffling down the Refinery29 hallway. (I also attempted to crouch. There is no video evidence of this.

Just like Wonder Woman, amirite?

In all seriousness, this experiment did prove something to me: I am only human. As is Gal Gadot, who reportedly wore sneakers underneath her gold armored spats while shooting, later CGI'd into the infamous wedges, and also made waves at the film's premiere by wearing flat sandals under gown, declaring: "They're more comfortable." Duh. When I got home, my feet were swollen, my toes red from the pressure of being pushed forward — not a good look, nor is it practical for physical exertion.