Céline spring 2017 RTW Image by: Imaxtree
One writer's take on the oft-misunderstood shoe that is “safe but not sensible.”
Fashion watchers say that the kitten heel is ubiquitous this spring, but is it? Since the kitten heel is neither as flat as a crepe nor as high as a flagpole, much gets dumped into its medium-sized category that isn’t kitten, or, really, even feline, at all. In fact, it’s easier to say what a kitten heel isn’t than what it is.
It is certainly not a stiletto. Neither is it square, squat, sturdy or stacked, even if it’s medium height. What makes the Dior slingback with logo strap, Prada sandal, pointy Acne Studios slingback, Loewe moccasin and Céline babushka slipper kitteny is the indentation right at the top of the heel, called the “seat.” It makes the heel look like a comma. Sometimes, it’s so bent in that it looks like a cartoon shoe that has skidded to a screeching halt. And although the heel is shaped like an hourglass, it is imperatively skinny because a fat hourglass-shaped heel is for high kicks and tap dancing. “They give your leg a pretty silhouette,” says my friend Sabine. “And if you have full calves, kitten heels make them taper away and disappear.”
Christian Dior spring 2017 RTW (Imaxtree.com)
Kittens are great in-between shoes. They are safe but not sensible, dressy but not ditzy, stylish but not slavish. Which is why they were the heel of choice for Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy (and still are for Michelle Obama).
But what do we really think about the kitten heel? It isn’t a heel that inspires heated passion. By nature a compromise shoe, the kitten emerged in the 1950s as a “training” heel for younger girls. Designed for one’s first tentative steps in what was then the high-speed foot race for husbands and high heels, kittens are cute, tasteful, elegant and demure. They are the Baby Duck that comes before champagne. They are the quinceañera of footwear.
Givenchy spring 2017 RTW (Imaxtree.com)
That said, cats have their claws and so do kittens. When the heel is spiky and the toe pointy, like last fall’s white Balenciaga bootie, it can be an interesting, aggressive shoe. Diana Rigg wore a black leather bodysuit and kitten booties as she kung-fu-chopped villains in the ’60s TV show The Avengers. Sharp kitten heels, torn fishnets, bird’s-nest pompadours and gobs of black eyeliner was how punk icons Exene Cervenka, Siouxsie Sioux and PJ Harvey rolled in the 1980s and early 1990s. These were not women of moderate taste, as the kitten heel is wont to express. This shows that it’s a shoe with plenty of wiggle room for personality and, possibly, even rebellion—a shoe exactly suited to our times.
A look by Eric Schlösberg Image by: Nordstrom
The department store embraces the indie boutique feel.
If you’re already a fan of Nordstrom’s SPACE concept – an in-store boutique that stocks up-and-coming designers (like Molly Goddard, Undercover and Mira Mikati) – then you’ll like the sound of the retailer’s latest project. The Lab is a shop-in-shop dedicated to introducing people to even more emerging names in fashion. For spring, five designers were chosen: Vejas (the award-winning label run by 20-year-old Toronto wunderkind Vejas Kruszewski), experimental New York label Eckhaus Latta, Kanye-approved brand A.W.A.K.E. and alt-cool newcomers Dilara Findikoglu and Eric Schlösberg. Come fall, a handful of new names will be brought on board. Here’s to the next wave. (From $235, at Nordstrom CF Toronto Eaton Centre, Nordstrom Vancouver Pacific Centre and nordstrom.com/space)
It only took three years, but finally we're getting some intel on how actor / mere mortal George Clooney met human rights lawyer / bridal pantsuit wearer Amal Alamuddin.
Since the announcement of their impending twins (congrats again guys!) the informational floodgates on the couple have opened, which is why we're getting this gem of a "meet cute" story straight from the lips of George himself.
As told to David Letterman, the two met when Amal visited Lake Como as a friend of a friend. George "called and wrote" for months before Amal would go out with him, which you know, seems about right.
The products we're lusting after for spring 2017.
This new take on Miu Miu’s debut fragrance keeps lily of the valley and the patchouli-like Akigalawood as top and base notes while adding a white floral heart for a scent meant to evoke the first day of spring. Miu Miu L’Eau Bleue Eau de Parfum Spray ($105 for 50 mL), at sephora.com.
When Target left Canada, so did beloved brand Pixi. Now it’s back (hurrah!), and for the first time, skincare is available in addition to cosmetics. Our pick: this just-launched physical (sugar cane) and chemical (lactic acid) exfoliant. Pixi Beauty Peel & Polish ($34), at shoppersdrugmart.ca.
Organic mongongo oil, high in moisturizing fatty acids and derived from the South African manketti tree, is the star in this blend of fast-absorbing oils. Apply strategically (on wind-chapped cheeks, for instance) as the weather changes from cold to, well, slightly less cold. Physicians Formula Organic Wear Bright Booster Oil Elixir ($20), at shoppersdrugmart.ca.
If you’ve maxed out on Millennial-coloured products (you know the shade), may we suggest this powdery hue as an alternative? OPI Infinite Shine in Suzi Without a Paddle ($16.95), at chatters.ca.
Two satin (peachy beige and gold) and two matte (caramel beige and pinky red) shades comprise Chanel makeup artist Lucia Pica’s face palette for spring. Chanel Coco Code Blush Harmony ($70), at chanel.com.
This hue is our favourite of the 10 shades of seriously-long-wearing liquid lipstick and gloss. CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Colour + Gloss in Coral Crave ($12), at walmart.ca.
Holding a can of dry shampoo close to your scalp and spraying will not do you any favours. Batiste applicators are designed to disperse product evenly from 30 centimetres (think half an arm’s length) away, and particles are sized to penetrate the hair shaft, nixing oil right from the roots. Batiste Dry Shampoo in Cherry ($9) at walmart.ca.
The latest foundation from Giorgio Armani marries the technology of the brand’s oil-based Maestro Fusion with the long-wearing pigments in its liquid eyeshadows for a high-coverage formula that feels like a serum. Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation in 3.5 ($70), at sephora.com.