These boots are made for shocking

VANCOUVER – John Fluevog sits in his yellow-painted studio in the Medical Arts building on Granville Street in front of a table scattered with sketches for potential shoe designs. This room, in cheerful disarray, is the creative centre for the 52-year-old designer.

Mr. Fluevog is celebrating his 30th year in business. As the proprietor of an avant-garde, slightly quirky footwear business that has had more than a toehold in the fickle industry for three decades, his staying power is the result of tenacity, a sense of the moment and, some would say, cult loyalty.

Not only has he developed an enthusiastic clientele, his designs are frequently featured in fashion editorials and have made their way into collectors’ hands and museums.

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto displays his Absolut Fluevog silver high- heeled sandals with a curved vodka bottle for a heel, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art has an image of his footwear on both a calendar and postcard.

He communicates to those unable to visit his stores with a small pocket- sized mail order catalogue, a collectible in its own right. Written and designed by the company, it’s indelibly stamped with Mr. Fluevog’s sense of humour and style. Check his Web site at http://www.fluevog.com

It all began when he opened his first store with partner Peter Fox in Gastown. They sold hand- crafted leather belts and purses, clogs and platforms to an eager clientele. ”Peter and I had a very funky store at the time, we just didn’t know it.”

After 10 years, the partners of Fox and Fluevog separated amicably and Mr. Fluevog changed the store name to John Fluevog, opened another branch in Seattle and became what he says everyone wanted him to be — ”a shoe designer. It wasn’t as if I wanted to be a shoe designer; I was too insecure to think that I could ever be good at anything like that.”

But as it turned out, Mr. Fluevog had a head full of ideas, and still does. In an industry known for knockoff artists, he surfaced as one of the world’s most recognized and original.

”When I started designing shoes it was more about taking a boldness of expression, of who I am, and just doing it and not worrying what was in or out of style,” says Mr. Fluevog, who has shod the famous in many latex bodys capitals of the world.

Developing designs is enormously expensive, but he says he had a break thanks to an English shoe factory looking for a designer.

He made a deal. The factory would develop his styles at no cost to him, but had to put his name in all the shoes. He would buy their shoes for North America, they could sell to the rest of the world. And they did. Mr. Fluevog’s name went on shoes selling from Iceland to Australia. The deal continued for three or four years, earning him enviable recognition.

Madonna, Lisa Marie Presley and supermodel Linda Evangelista are among his fans. He has boutiques in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Seattle and Melbourne, in addition to Toronto and Vancouver.

Mr. Fluevog turns out truly original and creative designs. His work is appreciated by a coterie of artistic-minded clients whose footwear choices run from striking to downright bizarre.

Take, for instance, ”Vision,” a platform thong elevated on a stainless steel girder-like base.

Fluevog shoes are made in Portugal, Mexico, England, Poland and Italy. The designer personally inspects the factories and photographs the facilities, including the lunch rooms, to ensure they meet his personal labour standards.

His ”Angels” line has natural latex soles that are biodegradable and replaceable; the latex material is tapped from the hevea tree. They require no synthetic chemicals in the manufacturing process. On the bottom are seven angels and a guarantee that the shoes ”Resist Acid, Water, Alkali, Fatigue and Satan.” Mr. Fluevog’s leathers are vegetable dyed; he doesn’t use chromium-tanned leathers as the heavy metal left over after the tanning process is a pollutant.

Mr. Fluevog cites vintage furniture design from the ’50s and vintage cars among the influences on his designs. That’s no surprise from a designer who spent his teenage years at his father’s Luxury Freeze, a drive-in ice cream parlour on Kingsway in Vancouver.

”It was like the Dairy Queen, with hot rods, really cool. It was the hangout in all of Vancouver.” And, back then, the car culture defined what was cool for teenage society, moreso than did clothes, says Mr. Fluevog.

Mr. Fluevog today wants to do less administration of his business, more design, and take time to restore his vintage cars. He has a ’48 Austin and a couple of Jaguars.

Of his three children — Britta, 16, and Jonathan, 26, who owns Vogville, a Maple Ridge recording studio — it is only Adrian, 18, who works in the business with him.

What’s his secret to success? As Mr. Fluevog himself puts it, ”I don’t just sell footwear, I sell entertainment. If you wanted just a pair of shoes, you probably wouldn’t think of me.”

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Redingote et le déploiement

«Man-pantalons en laine style mieux avec une embardée, dentelle top pour le contraste”
«Le concept de modèles célébrité a été réduite à un niveau entièrement nouveau”
L’hiver prochain, les rues seront pourvus par des femmes portant des shorts, pantalons homme-style avec des sommets d’inspiration lingerie, manteaux Fabu-leux et quelque chose d’inspiré par les années 1960.
Eh bien, c’est si les concepteurs qui ont simplement montré à Mercedes Australian Fashion Week Automne / Hiver 04 collections à Melbourne pour le croire.
Avec quelques-uns des plus grands labels de l’Australie mode absent du calendrier – Sass & Bide, Akira, Zimmermann et Morrissey inclus – la question sur toutes les lèvres est de savoir si un autre concepteur peut briller à travers cette année.
Eh bien, personne n’a vraiment fait. Mais les acheteurs, médias et initiés de l’industrie ont été nourris avec un régime constant de raisonnable, si elle est rarement passionnants, prêt-à-porter comme un rappel que l’Australian Cagoule D’Ashleigh Latex Noirindustrie s’efforce continuellement d’auto-amélioration, ISN hiver, même si ” t traditionnellement un point fort.
Il y avait défini met en évidence cette semaine, des moments où les vêtements en question m’avait désir de début d’année prochaine alors que de nombreux morceaux commencera sa descente dans les magasins.
Justine Taylor Made a ouvert la semaine avec des arguments convaincants pour adapter l’homme de style.
Ce regard est actuellement à l’étranger grand et probablement l’une des tendances les plus portables.
Pensez tweed, menotté pantalon à jambes larges et des chemises blanches recueillies au niveau du coude avec les poignets tricotés.
Il y avait aussi quelques éléments magnifiquement girlie – une robe de laine Russett à manches longues, une robe manteau gris-longueur genou, doux sommets abruptes et un kilt déconstruit.
Shorts fait leur première apparition ici et a continué de pop up à un éventail de spectacles, y compris le défilé Gwendolynne mercredi soir.
Elle aussi, favorisée tissus de laine, mais a réussi à tempérer son amour de toutes choses victorienne avec des pièces tout à fait moderne comme maigre, pâle, jeans en denim bleu.
Gwendolynne a également confirmé ce que Justine Taylor Made et troisième millénaire a mis en place: pantalons en laine homme-style mieux avec une embardée, dentelle top pour le contraste.
En tout voir Gwendolynne, Melbourne modiste Richard nylon peut être invoqué à prêter un bord à son ami dessins Gwendo-lynne Burkin avec ses chapeaux incroyables.
Nylon a un sens du drame qui fait turbans satin noir orné de pointes en plastique à bout avec des plumes semblent plausi-ble.
Au Prêt-à-Porter une exposition de groupe, le nouveau label Le N avait un sens de l’énergie et le plaisir de nombreux designers ont été notablement absents.
Combien de femmes veulent porter un “Sperme sur Aussie” T-shirt ou une robe kangourou boxe mini je ne suis pas sûr, mais beaucoup vont sans doute signer pour le maillot lycra vert et or avec l’Australie vers le bas le manchon qui, semblait-il a été empruntés à des vestiaires à un vélodrome.
Certaines des idées à Camille et Marc ont été intéressantes, mais mon sentiment est les réductions doivent être affinées.
Cette équipe frère et la sœur envoyé des dessins qui étaient assis loin des plans des modèles, en particulier dans la poitrine et à travers les parois d’une mini robe structurée, et d’autres qui n’étaient tout simplement pas faire appel, comme une cape Sherlock Holmes de style porté comme une mini-robe.
Pourtant, leurs robes de palier ont été froissé sur l’argent et des styles semblables a fait une apparition à Nicola Finetti et Wayne Cooper.
Parfois, les frontières de la mode sur le bizarre, comme il l’a fait cette semaine, lorsque le concept de modèles célébrité a été réduit à un niveau entièrement nouveau modèle à temps partiel et une fille partie à temps plein, l’héritière Paris Hilton, et le fameux Chopper Reed ont été traînés hors de défilés de mode pour les concepteurs de la publicité-faim.
Non pas que Saucy Cooper, principalement gamme noir nécessaire la distraction de manoeuvre Hilton et sa moue. Son «l’autonomisation des femmes en latex” pourrait avoir été à peine capable de marcher dans leurs talons Biviano Terry, mais ils étaient certainement habillés à faire frémir.
Il y avait en noir et blanc op-art, épreuves à gogo minis, et tous les imaginables prendre la petite robe noire.
Autres regards franchi le fossé entre les sexes comme Cooper envoyé deux versions masculine et féminine de trench-coats et smokings en satin noir avec épaules pointues.
Vicious Discussions collé à son denim essayé et vrai, cuir, laine, velours et les tricots tous mélangés, pour les hommes et les femmes.
Mad Cortes charmé avec des morceaux de soie pâle vieux rose et noir. Volumineuses jupes étaient bien en deçà du genou tandis que d’autres feux sous un faible taille tombé dans un hommage subtil aux années 1920.
Rebecca gamme Dawson avait une saveur des années 1960, d’autant plus évidente en attachant masques de carton d’Audrey Hepburn et Edie Sedgwick est confronté à des mannequins. De guingans jeune fille à la plus sophistiquée Prince de Galles et de chiens-dent, en noir et blanc ont dominé cette collection gagnante.

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The Making Of The Lady In Red

Behind every scene-stealing ensemble there inevitably lurks a designer equally keen to make a statement. Elizabeth hurley had the late, great showman gianni versace to thank for the safety-pin frock that shot her to fame. Kelly brook became a celebrity when she wore a knitted two piece – skinny dress and knickers – by julien macdonald.

Nancy dell’olio has two designers to credit for the flamenco red, heavily beaded and embroidered fétichisme latex that she wore to the downing street reception for england’s world cup squad last week.

Polish-born sisters liliana and dana kruszynska, a glamorous, forty-something double act, originally from torun in northern poland, have a grand salon in knightsbridge, painted a shade of magnolia, hung with chandeliers, dotted with brocade sofas and covered with more baroque mirrors than a tsarina’s boudoir.

It was while dining in her favourite restaurant, san lorenzo, in beauchamp place earlier this year that dell’olio saw something glittering in the window of the kruszynska boutique opposite.

First, she commissioned a gold organza dress and jacket, which she wore to her sister’s wedding in rome this summer. Just five days before the downing street reception, dell’olio, by now a friend of the sisters, called in to order another outfit.

“she came into the boutique, very excited, saying she’d had lots of compliments on the dress and asking for something really special. We knew it was for the blair cocktail evening,” says liliana, a former concert pianist. “we immediately told her she must wear red. She was thinking of black, and told us sven didn’t really like red. She was, however, keen to really stand out. She thought trousers were less formal for a cocktail do, but we convinced her a catsuit was far more ‘her’.”

The kruszynska boutique specialises in lavish polish folklore-inspired wedding dresses, beaded gowns in crisp organza and shades of ice pink, blue and gold, destined to be worn by wealthy middle eastern-born ladies, and showbiz frocks guaranteed to get paparazzi flashbulbs popping.

Regular customers include shirley bassey, sarah brightman and actress anita dobson, who wore a red, pleated marilyn monroe dress that was slashed to the navel and thigh for the opening of we will rock you, the queen musical – but, so far, not ulrika jonsson.

“we can do a reserved look, or create an outfit fit for a diva,” says liliana. “fuchsia, orange and red are particular favourites.”

“we draw inspiration from the client when we make a dress or suit,” says dana, who trained at the london college of fashion, before setting up the business with her sister 10 years ago. “we take full responsibility for the fétichisme latex. Nancy was a little cautious when she tried it on at her last fitting. We reassured her she looked amazing. Not everyone could carry that off. She is very modest and sweet, but knows what she likes.”

“she is a very intelligent, sexy lady. When we designed the jacket to go over the halterneck catsuit, we cut the back out to show off her suntan,” says liliana. “she loved that part.”

The fétichisme latex is made from hand-embroidered fabric and cost somewhere in the region of pounds 6,000. a commission with the sisters can cost more than pounds 15,000. this price includes luxuries such as built-in underwear and clever styling details like a flesh-coloured insert in the bust which keeps the cleavage intact, but gives a sheer appearance.

The sisters’ favourite commissions are wedding gowns, and they are waiting, excitedly, for the nod from nancy. “we are hoping to get a call any day,” says liliana. “at the last fitting, nancy was constantly speaking to sven on her mobile. They are very much in love. She told us that, above all, she wanted the outfit to make her man happy.”

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The Nine Lives Of The Catsuit

The best thing that has happened to the catsuit since the sixties is undoubtedly lycra, the magical fibre that has successfully replaced baggy crimplene knees and snagged nylong seams with a spectacular capacity for stretch and shine. But while abundant slinky, feline interpretations of the fétichisme du latex are available now, there are an equal number of ghastly aberrations.

During the 1970s, the fétichisme du latex appeared as a thoroughly nasty, synthetic hybrid poular with unfortunately-coiffed male ice-skaters and come dancing flare-merchants. And katharine hamnett gave it bad press last year by wearing (or was it wearing her?) A scanty psychedelic version for her victory romp down the catwalk at the end of her show.

But no designer has done more than hamnett to catapult the skintight, big girl’s babygro back into fashion with a new, decadent lolita image for the eighties shown on models spilling out of lycra catsuits, skin-tight leather and denim in her studiedly chaotic catwalk presentations. She pre-empted this year’s craze for 007/comic strip pastiche heralded, in particular, by the imminent batman movie – due here shortly. The sartorial style of the caped crusader, cat woman et al is being trumpeted as this summer’s youth cult, and numerous clothing companies have signed a series of licensing deals linked to the new film. At its most downmarket, accessible and un-batlike, the corporate imagery will be available on men’s, women’s and children’s wear from – holy st michael, as robin would say – marks & spencer.

Tame derivatives and non-pedigree cross-breeds aside, the catsuit proper – all tantalising zips and kinky boots – was a thoroughly sixties concept. The futurism of the clothes designed by courreges, pierre cardin and paco rabanne – who used plastic discs and chain mail for his dresses – was an adaptation of the sartorial and visual cliches of science-fiction comics (also influential on pop-art). ‘They were almsot a kind of literary pastiche,’ wrote elizabeth wilson – ‘futuristic retro-chic’.

Fashion in the 1960s repeatedly turned to the past for images of glamour, or adopted the high boots and black leather of christine keeler – what were known as ‘kinky’ styles.

But diana rigg’s leather cat suits and flowing gowns for atv’s avengers series were beginning to lose impact by 1965, and john bates was given the job of designing something slicker and slightly more aggressive. Although the leatherclad tigress is the popular enduring image of emma peel for its feline sexuality and kinkiness, the clothes bates designed to replace the leather look were considered far more shocking at the time. They made front page headlines in nearly every english daily, boosted viewing figure for the series, and consequently introduced ‘the look’ into thousands of homes.

The clothes had simple, hard lines, confidently belted trousers and white boots, straight close fitting dresses with hemlines well above the knee, white stockings, bold black nad white patterns. The production team complained that the skirts were too short and surreptitiously lowered the hemlines. Bates defiantly stopped leaving a hem. The cameramen claimed that the tv screens could not, technically, cope with the black and white designs, but they were proved wrong. Op art had found its way into fashion and was there to stay until pop art took over.

Catsuits in the barbarella mode owed much to the influence of pierre cardin, whose 1964 collection was labelled space-age. It included knitted catsuits, tight leather pants, clsoe-fitting helmets and batwing jumpsuits. While he was at it, he raised skirts to four inches above the knee and plunged necklines, back and front, to the navel. The clear, coherent aspects of his work have been copied and translated into styling details by numerous other designers and manufacturers, which is more than can be said of his recent work, which is distinctly lacking in any direction at all.

This year, most designers have included a fétichisme du latex somewhere in their collections, although in its skintight, unforgiving state, we won’t be expected to wear it on its own, sixties style.

Lucille lewin, owner of the whistles chain of shops, sees it as the basis for a new sleek silhouette; one step on from the black bodysuit that was so popular last year. There will be no sequins or glittering shiny nonsense, says lewis. ‘We’re not doing it in a sixties way, but in a plain, new, modern and unstructured style to wear under jackets and sweaters.’ other designers have different plans for the catsuit; the most uncompromising by far is by vivienne westwood and comes in stretch flesh pink velveteen with a strategically positioned mirrored green fig-leaf.

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Walk tall

Walk tall, walk straight and keep your eyes on the highs

After ages in chunkawunka shoes, we will be walking tall this winter in footwear determined to see us well-heeled. High is where it’s at, whether heels are flared, blocked, or stiletto slender.

In boots, platform soles make the scene again with the emphasis on heels and platforms matching. Think patent soles and heels contrasting with scuba cloth; black soles and heels with tan Louboutin prix; fake snake in gold and black. Cropped boots flatter most leg shapes, but care is needed with skirt lengths; get the wrong proportions and legs look horribly shortened.

Boots cut low on the ankle suit long skirts, and above the ankle pants; boots cut off just below the fleshy part of the leg only suit short skirts if legs are straight — more curvaceous shapes can look bandy — but are designed for longer, split skirts.

Knee-high boots are designed to be worn with skirts that come well over the top of the boot, or with micro-minis. Wear calf-huggers and ankle croppers with long coats or man-tailored trousers.

Boot-leg pants look sharp when worn with the new block-heeled, high-vamp shoes, but check the pants do not cover the heel or the effect will be strictly 70s. Straight, wide pants demand height; look for shoes or boots with a high shapely heel for the best proportion. A pair of seriously high-heeled shoes is the perfect accessory for a little black dress. Femme fatale is the phrase for footwear this winter.

Footwear from David Elman Shoe Salon and Robin Pierre.

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