The Ruby Sneaker Re-Take: (I)D Shoe v. 2.0

Good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere...in these shoes.  Dorothy would have gotten to Oz so much quicker had she been wearing ruby red sneakers.

Let me explain. Dearest readers, I have a little story for you today.  It begins with Kristin over at Nike contacting me (Ahhh what?! Nike? Right?) to essentially rebuild (jack up?) a sneaker.  The conversation went something like this: "I like your insane heel with spikes in it, do you think you could do something like that with a sneaker?!" (That's an oversimplification, a little.)  Ahh, YES! ...

 Above, the sneaker in its finished glory.

But sneakers? About that.  I'm not sure whether this was out there, but it might as well be now: the only athletic shoes I actually owned prior to this project are ones I've had since, well... too long to remember, and I used them exclusively for running, which means that I used them, oh, never.  (Who actually likes running? I never run!!) 

I am was not a sneaker girl.  Never say never.

As I sat in front of the nondescript brown parcel that arrived at my door, and that mismatched hodgepodge of rubbery, Skittle-colored, sample-size (which incidentally look like munchkin shoes to this owner of 4-sizes-larger-than-sample manfeet, ha) kicks stared back at me, I remembered why I am was scared of sneakers. Ahh, I thought, "Alien shoes!!" 

I remembered why I don't didn't do sneakers.  Blocky toes, bulbous rubbery bits... I like shoes slick and sleek and preferably enough so that they can (visually speaking) SLICE THROUGH THINGS. (And make you legs look like razors)  Slicey-dicey.  Why shouldn't sneakers be like that, you know?

I love a challenge. And I loveloveLOVE things that I hate, things that scare me.  You know that.  Sneakers? Turns out we're a perfect match.  

Here's what I was faced with (minus a few that got away somewhere). Okay, so I'm into this red. It reminds me of Dorothy's ruby red slipper.  (I was also feeling the black pair that somehow disappeared from this shot, more on that in a later post...)

Why was Dorothy wearing slippers anyway? They're sweet, but is this really a prudent choice for a girl running from lions, tigers, bears, monkeys and a wicked witch? Perhaps the better question is: Why did the witch even own kitten heels with almond toes??!!!!

Ruby red slippers? Try ruby red sneakers, a shoe with... TEETH. The wicked witch would have been into these. 

Here, I've torn the uppers off the soles and removed the insole.  There's all sorts of weird stuff they put in these things, no?  On the right, you see I've trimmed the toe into a sharper shape.  Much better.

Below, I'm building the platform (okay, you didn't think I was going to make them flat, did you?) from a foam soling material.  The pattern for the platform actually consists of seven separate patterns, each a bit smaller than the one before it.  I made the largest by tracing the insole of the shoe.  I then bonded them and sanded/ sculpted the living daylights out of it, until it was smooth and had the shape I wanted.  Here, you can see 1/323123 of the mess I managed to make with this disgusting foam dust.  I wore a face mask and an eye mask, and yet, still managed to cover myself in an occlusive layer of black foam rubber until I looked like a rubber monster. I should have taken a picture, but vanity got the best of me. Oh well.  On the left, you can see I've decided to add another 2 layers to the five I'd already sanded.  It's necessary to bond each layer one or two at a time, and then sand, as it makes shaping a lot easier.

Here, I'm rebuilding a leather midsole to attach to the leather. This was necessary because I needed to cut the upper from the sole, and then slice off the toe to change the shape of the shoe.  The third picture in is the leather I cut to make the pointed toe-box, after skiving (shaving), but before wet molding.  On the right, you can see I've begun to mold it.

Oh! And the sequins.  The ones on the shoe, I sewed by hand, to every bit of mesh that the sneaker had.

Below, the toe box is covered in sequins, the upper is bonded to the platform (after lots of sanding), and I'm covering the platform with ribbons of red sequins.  These red sequin ribbons were life-savers. Doing this one sequin at a time would have been impossible.

FINISHED PRODUCT. Dorothy's red ruby sneakers, (I)D x Nike style.

Ding-dong the witch is dead...

Melting... Melting... (no wait, combusting?)



I added a new "Flea" section to the (I)D store, for one-off vintage pieces that I've reworked (painted, embellished, etc), and interesting objects, furnishings and accessories that I run across (because much as I'd like, I can't keep it all.  Although I may try.).  It'll be updated frequently, too.

Because there's only one of everything that's listed, there's no wait time for the shipping.  

Reworked vintage lucite bags, id-taste.com.

Barbie Suit

Taking this vintage Dior Barbie suit skirt to be tailored later. The jacket is crazy, it has these molded (but shoulderpad-less!!) shoulders and sculpted tailoring with this weird scuba zip that comes off as almost sci-fi?

Excuse the cruddy photo quality.


Mining Lizards

Shh! I have a secret!

So, I told you the other day about my new ring lizard bag, that I had to share, because I'm crazy over the strangely utilitarian color scheme it's sporting and the boxy shape, and of course the skin, which is more a texture than a pattern.  I designed a new strap for it, and haven't taken it off since.

It's so easy (read: lazy) to wear, but I guess one must pick and choose their madnesses.  My madness (no, madnesses. plural) is not handbags, and in fact, I often go without one entirely. Just not my thing (dear lord, have you seen how much I've got going on in the shoe and jewelry department?).  There's also this other issue, that at any given moment, I can think of so many other spendy things I'd rather indulge in.  A lot about the marketing of handbags really bothers me.  Especially that the quality of materials and design is generally so terrible until they're in the upper stratosphere of price, and then there's that cliff to dive off...

But yes, okay...so there's nothing I find grosser than really vile quality uninteresting things (if it's going to be cheap, it had better be deliciously exciting!), we've established that. The secret? Ebay (and the occasional lucky thrift shop) is hiding these wondrous ring lizards!!!  You just have to wade through a whole lot of "lizard" listings posted by people who don't realize what they're selling.  (Leave off the "ring.")

Or, you can just go the retail route: From left to right, clockwise from largest bag: Jil Sander, Valentino studded lizard clutch ($3400 via Net a Porter), Alexander Wang python bag ($795 at Alexander Wang), Tiffany by Lambertson and Truex ($4800 at Tiffany), Tiffany by Lambertson and Truex ($1800 at Tiffany), Kelly Locke lizard clutch on ($495, on Vivre.)

What's that? Oh, you're so welcome.


Soft Spots

I think that we've all got our soft spots.

By soft-spots, I mean, the opposite of "deal breakers." Deal-breakers are those vile, irksome qualities that send one sprinting, a reason to drop whatever it is that's clearly broken, but soft spots? Soft spots seal the deal, they make whatever it is impossible to resist- drop it in my cart, I'll take it to go, and yes, please, I'll have another 5, despite the fact I already have three that are just like it and so clearly I shouldn't need one more... You know, that frenzied feeling? (This may be applicable to...other situations...as well... no claims there.)

Anyway, a while ago, I met this thick, fatty biker leather, and it swept me off my feet in all its gnarled, pebbled, textured glory.  It's a soft spot for me.  Handbags made in it? YES please! Shoes? Jackets? Shorts? Pillows? AHHH the possibilities are endless... I can get carried away with these things. Luckily (unluckily?), I've been seeing more and more of it lately.  Alexander Wang has been doing a lot of bags in it (I'm sure you've seen them x 12310239), and allegedly, somewhere, they make chaps from it (although chaps are a rather frightening garment, no?), but I've been sort of possessed by this idea of using it as upholstery.  It's all well and dandy that I can wear it, but I want my chairs to wear it too.  See, I told you! It's one of my soft spots.

Finally, I got around to that, and I'm so delighted with the results I'd like to do something larger in it.  Like a sofa (ahhhh, it's a sickness!).  But for now, you might recognize these chairs.  Remember Karl?? Poor Karl, I buried him. Somehow, I don't think he'd mind the transformation.  I kept the hefty, pebbled black leather simple and painted on a metallic bee insignia.  The metallic brings out the lumpiness of the leather; this can only be a positive.  Its counterpart is dressed in a Tony Duquette inspired painted jewel upholstery and my other new endeavor...striped leather.  Stripes are one of those things that I feel like I'm always on the hunt for.  Especially a thick, black and white striped leather.  After coming to the conclusion that it doesn't exist, I made it.  Stripes are another of my soft spots (if you could see my closet, you'd die laughing  and perhaps draw the conclusion that I have a secret life as a referee).

This beaded necklace is so ugly (beautiful), I cannot even wait to wear it.  I think it may have been part of the inspiration for the green jeweled upholstery. I bought it at a thrift shop after an older lady decided against it.  She was clearly torn ("It's just lovely, but its so...GREEN" is what she said.) HA! She might have had green issues, but I do NOT.

As for the bag on the chair... ring lizard.  I'll tell you all about it in a little.  After designing a new handle/chain for it, it's become one of my favorites.  New soft spot?

Vintage jewelry, (I)D Taste hand painted leather upholstery (available here).  

New Things

Added a section for hand painted leather upholstery to the shop, check it out!


Minimalist Maximalism

It's funny how certain garments have a reputation for one thing or another.  Take sequins, the trampy Aunt Louise of the happy wardrobe family.

Now, I should fully disclose that I have a sequin buying addiction.  The more sequins the merrier, and this isn't necessarily a good thing (The greater the mass of sequins, the larger the mess of colors = the more epic the shoulders, and the less likely I'll be able to resist— this is a rule).  Okay, so sequins have this reputation for being over the top, gaudy, excessive, trashy... and of course that's fun and fabulous and who doesn't like looking like a peacock/disco ball on occasion, but my real point here IS: sometimes sequins surprise you!!

I was thinking about this after purchasing this delightful, matte green vintage Arnold Scaasi number.  I hadn't heard of Scaasi when I'd seen the dress (should I be embarrassed?) but it was one of those purchases where everything came together in a crazy alignment of the fashion forces.  I bought the dress because it looked like a heavy sheet of fish-scaled minty texture and it had me actually hyperventilating.  THEN I ran across an article in CONNOISSEUR from July 1984 on Scaasi's work (I will scan this today, it's so good!) and THEN I found out that there's currently a Scaasi exhibition going on at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts through June 2011. Has anyone been to the exhibit? So strange the way things work out sometimes!

Anyway, the Scaasi is what got me thinking about what I'm gonna call "minimalist maximalism."   (Is this a term? I just made it up!) There's so much talk right now about the "minimalist" vibe going around, and I guess I'm not immune to it (hence the crazy talk about gutting my wardrobe?), although I'll always worship at the altar of more is more. Ahhhhhhh, I like interesting things, pretty things, hideous things!! And lots of them.  The idea of living monastically repulses me!  But minimalist sequins (monochromatic sequins, matte sequins, sequin colorblocking??!) ... that's something I can get into.  So I had some fun shooting a couple of looks, green Scaasi included, of minimalism, my way- if you will.

Green sequin dress by Arnold Scaasi, black sequin pants by Rachel Roy, black sequin shirt vintage John Wannamaker, zebra sequin shirt vintage Jeannette for St. Martin 1985, blue sequin dress vintage Richilene, striped maxi layered under zebra F21.

Images and styling by (I)D.
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