Tuesday, April 22nd 2014

Gladiators & Ancient Greece: Talking Sandals with Christina Martini

Inspired by Greek mythology, shoe designer Christina Martini teamed up with Nikolas Minoglou to found Ancient Greek Sandals. Made using traditional techniques, the collection consists of feminine sandals with an edgy, yet wearable feel. We talked to Martini about her sources of inspiration and the craftsmanship behind the brand’s timeless designs.

The Thais Cross Strap Sandals.

Shopbop: What fascinates you most about Greek history and mythology?
Christina Martini: Ancient Greece offers an unlimited source of research and design ideas. For past collections, I have mostly explored ancient Greek art. Sculpture, pottery, architecture, and jewelry have been a great source of inspiration for me.

SB: How closely do Ancient Greek Sandals resemble original styles? In what ways are they modernized?
CM: We have a very large collection. Some original styles depict those on statues or frescos, while newer styles are more in line with our Ancient Greek concept. The sandals are modernized with new materials, such as haircalf and exotics, or through the introduction of bright colors and metallics. In addition, the whole construction is deliberately more feminine. Heavy soles and stitching on the insole are avoided, leaving the foot more bare and sexy and revealing the details of the sandal. Finally, for extra comfort, a small inner wedge has been added between the insole and sole, as well as an anti-slip heel piece in order to avoid accidents!

SB: Ancient Greek Sandals are made by craftsmen using centuries-old techniques. What is the shoemaking process?
CM: What characterizes a traditional Greek sandal is its construction. The fact that the leather is inserted through holes punched in the insole is what makes our sandals different from others. Another traditional characteristic is the vegetable-tanned leather which ages with light, time and wear.

I work very closely with our pattern-maker. When I send him a design, he makes a prototype without a sole in order for me to check the fitting and lines. As soon as corrections are made and the pattern is confirmed, the cutting knives of the upper are realized. The knives are placed on the vegetable tanned leather and hand pressed in order to cut the upper, then the leather is skived where needed and the pieces are assembled either by stitching or rivets, when absolutely necessary. In addition, the buckle, if relevant, is added.

In the meantime, holes are punched through the insole in order for the upper to be inserted. The sole with the anti-slip heel is glued together with the inside wedge and then the insole is placed. As a final procedure, the edges of the sole/insole are sanded down and waxed, and the sandal is cleaned and ready to go!

SB: Which sandals from the latest collection do you believe every woman needs this summer?
CM: There are so many, it is difficult to choose just one. Personally, I wear the Ismene style a lot. This braided sandal is perfect for day and night because of its metallic leather braid. I also love the Kiveli wedge sandal. The wedge gives a bit of a lift, and the height is really comfortable.

Finally, if comfort during everyday walks is the main objective, the Phoebe and the Lia are great. They hold the foot really well. As unequivocal proof, the dancers at the ceremony for the lighting of the Olympic torch performed wearing these two styles!

SB: What are your tips for styling Ancient Greek Sandals?
CM: Ancient Greek Sandals can be worn with anything, depending on your personal and unique style. They can be worn with a pair of denim shorts, long caftans and skirts, or even a wedding gown.

Shop Ancient Greek Sandals.

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014

The Daily Find: VEDA Dress

Welcome to The Daily Find, our favorite products plucked from What’s New.

What it is: VEDA Coco Leather Dress
Why we love it: A feminine floral print lends a sweet touch to an edgy, paneled-leather construction.
Wear it with: Helmut Lang sandals and a Vanessa Mooney bracelet.

Shop designer mini dresses.
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Monday, April 21st 2014

Cool Collaboration: Behati Prinsloo for THVM

Victoria’s Secret Angel Behati Prinsloo teamed up with L.A. clothing label THVM (This Here Very Moment) for a 14-piece collection of punk-inspired jeans, tank tops, coats, and tees. We talked to Prinsloo about her personal style and the creative process behind the collaboration.

Behati in the Deep Sea Tee and Wash Skinny Jeans.

Shopbop: Describe the collection in six words or less.
Behati Prinsloo: Comfortable, easy, tomboy, classic, simple, everyday.

SB: What was the inspiration behind the collection?
BP: I wanted to create something true to myself and also true to the THVM brand. I carefully considered what it is that I look for when shopping and applied that to the design process. I was inspired by iconic pieces that are effortless and can be worn every day.

SB: What was your favorite part about working with THVM, and what did you learn in the process?
BP: My favorite part of the creative process was exchanging ideas with designers Brian and Olga. I learned the importance of communication. How you communicate your ideas and opinions is crucial for an accurate execution. Since we all had similar taste, it made the creative process easy and enjoyable! We were all in sync in our ideas and vision.


Behati in the Bat Tee and Stripe Zip Trousers.
SB: How would you describe your own aesthetic, and in what ways did your personal style influence your designs?
BP: I like timeless pieces that don’t require a lot of effort to style. I am big on a pair of jeans mixed with a fun and easy T-shirt. THVM has perfected this aesthetic by designing pieces that are simple, reliable, and fit perfectly.

SB: Which item from the collection will you wear most often? How will you style it?
BP: It's a small collection, so I love and wear every piece. At the moment, the high-waist black skinny jeans and the striped pants are my favorites. I wear them with a simple white T-shirt or the Deep Sea shirt. This collection is my baby. Each item easily blends into my everyday look.

SB: You’ve worked in the fashion industry since you were 16. What is the most valuable piece of advice you’ve received?
BP: Always stay true to yourself, and treat everyone with respect and how you want to be treated. Also, always have fun with whatever you do. Don't take things too seriously. I'm so lucky to have gotten this far.

Shop Behati Prinsloo for THVM.

Monday, April 21st 2014

Studio Sounds: Jazz All Day

If you close your eyes, you can almost smell that smoky jazz bar.

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Monday, April 21st 2014

The Daily Find: Surface to Air Sandals

Welcome to The Daily Find, our favorite products plucked from What’s New.

What they are: Surface to Air Duarte Wedge Sandals
Why we love them: Gunmetal buckles and a wide ankle cuff lend tough appeal to a chic silhouette.
Wear them with: An IRO romper and an Aurelie Bidermann ring.

 

Shop designer wedges.
Shop Surface to Air shoes.

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Friday, April 18th 2014

Wise Words: Donna Karan

Friday, April 18th 2014

Break Time: Work it Out

I’m heading to Chicago for my first CrossFit competition today, so I’ve got fitness on my mind. (Though, as a workout enthusiast—my co-workers might say, workout fanatic—I pretty much always have fitness on my mind.) Before I start swinging kettlebells in my floral Lucas Hugh ensemble, here are a few inspiring articles to kick-start an active weekend. 3…2…1… read!

The only thing better than working out is talking about how hard you worked out. There are several wearable tracking devices that you can use to help quantify your effort (and add a digital, sporty look to a stack of bangles). But how accurate is the data?
[FiveThirtyEight]

One of the greatest things exercising gives you is a sense of confidence. Knowing what your body can do, and knowing you’ll look great in your favorite pair of skinny jeans, is a real boost. And sadly, women are less likely to feel self-assured than men. The Atlantic looks into this disparity and what can be done about it.
[The Atlantic]

OK, that was a little heavy. This is not. You know those inspirational fitness posters? The ones with the buff, tanned athlete telling you to “push it harder”? Well, The Chive switched out the healthy images for some, er…less healthy, alcohol-themes shots. The result is hilarious.
[The Chive]

--Libby S.

Shop What’s New.


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Friday, April 18th 2014

Style Steal: House of Harlow 1960 Top

Don’t be mistaken, we’re willing to pay for our fashion, but when a find comes along that’s cool, forward, and under $200, it makes our style-loving hearts skip a beat. In this weekly feature, we’ll highlight some of the best style steals on the pages of Shopbop.com.

The Steal: Cropped House of Harlow 1960 top
The Price: $58 (USD)
Why it’s worth it: Sweet embroidery and a peplum hem give this top a breezy, summery feel.

Shop this House of Harlow 1960 Stella Top.

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, April 17th 2014

The Case for a High Waist

Wide leg Rachel Zoe jeans look super retro with a breezy, tucked in top.

Recently, I was in the fitting room of a clothing store trying on my go-to style of jeans—high-waisted—when I overheard a woman lament to a friend from over the partition, “I look like my grandmother!” She stepped out of the room to show her friend her perceived horror, and lo and behold, she is wearing the same pair of pants I am admiring on myself in the mirror. And if I may say so myself, we both looked awesome.

High-waisted jeans get a bum rap for their close ties to bad acid-wash fads and ’90s sitcom mothers, but my friends, it is a new era! There are endless perks to the updated high-waist jean. Now available in a range of styles—straight, skinny, wide, flared—there is truly a pair for every gal’s body shape.

A contrasting belt creates playful proportions on these BLK DNM jeans.

While I am an equal fan of low-rise styles, they seem more prone to fashion mishaps: the sloppy tuck, the muffin top, the coin slot (you know exactly what I mean). High-waist pants eliminate all aforementioned issues. Simultaneously modest and sexy, they keep us covered but hug our curves in all the right places.

In order to find a flattering pair, pay close attention to cut and fabrication. Look for some that come right up to your natural waist and are tailored to your frame—snug, but not suffocating. The idea is to make sure there are no geometric shapes happening in the front region and no sagging in the rear. Smaller back pockets and a wide belt will minimize the dreaded “long butt” effect, and adding pumps will keep those legs looking long and lean.

Cheap Monday skinnies pair nicely with a crop top without showing too much skin.

If you’ve never sported a high waist before, let me just say that it can be hard to adjust at first. You may feel like you’re neck-deep in denim, but I promise: you look normal to the world. Be patient with your new proportions, and pretty soon, you won’t be able to go back!

—Madeline

Shop high-waisted denim.

Thursday, April 17th 2014

Wise Words: Oscar Wilde

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