Tuesday, 17 January 2012


I bought these Prada shoes (from the resort 2012 collection) a few weeks ago. I love the slightly dorky shape of the toe, the formal/sporty hybrid, the height-boosting sole which brings to mind the runway pairs I have acquired over the last few seasons, but in a lighter, easier-to-wear way… however, I did not see the “made in Vietnam” label when I was in the shop. I disapprove of designer brands which subtly outsource parts of their production to the Far East, while not passing the cost saving on to the consumer. In my view, part of what justifies Prada prices is the Italian production. These shoes seem to be inferior in quality to the other Prada shoes I own (all of which are made in Italy), and they also have a strong chemical smell. I’m actually worried they might be toxic, because they don’t smell of leather at all, and if you sniff them closely you get a bit lightheaded – a sure sign that some noxious adhesive (pity the Vietnamese workers) has been used in their construction, often the giveaway of a cheap shoe (no Goodyear or Blake construction here). You expect your £40 running shoes to smell a bit synthetic, but not your Prada’s. In spite of this, though, I decided to keep them, because I do like the style a lot. But there was still another problem: the garish red PRADA tags on the tongues.

This was solved by a visit to Classic Shoe Repairs in London, where they charged me £5 to remove them and clean up the leather underneath. I was tempted to do it myself, but the thought of going at a brand new pair shoes with a craft knife caused me to lose my nerve. I knew Classic Shoes would be the place to go, because they handle the repairs and resoling for all the Louboutin boutiques in London, as well as the Selfridges and Harvey Nichols shoe departments.

When I was about 14 I had a pair of those god-awful Prada America’s Cup sneakers in suede, and I used to think I was THE SHIT in them. I gave them an ironic airing (with a Rick Owens leather jacket) a few years ago, but nobody (read: internet commenters) was feeling it, and they have since gone back into the depths of my wardrobe (or the ‘archive’ as I call it – although this is one archive you won't be seeing on display at the FIT or V&A any time soon). Anyway, I hadn’t bought Prada Sport shoes since, so I didn’t know they are now made in the Far East, or that they come in these uncouth silver boxes:

I mean, I love the idea of this whole 90s sports-utility thing, but the silver packaging with the red stripe is just a bit gross compared to what Prada puts its mainline shoes in. And don’t even get me started on the awful drawstring metallic dust bags, which you sometimes see unfortunate types using as miniature backpacks…

My original pair of Prada Sport’s had the red rubber logo behind too, stretching a good few centimetres up the back of each shoe. They have since toned it down, so the tag hardly comes up above the sole now, but thankfully this pair didn’t have it at all. The soles are identical to the SS11 runway show ones (which makes me wonder if the soles were manufactured in Italy then shipped to Vietnam - or if the Italian-made runway shoes use components imported from the Far East?)

Might be time to put in a call to Prada-platform-shoe-olics Anyonymous..

Wearing them here with an ASOS T-shirt in sweatshirt material. I love T-shirts in thick fabrics, and this one was a steal at £12:

This winter I bought a Canada Goose down-filled jacket (the Yorkville bomber, to be precise), and it has swiftly become one of my favourite pieces. I know it’s more ‘outdoors’ than ‘fashion,’ and you do see some pretty dire people wearing them (especially, I am told, in Canada where they are apparently two a penny), but I really, really like mine. It is so warm and luxurious, and it is really well made (certain prominent designer brands could learn a thing or two) and it has considered details like a very smooth running, heavy-duty YKK zip, and fleece-lined pockets to keep your hands warm. And it’s black, and minimalist in design, and a bomber jacket in shape… three of my favourite things right there. I’m so glad I didn’t go down the Italian tourist route of a gauche shiny Moncler.

It has this almost sculptural (dare I say ARCHITECTURAL) shape…

I have been wondering if I should have got these Ann Demeulemeester’s instead of the Prada's… they are pretty amazing, AND I can see a ‘Made in Italy’ stamp on the soles.

**LN-CC made the rookie error of shooting the enormous size 45 so they look a bit deformed here; model size is usually 43-45, but most brands and retailers shoot samples in size 41-42 for still-life images because shoes tend to look best proportioned around those sizes, which means there’s occasionally hope for us UK 7’s & 8’s at sample sales…**

I will always love Prada, though...a new detail I have noticed is that the stickers they use to close the store bags now match the grain of the cardboard.. I'm such a sucker for this kind of thing:

Sunday, 8 January 2012


This is a total late pass because it’s now spring in crazy old fashion land, meaning fall/winter clothes are all but gone from the shops, but the Undercover FW11 collection was so perfect I am literally GASPING FOR AIR. It’s a shame Jun Takahashi hasn’t been doing super-conceptual Undercover / Undercoverism shows for a while, but I'm not really complaining, because this collection was almost the perfect expression of what I want to wear right now. Black & Grey? Check. Minimalist? Check. Skinhead model? Check. Slightly odd? Check. TAKE MY CREDIT CARD AND GIVE ME CLOTHES!

Some things which were navy in the presentation were black in the look book, making them even better...

Then to lighten things up a litle there were the brilliant accessories, I think from the women’s collection, which incidentally yielded the UHHMAZING cat bomber jacket too (OMG! KITTEHS!).


Men's collection T-shirts:

Showroom images from the Très Bien Shop Flickr. You can also buy Undercover online at Colette, Browns, Firmament Berlin, Farfetch, The Corner, and Anastasia Boutique, among others.