April 26 2010
You know how it is with shoes – you spot The Ones and you have to have them, regardless of price and practicality. And if they turn out to be expensive and uncomfortable, you are racked with guilt every one of the few times you wear them.
So to walk into a top store’s shoe department and discover a beautiful, wearable, 24-carat bargain was a wholly unexpected pleasure. I have found interesting, small-scale brands among the obvious big names in Harvey Nichols’ shoe section before, but often at equally heady prices. Seeing these objects of overwhelming desire, tantalisingly on the top shelf where I couldn’t make out the price, I felt like a small boy in a newsagents ogling the risqué magazines.
When I got them down they fulfilled my expectations with all the hallmarks of a quality designer shoe – light, soft leather in a gorgeous and flattering sandy nude shade, fine straps but laced up with slender thongs and high enough cut to be faintly edgy, with classy details such as pinked edges, slightly tribal slashes and even a signature tiny gilt fleur-de-lys on the pale leather instep. A fabulous blend of delicate and tough that ticked all this summer’s boxes, from a recently-arrived label that I was only dimly aware of, Pour la Victoire.
The revelation was the £200 price tag, which this three-year-old, New York-based brand achieves by manufacturing to high standards in Brazil. The range was causing a flurry among several chic women who had descended on the shoe department after a store event. There were several other beautiful styles, but this one, Jillanna, is the pick. With a gently padded leather insole – another carefully thought-through feature of the brand, which is being picked up for red carpet and premiere party wear by US actresses – comfort levels are high. My first wearing was a good half-day walkabout and they didn’t feel as if they had 10cm heels, though they very elegantly look every millimetre of that.