'Nude' shoe matches for the well-heeled
They go with any outfit. Fashion experts advise every woman to invest in a pair, because of their ability to disappear on the foot. The Duchess of Cambridge loves them — and has been wearing them since she was simply known as Kate — using them to elongate her legs in photo ops around the world.
Nude shoes, a new staple in women's footwear. But whose nude?
For the most part, in the fashion industry, it has meant beige, pale peach or creamy blush.
Enter French footwear designer Christian Louboutin and his famous red-bottomed soles. This fall, Louboutin released a “nudes” collection, which features five of the brand's styles in five shades covering the spectrum “from fair blush to rich chestnut.”
Now women who are more on the chestnut side of the scale — and more than 22 percent of U.S. women identify as non-white (or non-“fair blush”) according to the Census Bureau — can own a shoe that becomes “a fluid extension of her legs, as in a sketch, elongating the silhouette,” as the designer puts it, in a news release.
The release of the Louboutin collection comes in the midst of a broader discussion of race and the fashion industry. Before New York Fashion Week last month, former modeling agent Bethann Hardison teamed with former model and makeup executive Iman and supermodel Naomi Campbell for the Fashion Diversity Coalition to release names of designers whose runways lacked diverse models. Even Kanye West joined the conversation earlier this month during his much-publicized “rap feud” with late-night television host Jimmy Kimmel. The rapper talked about his troubles with high fashion and stated that there's “no black guy at the end of the runway in Paris.”
At a time when makeup commercials highlight a product's color-matching abilities, fashion designers have seemed to largely ignore the fact that “nude,” a synonym for skin, comes in many colors.
It's not that it has been impossible to get a tan or chestnut 4-inch heel. For higher-end shoe fans, Jimmy Choo offers a limited selection of tan and brown pumps. Steve Madden offers three more-affordable styles of tan pumps. But Louboutin is the first to place pumps in these colors under the “nude” label. His collection, which starts at $625, puts an important brand behind the idea that women with a variety of skin tones are worth catering to in the luxury shoe market.
“Christian Louboutin is making a statement that this is for you,” says Claire Sulmers, 32, the New York-based blogger behind FashionBombDaily.com, a multicultural fashion website.
“When a brand is like, ‘You are a person, and we actually want you to wear our clothes,' we get excited,” she says.
Veronica Toney is a staff writer for The Washington Post.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Niche, mainstream sellers carry kale into beauty market
- Alpha sizing aims to simplify clothes shopping for casual wear