Tuesday, 18 Feb 2020

Playing footsie

Playing footsie
Who says the humble shoes are poor cousins of fashionable ensembles? Shoes in many avatars are now stealing the limelight whether on the street on muggy monsoon days or high-end evening dos, finds Pramita Bose

Trends are temporary while fashion is permanent, style experts remind. Take for instance, the footwear industry. From vintage classic to the contemporary shoes, sandals, boots and slippers, all have undergone massive changes in terms of their make, styling and appeal in the market. Like ethnicity, for example. From clothes, food, and even the shoes we slip our feet into, going back to the basics seems a frequent mantra these days.

It prompts us to root for our originality and embrace indigenous items and services in our daily activity, says shoe designer Aprajita Toor. Thusmojaris,jutis, Kolhapuri sandals orchappals, plusnagraishoes mostly occupy the footwear racks during wedding and festive seasons.Sherwanis andlehengas,saris anddhotis,salwarsuits andkurta pajamas, all Indo-ethnic wear finds a perfect match indesifootwear. Kolhapuris in heels and a lot of peep-toes and pumps can greatly go alongwith Indian attires, Toor recommends.

Traditionally handcrafted by artisans, these Indian footwear are usually cut out of a single leather piece or a patch of textile and further embroidered and embellished with brass nails, cowry shells, mirrors, bells and ceramic beads.

{image_1}Every fad leads to experimentation and the shoe fashion is no different as creative minds work out ways to beat the ordinary and walk that extra mile. Noticeably, pom pom sandals and shoes are much in vogue now. And we were one of the early birds to catch this trend, shares a proud Toor, who had introduced her first line of pom pom-Kolhapuri collection back in 2012 and ever since, the trend has been in fashion.

Style becomes all the more fun when spun with an inventive twist. As footwear playsan important role in an ensemble, the task becomes all the more challenging to make it noticeable and yet comfortable to wear. ThemojarisandKolhapurishave always been a preferred choice by our customers while placing orders to team their traditional costumes and wedding outfits. So we took chances on this score and the results are showing! We simply attached thejutis andmojaris to heels and the Kolhapuris on high heels to induce that desiredhat keelement to a traditional tale. explains Toor.

For designer Neha Kumthekar (ofaccessible luxury brand Oceedee), the domestic wardrobe is finely complimented when worn with heel sandals, peep-toe wedges, a stylish double dorsay (the side or vamp of the shoe is cut very close to the sole in order to accommodate wider feet) pointed pump, customised in materials, namely metallic leathers, silk or satin textiles, besides glitter or in pastel colours. These options come handy as nowadays people are more forthcoming about adopting fusionfundas.

Footloose and fancy-free youngsters can happily pair up an ethnic piece with casual slacks, palazzos, denim jeans and a T, long dresses or skirts. This lends a nice feel to ones look, she suggests.

The streets of Kolkata are always abuzz with an abundance of traditional wares and their hawkers. Footwear is, of course, one such product to choose from a wide variety of shapes, sizes and shades on display over the crowded pavements or in plush stores. The roadsides of the long Esplanade stretch, shops in Chandni market or the famous Regal, Metro, Mochi outlets along the Grand Hotel arcade woo teeming customers from all spheres of life.

{image_2}Other big cities and metros do not lag behind in catering to the rising demands of an upscale clientele base or managing the differing tastes of the middle class consumers. The streetside shoe bazaar at Bengalurus Koramangala region or down the poshCommercial Street and Brigade Road markets, the conventional Lajpat Nagar market in Delhi, the busy hub of Crawford market and shops in the Colaba, Juhu, Khar, Chowpatty areas of Mumbai do brisk business with their eye-catching footwear stock.

Designer Pranay Baidya segregates the choices of footwear between men and women. Every woman needs a classic pair of gold wedges that flatters most outfits. However, much of the good work depends upon bespokezardozi-embroidered stilettos to add glamour to the ethnic look, he says.

For men, he feels, A few pairs of embroideredjutis or slip-ons in neutral tones of beige, burgundy and black would add sartorial elegance to even a simplekurta-dhotilook especially as home-grown fabrics form a vital part of the special occasion-oriented outfits.

When it comes to pricing, theres no doubt about the prevalence of a high-end luxury segment in footwear department. Nevertheless, the buyers can take heart in those low cost plastic shoes at their disposal. Its the safest bet in muggy monsoons.

In this season, footwear in golds, yellow, purple and silver are in demand, Toor says and votes for materials like vulcanized rubber to sport in the rains as that will help protect your feet from getting damaged. True, maintenance is a big headache in moist conditions and her tips in this regard would be to clean the shoes on a regular basis. Shoe-cleaners come in as gels, sprays, liquids or creams. One can even use a soft brush to remove the sticky dirt, mud or soil from the surface of the shoe.

Designing footwear exclusively for women, Kumthekar proposesPVC or Polyvinyl chloride (third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer) as an in-thing for this years monsoon. There have been some really interesting design innovations, courtesy this material, she informs. Usuallyapplied in the soles and upper layers of modern shoes, PVC footwear can certainly add that breezy spring to your step. From candy tones to translucent surfaces, PVC heels and pumps are already a superhit.

The footwear palette revs up the gloomy weather with pink, sea green, orchid blue, coffee browns, monochromes and metallics. Also add to this an exciting punch of prints for all finicky buyers to select from.

Imagination is unlimited. The more you stretch it, the deeper you can delve into developing your ideas with uniqueness. So if fabrics of clothes can be embroidered, why cant shoes? Our bridal collection therefore offers our patrons an option to get embroidery done on their footwear and accordingly customize the same to complement their outfits, shares Kumthekar.

While ethnic fashion is the current craze, bling and glitter grab attention enough to bring that shine to your shoes and take care of its essential glam-quotient. Metallic colours and bling with shimmery sequins and crystals on your footwear can definitely amp up the overall get-up to chic and dressy, echoes Toor.

Pic Courtesy: Shoe Designs by Aprajita Toor and Neha Kumthekar

(IBNS | 4 years ago)