Zara vs Gap

“If Gap wants to cater to a jeans and t-shirt customer, then do that, without mixing in Pierre Hardy shoes and ThreeAsFour dresses, but if they want to cater to a customer who cares about Philip Crangi and Rodarte, do that. They’ve overreached, leaving their customers, and apparently their own brand strategists, quite confused.”

Good analysis from Britt Aboutaleb over at Fashionista regarding the Gap vs Zara debate (Zara has overtaken Gap as the world’s largest fashion retailer). Poor old Gap.

Ferragamo Fever

When I was working in India on the launch of a new magazine, Salvatore Ferragamo was one of the international brands that kept pinging up on my radar – their spring-summer shoes were breathtaking and Ferragamo is quite big in India. On my return I proceeded to forget about them, until today. While on my round of appointments calling in for a forthcoming shoot, I came across these purple patent hotties and once home I (naturally) tried them on. Heaven! They have a slightly curved cone heel and a demi platform, yet don’t come under the ‘statement shoe’ umbrella because somehow they retain all their elegance and wearability, maybe because the uppers and ankle straps make them quite delicate. Ferragamo’s Vara bow pumps are already in the thick of a revival, with the baby sister version Varina (the flat one) now a cult hit with New York Gossip Girl wannabes and Japanese O-nee-kei girls alike.

My interest piqued, I decided to have a pootle and see what Ebay has to offer. Sadly, the beauties I’d lusted after on a weekly basis while in India were nowhere to be seen (but you can see a few here), however there were lots of affordable Varas including these AAAA ones (Ferragamos are known for being ultra-comfortable, due to their varied width fittings and going up to a more generous-than-average UK size 9), plus some sweet lace-ups from the quaintly-named Grecia’s Graciously Used Shoes.

Of course, back in the day, Salvatore Ferragamo was as hot a name as Louboutin is now, after all he did invent the wedge…

And in the ’30s and ’40s when the war made it difficult to obtain leather for shoes, he stitched together corks from wine bottles to make cork wedges. An eco early-adopter – who knew! This year is the 80th anniversary of Ferragamo and it’s all change at the house. Cristina Ortiz has taken up the baton as head designer following Graeme Black’s departure so I’m keeping a close eye on proceedings. In the meantime, I’m also keeping a close eye on these lovelies. All in the name of research you understand.

Can’t live without it

I’m loving this interactive part of The Photographers’ Gallery website. It’s an online exhibition called Can’t Live Without It and contributors are asked to upload their (maximum of) three favourite fashion items and write some blurb about them.

Zigs Black from Germany submitted this well-worn tee, “Summer 1998. I’m buying a pair of jeans from my favourite store for casual clothing. At the till, they give me this horrible T-shirt for free. Summer 2008. I still own the shirt with the silly inscription, and I’ve been wearing and washing it so often it’s falling apart.”

K.K from Estonia posted a secondhand bag, “Bought for about a pound from an Israeli second hand shop, this tiny thing is made of real leather and has a velvet lining. It can be used as an evening bag but it fits a whole world and then some.”

Rather poignantly, Anonymous Lady posted a wig, “I lost my hair a few years ago and so wigs play a big part in my wardrobe. This is one of three wigs that I regularly wear.”

The exhibition runs til 14th September.