At a recent visit to my nail salon over the weekend, I chanced upon the showing of Sabrina — the Billy Wilder original with gamine goddess Audrey Hepburn and sullen-yet-charming Humphrey Bogart. A tender moment was shared by both as Hepburn took a domestic turn, donning an apron over her all-black ensemble, lovely-looking in cushion-ballet flats. Many have credited the style icon with popularizing simple, wearable elegance — being a former dancer and reed thin were probably a big part of this. All throughout the movie, Hepburn traipses, twirls and lounges around in either kitten heels or sleek ballet flats, nothing scarily high or back-breaking, which led me to yet another spring shoe cleaning when I got home. I do love the added inches a good pair of wedges or sexy stilettos gives me but a hectic schedule keeps me on my feet for most of the day, and I thought that investing in plushy flats would keep my peds (and my spine) in better condition in the long run.
So I was a woman with a mission for my Audrey Hepburn moment — well, at least, for my overworked feet. First stop was checking the malls and I came across Spare Soles, a China-made “pleather” flat that rolled up into a pretty matching pouch. These were great to stuff in one’s workbag, gym bag, or even car for those days when activities had you up and about from sun-up to sundown. The Metro model (P1,298) came in a variety of colors from solid basics like red and black to a more texturized faux reptile and leopard and even a rather over-the-top metallic gold, silver and bronze. One could really go for something subtle or eye-catching with a snug fit. For extra fun, there were also detachable jewel shoe clips (P698) that you could add-on for variety or for extra glam. I loved how one shoe could now look like two or even three different ones, a great way to economize and glamorize at the same time.
Next stop was the worldwide web. I soon had my sights on the flats on offer from Suelas, which has a social economic conscience to boot, since it has an existing partnership with Gawad Kalinga (GK); its shoe pouches are made by GK Payatas Trese Printers. Its malleability had me intrigued as it cheerfully challenged me to “Flatten It, Fold It, Roll It,” indicating that it was made out of a more durable material but still very wearable. The company actually did an online survey or “crowd-sourcing” to find out which designs they should produce. The top three winners resulted in the Impreso line (P1,799) made out of genuine sea snake leather and coming in shades of red, brown and (my personal choice) natural. I placed my order and decided, since I was online already, to continue my surfing to see what else the online marketplace had in store.
The brand Anthology showed up on my e-radar and they had both brights and neutrals to choose from. I was debating whether to go green with Cannes (P3,295) or get the always reliable, goes-with-everything fawn or camel colors of the Milano (P3,295). The company was started in 2007 and although the shoes were manufactured locally, high-end materials such as Italian leather were used. I finally clicked on a pair (with the very mature eeny-meeny-miney-moe routine of deduction) and left it in the hands of the gods of cyberspace. Both brands online available have gotten rave reviews from other friends who had also gone on a shoe binge after too many high heel mishaps had took their toll. Within 48 hours, I found myself a proud and rather excited owner of several new pairs of ballet flats. I slipped them on, enjoying them wrapping my foot like a hug and cherished having a more solid connection with gravity as I strolled around. With their different makes, colors and textures, with the added bonus of jewel-like clips to keep me interested, I am comfy and channeling Sabrina until the call of the wedge comes for me again.
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Spare Soles and Shoe Clips are available at Tru, Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati. Suelas and Anthology available online at ava.ph.