Oh Vara!

Oh Vara!

>> There are too many instances of me extolling the various pleasures of Salvatore Ferragamo's Vara shoe.  Put Ferragamo in the search bar and ye shall find many oldy-woldy Style Bubble pics back in the days when I favoured a knee high sock and talked about wardrobes requiring cogs.  I still think everyone's basics or essentials can wildly differ from person to person (for instance, does EVERYONE need a perfect white shirt?  Not if you're prone to spag-bol-sauce spillage like me you don't…) but the Ferragamo Vara has a clever way of slipping into so many style contexts without shouting out its presence.  I remember many a Teen Vogue editorial where some coltish actress would be wearing them with prom dresses, sparking my mini obsession circa 2004 with typing "tulle strapless prom dress" into eBay – that quickly ended when I realised my boobs wouldn't be able to hold said dresses up.  Since then, I've seen Varas on Japanese Lolita girls normally in battered up white.  I've seen them worn with ripped up jeans and a band t-shirt on one end of the spectrum and on the other, architectural Celine trousers and a voluminous top.  The Vara is a veritable shoe cog, which can either smarten up and pull together an outfit or dress down something extravagant or directional.       

It has to be said, I didn't cultivate a Vara addiction because I could afford to fling ¬£300 or so on countless pairs of shoes.  I rewind to Susie circa 2004 and all I avidly did do was search for old Vara's on eBay, where I got my first three pairs.  Subsequently, ten more came to me through charity and vintage shop finds (the ones in Kensington and Chelsea always have Ferragamo's knocking about) and finally the real shebang bought in Ferragamo stores, where the cream carpet setting is almost too pristine to welcome the riff-raff likes of me.    

Therefore, I was surprised to be asked to participate as part of Salvatore Ferragamo's super-official, super-elegant L'Icona project where 21 girls from around the world were photographed by esteemed Vogue alumna photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank, wearing their own customised pair of Varas.  The list of participants reads like a Tatler party page and it's clear I'm something of a red herring on that list.  Hey, I'll take that token Chinese Vara fan girl and run with it because of my unerring love for this shoe.  I'm super chuffed with the resulting portrait namely because it combines a) a rainbow Vara cornucopia, which out-did my own personal collection of scuffed n' well-worn Varas b) a 200% gorge townhouse and b) an opportunity to reflect my own ways of wearing the Vara with my own clothes.  It was a no-brainer to match up the turquoise of the shoe up with a Meadham Kirchhof jacket, the Jonathan Saunders knit and an old Balenciaga skirt.  

The L'Icona site also ties in with Ferragamo's introduction of a Vara/Varina customisation site which I've been dying to try out since I first heard it was in the pipeline a few years ago.  It didn't throw out neon shades of yellow or latex bows like it did in my dreams but it does have a well-thought out palette to choose from for the body of the shoe and then quite delicious combos for the heel and the bow (they both have to be the same colour…) as well as hardware options you're violently anti-silver or anti-gold.  I suspect it's a work in progress though to bring Ferragamo out of its well-heeled self to truly embrace the infinite possibilities a classic shoe like the Vara can withstand.  That said, maybe it's that "Mum's the word" quality which keeps me coming back.  They happen to be the sort of shoes which my mum duly approves of, even if she's not quite sure about what's going on above the ankles.  












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  1. Oscar

    2013-05-15 at 3:06 PM

    Love this! Perfect look, plus a perfect shoe!

  2. laststraggler

    2013-05-15 at 3:49 PM

    Such a classic shoe. Feels like its been around forever but loving the modern take with the colours. Oh and love your outfit – every single piece- the jacket, skirt and of course the shoes!

  3. laststraggler

    2013-05-15 at 3:57 PM

    Ps your pic is my fave out of the others- you injected some colourful London life paired with chic Italian style!http://thelaststraggler.wordpress.com/2013/05/14/rebecca-minkoff-birthday-treat/

  4. The Eleganter

    2013-05-15 at 4:40 PM

    Wow, amazing picture! These are my favourite shoes in the world, my grandmother wore them, my mother wears them and now I wear them. They are absolute classics and will never go out of fashion.
    Your picture is my favourite so far, I love the pop of colour and those shoes against that lotions rug, so young and fun.
    Will be asking for a pair of these for my birthday!

  5. sewa mobil

    2013-05-15 at 5:06 PM

    Very nice, thanks for sharing.

  6. Sarita

    2013-05-15 at 7:43 PM

    I love the colors you customized for your shoes! Blue is my all time favorite color.

  7. FripperyVintage

    2013-05-15 at 7:56 PM

    Love your photo amazing! I got my first pair when I was going off to college in the late 80’s!

  8. DStone Magazine

    2013-05-15 at 8:15 PM

    Those shoes look super cute!

  9. Jennifer

    2013-05-15 at 8:42 PM

    Having stopped by your blog many times before but I didn’t truly and madly fall in love with you, ur style and especially ur personality until I watched your interviews on youtube and I have been watching them for hours now. You are soo cute, such a lovely person with impeccable style. Keep up the good work, darling! <3

  10. Mafalda

    2013-05-15 at 9:02 PM

    Me want!!!

  11. Shini

    2013-05-15 at 10:41 PM

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME. This is the best thing like ever.

  12. Rhoda Wong

    2013-05-16 at 12:26 AM

    you look really good in the shot!

  13. Chloe

    2013-05-16 at 3:07 AM

    I have a white vintage pair of Vara’s. I’ve had a hard time figuring what would go with them…any tips?

  14. russiankiwi

    2013-05-16 at 3:29 AM

    Beautiful photos 🙂 Those candy coloured shoes look positively delicious.

  15. Avellia

    2013-05-16 at 6:41 AM

    oh my, what a gorgeous shoes to have Miss Aa

  16. Royal Wang

    2013-05-16 at 12:39 PM

    you are the best writer and your fashion editing is impressing

  17. Yam Poppy

    2013-05-16 at 12:42 PM

    Wow! Cute:)
    I want LAVENDER!

  18. Trendstop.com

    2013-05-16 at 12:56 PM

    Love the look, putting a color pop spin on a modern-classic shoe and accidentally perfectly coordinating jacket!

  19. jack stud

    2013-05-16 at 5:25 PM

    WoW this is sooo sponsored by Ferragamo!!!

  20. vanessa d

    2013-05-16 at 6:24 PM

    Love the inspiration, the palette of colors and the desing!! Timeless shoes!

  21. M

    2013-05-16 at 6:31 PM
  22. Lisa

    2013-05-16 at 7:31 PM

    Love the look. Would die for the chance to be a part of one of these projects in the future. Lucky girl!

  23. milex

    2013-05-17 at 1:05 AM

    Oh yes. You never looked better and I am the guy who love heels

  24. Brigadeiro

    2013-05-17 at 1:31 AM

    I find Vara’s so cute, but never feel I could pull them off for some reason, surprisingly they suit you so well!

  25. The Style People

    2013-05-17 at 9:42 AM

    I absolutely love this blog, I read it all the time and I’m so inspired by it. I love your style of writing and reporting about the places you’ve been to and the people you’ve met. You’re like a style journalist.

  26. McKenzie

    2013-05-17 at 12:48 PM

    I love them! No wonder you got addicted to these cute and fun shoes 🙂 The white ones are so pretty and pure!

  27. Vivian

    2013-05-18 at 7:48 AM

    So beautiful this picture of you!! The whole setting, you, the clothes everything is beautiful!

  28. Stacey Kelly

    2013-05-18 at 11:48 PM

    i love that first photo! so playful & fun. the flats are perfect, such a classic.

  29. Second Floor Flat

    2013-05-19 at 12:18 PM

    Ugh, yes please – just need to save a bit first 🙂

  30. Aquaruby

    2013-05-20 at 12:40 PM

    Gorgeous! Hard to choose which colour I prefer though

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