Signature Style has history in the Pixie

Meet Pixie
Meet Pixie

Meet Pixie a pointed-toe flat mule, created on a vintage 1980 last (Ah memories of my wanton youth). Pixie is my first foray into working with soling weight leather. What an experience. The leather I have is thick with a veg tan finish. I think it will make for a sturdy sole, but boy is it hard to cut. After using my scalpel (too weak), a 45mm rotary cutter and leather scissors (both hard to control on curves and often crushed rather than cut) and my regular utility knife, I was defeated.

Pixie sole
Pixie sole

I couldn’t imagine how I would be able to do it. My hands hurt and were a bit numb. I wallowed in self-doubt and self-pity for about a minute and then did what any self-respecting maker would do – I went took a tour on the internet to see what I could dig up. Someone suggested an Olfa Heavy Duty Utility knife with heavy duty break off blades. Thanks to Amazon Prime, I got my new knife/blades, a 60mm rotary cutter and blades for the 60mm and 45mm the next day. I also got an electric rotary cutter, but I haven’t tried it yet.

The rough edge gave me an opportunity to learn about edge finishing. The insole on this baby is another piece of lighter weight leather. Between the 2 pieces and the heel, I was able to learn to bevel edges, sand and burnish edges. I got to experiment with my Dremel tool which proved to be a life saver.

Pixie Glued
Pixie Glued
Pixie Lasted
Pixie Lasted

This shoe is 4 component pieces and again I was working with all cement construction. I knew I wanted a nice finished edge to the upper so I got to incorporate topline tape and I repeated that folded edge that mimics a sewn edge with the construction. Here you can see the folded top edge and skived edges of the upper ready to be glued over the last to the French Beveled insole. ( Another tool in my tool kit!)

Several wrappings and edge finishings later Pixie debuted. Even with a few warts (I need to get the upper flatter to connect more seamlessly with the sole), I love her shape, style and spunk. She’s mine to test as we transition into Fall. I definitely need some more work on cutting veg tan sole material and finishing these edges. The only way to get better is to do it, so I carry on.

Shoe Pop at International Pop

shoe pop Delila doble plataforma 1967
Delila doble plataforma 1967

Shoe Pop at the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s new exhibit, International Pop.

There’s not much fashion included, but this display sure does make a statement. Created by Argentinian artist, Dalila Puzzovio in 1967 as a reaction to the lack of response to trends in Argentinian Fashion, these colorful shoes were an avante-garde, contemporary couture contrast to the usual (at the time) black and brown styles of the day. The award winning sculpture was displayed in the windows of Argentinian shoe chain, Grimoldi, the perfect foil for blurring the lines between mass-production and Art.

These baby are certainly part of the shoe vernacular today.

International Pop February 24, 2016 – May 15, 2016



Aladdin Vintage Lovelies – more foldable shoes

I went to meet a few friends for dinner on Sunday. It was a beautiful day and I arrived a few minutes early. I was strolling East Passyunk to see what what new. Right across from the restaurant is a vintage store called Mesh Vintage. What better place to kill 10 minutes.

vintage slides
“I dream of Genie”

Mesh has a nice variety of vintage and lots of shoes. The shop owner had featured some vintage foldables in an armoir, so I went over to inspect. I was transported to my mother’s closet and the foldable evening slippers she had. Of the several pairs (all in my size) I found these beauties. I Dream of Genie here I come. The image is a bit off. These are bright gold leather slides with about a 1″ wedge heel. My size, $5 – I had to have them. They just brightened my day.

Caged shoe drawing
Badass & Beautiful

What a great inspiration for my shoe designs as well. I must be channeling this toe shape somehow. Remember this design from last summer? There is quite a bit of Asian influence here from the heel to the toe cap. I hadn’t been thinking of Aladdin or I Dream of Genie consciously, but I guess it was in there somewhere. Maybe I’ll try a variation on this in my summer flats.


alladin shoes
Perfect with harem pants

These are a bit out of character for me – I’m not really into Asian inspired styles. What you can’t really see is that these are bright gold – also not my aesthetic. But these beauties will be perfect with all the pant trends this season – harem, cropped, cuffed. They are lightweight and foldable although I won’t fold them. They will head with me on my travels and each time I wear them I’ll remember my mom’s closet and how much I enjoyed watching her dress for evenings out.

Update 4/12/15: I’m definitely channeling something!
Check out these non-western images from the The Robert and Penny Fox Historic Costume Collection at Drexel.

Shoes for your pocket – the foldable shoe

I’ve been working on a project with an inventor that requires a foldable shoe. If I tell you about it, I’ll have to kill you. It’s TOP SECRET – very hush, hush.

Mod silver foldable flat Circa 1960
Mod silver foldable flat Circa 1960

What can I share with you? It has prompted me to re-visit and research various options.  These are nothing new. I remember my mom having them as evening shoes when I was a child. These were not shoes for the pocket. They had a leather sole and 1/2″ heel. The heel folded into the toe and the shoes were in a clear plastic bag that was merchandised on a hanging rack in department stores. I remember a pair my mom had vividly as royal blue and gold brocade with a squared off pointed toe. Here’s similar style I found through a Google Image search.

My beat up "there's no place like home" sparkly, red snakeskin foldables from H&M.
My beat up “there’s no place like home” sparkly, red snakeskin foldables from H&M.

In recent years, the foldable ballet flat has been in vogue. These are available at various price points. CVS had a great, inexpensive rollable model that everyone I know loved. For some reason, they have discontinued the product. Dr. Scholl’s offers Fast Flats. AliExpress has lots of choices. H&M offered some styles several years ago and of course there is the Ballasox by Corso Como.

Ballasox weatherproof leopard by Corso Como
Ballasox weatherproof leopard by Corso Como


This is a versatile product and the styles offered are getting more varied and fashionable. Many are even weather proof – perfect for those April showers. Find your special pair now.