Patent leather starts parties

Sunday, November 28, 2004

NEW YORK -- One dressing dilemma is solved by patent leather: When you're headed out to a celebration of any sort, pull those shiny patent pumps out of the closet and you'll see the party has already started.

"There is something very celebratory and festive about patent leather," says accessories designer Kate Spade. "It goes back to the days of patent leather Mary Janes, which were your party shoes as a child."

But patent leather isn't limited to black and boring.

This season, Spade offers a classic patent pump shape with a matte satin ribbon in both black and a festive silver, and there's a patent sling-back sandal with a pink and black raffia flower for embellishment.

"I love the shine of patent leather mixed with a matte finish detail. The mix adds an element of sophistication to the surprise of patent," Spade says.

Patent leather isn't limited by season or trend, adds Reed Krakoff, president and executive director of Coach.

"Patent leather adds a unique dimension to handbags and accessories. Used as a subtle accent or a primary material, patent is both festive and fashionable," he adds.

Jimmy Choo's current collection features a pointy-toe, stiletto boot in bottle green-colored patent. A more delicate high-heel shoe with grosgrain bow detail is offered in baby blue and pink.

Tamara Mellon, founder and president of Jimmy Choo, says using patent leather in bright colors makes it a more versatile material.

"The great thing about these colors is you can dress them up or down -- they look beautiful with pants or skirts during the day, and they look sexy in the evening with short skirts," she says.

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