Black & White

Taking a page from the book of ubiquity re fall, our feet and how we might cloak them.


When I’d initially seen Celine’s pre-fall collection – yes, the streamlined, skinny grey trousers and burnt orange leather pleats were great – it was really the selection of black and white wedges that could easily pass as often-lamented flatforms-cum-creepers that intrigued me.

I couldn’t tell if I loved them or hated them but settled on the former based solely (ha!) on the mere fact that they vaguely reminded me of my all-time favorite Acne booties (titled the Atacoma). I’m still not sure if the Acne boots in question have championed the severe, detailed ringer I throw most shoes through simply because I’d first seen them while on vacation in Stockholm during my semester abroad in Paris (which remains my all-time favorite life period–see what I’m doing here?) but I do know that they continue to maintain their incipient position as The Ones That Got Away.

The thing is, those Acne boots were kind of ugly too.

Something Joseph Conrad speaks a great deal about in his 1899 novella, Heart of Darkness is fascination of the abomination, which is that thing where something/one/place is so savage, so grotesque, so downright barbaric that you can’t look away. I’m about to take some creative license here but sometimes, too, it seems that precise fascination of the abomination can cloud a person’s ability to truly decide whether she likes something or is just merely enthralled by it.

Comparing Celine loafers to a fictitious, critically acclaimed story chronicling life in the Congo is probably something of a stretch, isn’t it? Frankly, I could have settled on enthrallment if I hadn’t simultaneously began mentally calculating cost-per-wear and exactly how long it will take to pay for the creepers. Maybe that positions them as a combination of genuine amicability and fascination because even though the two are not mutually exclusive, they can go hand-in-hand.

In examining the shoes of my muddled dreams and engaging in what I’ll call hard hitting “market research,” I noticed something else. Never mind the actual shoe, it’s shape or what it can mean in conjunction with literary expertise. Phoebe Philo was clearly on to something in her deciding to resuscitate distant memories of previously popular, 1950’s-esque black and white saddle shoes. In a few clicks, I wrangled together at least ten additional instances marrying the two ubiquitous colors and summoning the rest of us to ying and to yang.

In slideshow order: 1-3 are Celine Pre-Fall.

4 is a pair from Saint Laurent available at Net-a-Porter (who are the Italian size 34’s targeted for if not Suri Cruise?)

5 is a pair by Marc Jacobs and currently on Yoox.

6 & 7 are Balenciaga’s most recent rendition of the Chelsey boot (now at Barney’s).

Slide 8 is care of Reed Krakoff (via Vogue)

9 is the suede, pump-ed up version by Gianvitto Rossi from Barney’s.

10 is a nod to Rochas from

And finally, in slide 11 Prada creepers giving the aforementioned saddle shoes a run for their lifespan.

Get more Personal Style ?
  • CarolinaG

    Love your blog!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • Nico

    Can I say that I hate the first one and others with flatforms?! But I love the one on the model!

  • maud.schellekens

    Not sure if I would wear it, however, think it is really cool!

    XOXO Maud


  • Abigail Mötley

    Excuse me Leandra, sorry to migrate off topic but what is the name of those heels in the background of slide 6? They are just utterly divine!

    • Leandra Medine

      They are Balenciaga!

  • I’m fixated not on the amazing shoes but on the whole idea of whether I like something or am enthralled by it. That is a very good question! And one I’ll keep with me for a long time.

  • marinacasapu

    Love the Marc Jacobs and Prada ones!

  • So maybe the reason that we dress more boring with age is because we’re no longer enthralled by anything?

    Very cool theory. Very cool.

    • Leandra Medine

      Like where your mind is taking you. That theory could also frame women like Anna dello Russo as victims (or a lucky few, actually) of Peter Pan syndrome

  • Shirley Li

    I absolutely agree with you. When I first began fascination with the fashion world and began to watch videos of NY fashion week and Paris fashion week, I had to question the sanity of some of these designers. What was it they were trying to accomplish? It seemed to me as if they were simply competing to see whose clothes were, and lord forgive me for saying this, oddest or ugliest. And now, sometimes I still can’t make myself sit through an entire fashion show but through bloggers I understand how to translate those pieces into the real world. To take one or two of those high fashion pieces and incorporate it into ones wardrobe and to wear it with ones own finesse is the purpose of all this.

  • jaclyn

    Love love love!

    Check my blog:

  • Not loving those flatforms.

  • Katerina

    I’m kinda feeling those 1st Celine’s, but because of this post, you’ve got me questioning myself!!

    It’s very true the whole “Is it ugly? or is it fashion?” questions we fashion lovers need to keep asking ourselves. Sometimes I look at certain pieces and think “Ya, that works!!” Until I turn to my husband, look at his face, and then respond with “You’re right, that’s hideous…” What to do in this crazy world of fashion?? Keep watching, keep talking, and keep loving or hating.

    On another note, I know for sure I do love the Acne booties. I can totally see myself pulling those off 😉

  • Eric Ruyak

    Love the shoes – they remind me of the huge Japanese school girl trend in the late 90s before they got all neon colored. Really cool article.

  • monkeyshines
  • similar to if it looks like a vagina it’s probably couture, if it’s heinous as fuck as somehow you still need it it’s probably high fashion.


  • 文章很好,期待有更好的作品.最近天气真热,烦躁!

  • Hayfa

    Slide 4 *-* And those balenciaga Chelsey boots *-*


  • Oh how I love the Chanel ones! Pure elegance.


  • Hiphunters
  • melisa

    What would happen if that was thorn at someone’s head? lol.. looks like it weight a ton. just kidding. Nice pair.

  • Alice

    Whenever I’m finally satisfied with the contents of my closet… Celine appears and fucks me and my credit card over

  • Lena

    nice model, but i’m not sure if i’d wear it.. it’s really massive.

  • Oh, yes! I remember the Atacomas! Those were some of the first shoes that really led me into the world of fashion. In fact, I still dream about them because they are the perfect combination of nostalgia and beauty. Maybe I’m just drawn to “ugly” shoes, but I just really don’t think they are that ugly. If anything, they’re the masterpieces that I hope to – at least – see in person one day, most likely in a museum that is the Acne Archives.
    By the way, how was Stockholm? I’m dying to go, the Scandinavians seem to have things down pat re: design, fashion publications, & benefits for working, pregnant women (and their husbands/boyfriends/partners)

    • Leandra Medine

      You know, they kind of serve that same purpose for me. Foray into fashion/consumption. Interesting.

      • Are we, in fact, cyber sisters (or rather, Sistahs) ?

  • CDJ

    If Mr. Rogers had a wife, I bet she would be sliding pair #4 on and off after she changes into her cardigan. Cue “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…”

  • Black and white never gets old!

  • diane

    Love the Chelsey boots! Something Twiggy or (my fave) Julie Christie would have worn while shopping at a Mary Quaint store in London circa 1964.

  • Ariel Robert

    I could live and die in those Balenciaga Chelsea boots.

  • mary sue

    The celine wedges are not for everyone, but they are for me. When wearing these it will be all about not fitting in.

  • Leandra Medine

    Or more specifically: it’s probably Celine

  • Megan Louden

    Love the Rochas. and p.s. you are hilarious.

  • Adam

    Nice blog, but I don’t like such design. I prefer shoes with much more colors than two 😀

  • Katie

    Leandra, Will you do a post on the “Celine girl” how to style outfits the Phoebe Philo way? It’s sometimes hard to find ways to wear the furkenstocks and pointy-toes Celine wedge from summer 2012 and I just need more inspiration. At first I thought baggy jeans but what top would I wear? How can I dress Celine up and down? I went to Goodwill and scored a pair of men’s baggy jeans to wear with the flats but what to wear on top? A halter? Please advise!

    • Leandra Medine

      A fitted t-shirt how about!

  • I really want some creepers and I definitely want to wear them. Just trying to mentally picture myself wearing them a thousand different ways before getting one. Ok maybe 10. 😛

  • Recent convert to platform brogues/creepers right here! The best thing a short girl can find. <3