Designer Free Living Explores Shoes


When I decided to go for a year designer free, the shoe category is what concerned me the most. I’m of the belief that the shoe makes or breaks the outfit, and with sandal season (my favorite shoe season) fast approaching I had to come up with some great alternatives to Gucci and Prada fast. My daughters will buy shoes from anywhere and I must admit they get a lot of look from Nine West and even H& M but they’re teenagers and I’m a grown-up who has been a shoe snob since I purchased my first pair of designer shoes in the eighties, a pair of cone heeled, fuschia suede, Maud Frizon sling backs. I loved those shoes and can still clearly picture them today down to the purple metallic piping.

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M. Gemi Fronzolo in gold, top photo M.Gemi Vettore

The less expensive companies often get the styling right but the lower quality can be a buzz-kill so I was thrilled to discover the online, direct to consumer Italian company, M. Gemi. The company is named after the founder Maria Gangemi, an Italian woman who learned her trade from the best makers of luxury Italian footwear. With roots in Florence the company partnered with the top family owned factories to develop limited edition, of the moment styles. By selling directly to consumers they can deliver the same high quality you expect from your favorite designers at less than half the price. They offer free shipping and returns, and currently have a pop-up store in Soho on Wooster Street where you can try on the shoes and order there. Pictured are two of my favorites. I noticed things sell out fast and they are constantly adding new styles so check in often and don’t wait if you like something.

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Mango metallic crossed sandal

I’ve never purchased shoes from Mango but I’m impressed with the styles currently offered on their web site for next to nothing. The metallic crossed sandals are clearly an homage to the Gucci mule, but I have to admit they look pretty great and are a cool 500 dollars less.

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Mango wood heeled mule

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Simple low heeled mules are a must have for spring and this style from Mango with the wood ball heel is one of the best I’ve seen anywhere.

Marc Fisher
Marc Fisher Platform

With pink as the color of the season I’m sure these Marc Fisher platforms will get plenty of play. They also come in black, beige and mismatched denim and are currently on sale online.