Mary Wells: From Stems to Sunglasses to Sparkles


It was a surprise as I traveled around and also called my favorites but they mostly  agreed: If you are pulling back this Christmas, the chicest, hippest, coolest gift one woman can give another will be: SHOES.

These days the great new shoes are expensive — for just a pair of shoes. But they are not expensive for a luxurious Christmas gift. And shopping for great shoes is one of life’s best shopping days. You can delight a great friend with fabulous shoes at Christmas. I’ve photographed a sampling of mildly mad shoes for you – Eastern radiance from Manolo Blahnik; the knife shape that you see as a design element in everything a woman can wear this Fall shows up in a Prada black shoe; Chanel does its version of the short saucy black boot that will flood the streets this winter; and Chanel stacks a silver shoe modeled after a harem that is very easy to dance in.

Buying shoes this season is like going to the theater with the appearance of red feathers, art-deco jewels, stained-glass toes, stainless spike heels, rockabye platform soles that you need to learn to wear. Roger Vivier has created feather stilettos that are works of art you can hang on your wall when you take them off and Jimmy Choo has Roman gladiator sandals with soaring heels that must be the sexiest shoes of the season – these are expensive flights of fancy that will send a woman’s spirit soaring – that’s a huge gift to give a true friend who will always remember how hip she must appear to you by your choice of shoes for her.

And sunglasses have become sculpture. Chanel has a pair with red rim glass and quilted black stems that are killers. Dolce & Gabbana have the big dark ones you see being chased by paparazzi and Bottega Veneta has the most expensive-looking ones — like their beautiful handbags. 

I am saving my little luxuries in jewelry report for later in the season but I did see a necklace that a friend of mine is creating of Tiffany diamond stars collected like charms on a charm bracelet — on a white-gold chain and I was captivated. The stars are light (something over $4,000 each) but they are not small and they sway twinkling on a simple chain looking so new, so spiritual, so different I can’t get them out of my mind. My daughters want Frank Gehry’s silver bracelets or Elsa Peretti’s serene round lacquer pendants — not inconsiderate hopes — so I know I will be going back to Tiffany so I can see those diamond stars again. As I am one of those who hope to be among the first to move to the moon a simple necklace of stars would not be incompatible.   

Check back next week for more on the Gypsy’s Luxe List …

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