Nearly 8,000 customers across America weighed in on 23 designer shoes in the online Footwear News Sexy Shoes contest. The winning pair, by French footwear designer Christian Louboutin, was revealed during a special event on October 14 at the upscale New York department store Saks Fifth Avenue.
Louboutin took the grand prize for his Swarovski crystal-embellished Maralena mesh peep-toe pumps ($2445). With a towering crystal-encrusted stiletto heel measuring 5.5 inches (14 cm), the design beat out Valentino's studded snakeskin pointy-toe T-strap pumps, Roger Vivier's turquoise satin platform ankle strap sandal with velvet-lined satin rosette, and Sergio Rossi's nude suede gladiator sandal with crystals and plume among others.
Footwear News, a division of the fashion industry trade publication Women's Wear Daily, had organized the contest in partnership with Saks Fifth Avenue's 10022-SHOE department. With each vote, customers were entered in a sweepstakes to win a $1500 Saks gift card or one of the 20 $500 gift cards for Saks.
Voting was open to the public and took place online at Footwearnews.com/sexyshoes as well as at the 10022 SHOE boutique in the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York.
The runners-up in the contest included heels from Giuseppe Zanotti, Dolce & Gabbana and Jimmy Choo.
So what exactly makes a shoe sexy? London-based designer Manolo Blahnik, whose stilettos have been sported by fashion royalty Jackie Onassis and Princess Diana, told The Boston Globe that you have to have a hint of flesh. "You see hands all the time. You see faces all the time. But the toes, that's something you don't always see," said Blahnik. "A sexy shoe has open straps of leather on the foot. The most important thing is that you have to do it beautifully because if you show too much toe, it can be kind of vulgar."
Louboutin's winning peep-top slingbacks do just that. The mesh material gives a sensual transparence to the foot. Louboutin launched his line of high-end women's footwear in France in the early 1990s. The designer's ethos is to "make shoes that are like jewels" and his heels are renowned for their vertiginous stilettos, luxurious detailing, and trademark glossy red soles.
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