Studs give accessories a take-no-prisoners, biker-chic look. So it's probably best to give satin and lace the job of adding ladylike panache to handbags, bracelets, and shoes, right?
Not necessarily. Leave it to the beloved House of Valentino to turn a studded shoe into a fab, girly-girl must-have. This fall and holiday season, the Valentino Rockstud pump will take distressed denim to a classy level and further glam up the fit-and-flare cocktail dress.
Studs - like spikes and zippers, as well as buckles and chains - made their first foray into high fashion during the 1960s, when designers like Paco Rabanne used hardware to add edge to gowns.
During the 1980s, tough women from Cyndi Lauper to Grace Jones wore chunky boots and black leather jackets covered in studs - some pointy, some rounded.
In 2010, Valentino's then-new creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli introduced a kitten-heel, pointy-toe patent-leather pump on the brand's fall runway. Along the T-strap were tiny, rounded studs. It was so dainty. And the low heel was much more comfortable than the 4-inch stacked, platform shoes very popular then. It didn't take long for influential bloggers and celebrities to put the Rockstuds - especially the nude ones - into heavy rotation.
In the five years since Valentino introduced the Rockstud, it has become a staple in high-fashion circles. Nine West, Steve Madden, and even Payless offer shoes "inspired" by it. The studs have moved beyond pumps to higher heels and booties. And they are appearing on Valentino bracelets and cross-body bags, too.
It's been spotted on Philadelphians from Jade Okere, owner of Wayne boutique Jade's Closet, to Nicole Paloux, a very well-dressed publicist. The list of celebrities is endless and includes blogger Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, actresses Jennifer Lopez and Ashley Tisdale, and, of course, Kris Jenner and the entire Kardashian clan.
I didn't love the Valentino Rockstud at first sight, but after really staring at them - especially the black-and-white spectators - I fell hard. At $800 to $1,000 a pair, though, I can't. I'm all for buying reasonable facsimiles, but in the case of the Rockstud, I haven't found one that does the shoe justice.
Why not? Where else can you find a sexy, comfortable shoe that looks great with prints and solids?