City slickers take a shine to high-gloss accessories
Chain-link bag, $29.99, Aldo Accessories
Yes, years ago it was considered a summer item — it was a way to lighten up black accessories to go with lighter clothes. It’s also been associated with little girl Mary Janes and the 1960s’ mod look.
This year, though, patent is sophisticated. And cool — even wintery.
It’s also coloured. In addition to black, shoppers will find patent leather accessories in white, navy, red and camel.
“This patent leather is not aggressive, not for power,” says accessories guru Kate Spade. “It’s for fun, for crispness, for shine.”
With fashion taking a turn toward the more subdued — with notably little embellishment — the gleam of patent leather adds an extra bit of interest to an outfit, she adds.
It’s more versatile than one might think.
Spade says it certainly can be dressy, especially in a dark coloured shoe with a high heel. But it also can be casual if the shoe is a flat. “I imagine it with skinny cigarette pants and a khaki trench coat. Then there’s the pop of a patent flat.”
Another way to get that splash of shine is on a handbag. Spade says she’s currently carrying a large, square shopper-style bag with patent leather trim and a patent snake clutch inside — both her designs, of course.
“The simpler the better when it comes to patent leather,” advises Bill Blass designer Michael Vollbracht, who is launching a collection of Blass-branded shoes for spring. A patent-leather sandal with a metallic heel was featured prominently during the recent spring preview runway show.
There was some shine to the clothes and the patent leather helped continue that thought, he explained. “I wanted the shoe to be an extension of the leg. The best shoe — one made by Coco Chanel — was nude coloured with a black tip. It made the leg look long and the foot small.”
The allure of patent leather is that it always looks new and fresh, but, he adds, it’s a little risky to use white patent leather because no one wants the foot to get all the attention.