Thursday, February 19, 2015

No Holds Barred: Forever Young

No Holds Barred: Forever Young
By Blair Sabol

It seemed the perfect time to go to L.A. It was pre-Awards season! I needed a laugh. As Uma Thurman begins to follow Renée Zellweger with lasering her face off, and Bruce Jenner continues to broaden his transgender brand for reality show purposes, his own “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” L.A. is the home of “morphing ... Maybe I needed that in my own way.
What L.A. brings up for me is the subject of aging, since this town is the land of “forever young.” In the last year I have decided that all a woman over 65 years old needs to feel fashionably safe and secure is a good haircut. Bill Blass once said after age 60, “a woman must get her hair cut to chin level; anything longer and she looks like a Basset Hound” — plus sensible shoes, a great scarf and/or decent jewelry, and a wonderful pair of eyeglass frames. Clearly aging gracefully is in the details — not the clothes!

Madonna dressed in a matador costume, fishnets, a thong, spikes, and a “butt bra.”
The scarf and jewelry everyone can do, but the shoes — that’s a serious problem. I don’t understand Louboutin spikes after 60 — or even after 50 for that matter. And if you don’t get what I am talking about, look at Madonna at the recent Grammy’s. She might be an extreme example, but not really: 56 years old, dressed in a matador costume, fishnets, a thong, and a “butt bra.” As the saying goes: “Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should do it.” She can’t, and she shouldn’t. Ever. Her spike heels prevented her from doing a decent dance routine. She teetered from step to step. Her entire presentation was shaky and moldy. A bad sign of irrelevancy and desperation.

But back to shoes for the advanced agers, and I don’t mean “space shoes” or Neutralizers or Aerosoles. Actually the Queen of England and Margaret Thatcher choose Ferragamo pumps (even Meryl Streep admitted that she got into playing Thatcher instantly just by wearing the Ferragamos). The only shoe that doesn’t look like Dame Edna! “Sensible shoes” they call it, but Ferragamo is the original in taste and class. They have done the same cut and low stack heel for years; choose your color and leather.

But boots present a problem. Too clunky and you look like an aging Mammy Yokum biker. Too high and you look like you are appearing in Bravo Housewives or a member of an escort service.

Enter Madison in Brentwood Village (171 South Barrington Place, To be clear, there are at least two other Madison stores in L.A., and they sell high-end clothes, estate jewelry and shoes. But ... it is Madison Brentwood that is the mecca for chic-ery (more footwear), be it celebs or schlubs with style.
Madison Brentwood is a cut above all the other Madisons!
David Assil is at the helm and he is committed to stocking select HANDMADE styles (way past Barney’s on this topic) from France and Italy. And soon it will be shoes only.

But ... it is sales manager Rasheda Thompkins who really shines. I got her name through a well known actress, contacted her, and last Fall she actually sold me a pair of Officine Creative booties over the phone (unheard of for me). She had the sensitivity to listen to my foot and balance issues, and bad toe problems. She immediately got it, emailed me pictures and FedExed her choice based on our conversation. We solved the problem ... overnight. Not even Zappos can do that! Done and delivered!
Madison Store Brentwood executive David Assil. Madison Brentwood store manager and shoe saleswoman deluxe Rasheda Thompkins.
When I finally met her, I decided she is not only a smart beauty, but also a real shoe “therapist.” Sure, Hilary Swank was just in the store before me and bought up some Officine Creative’s as well. Susan Sarandon followed me and got her lace less Oxfords (and some Brentwood matrons came in between and scooped up Miu Miu sneakers). But Rasheda handled me with the same VIP attention. This is the neighborhood shoe store extraordinaire and Rasheda is The Star! She even outfitted my driver with a pair of handmade Italian leather shoes. He didn’t think twice at the $725 price tag. Once you try on handmade leather shoes — the party is over ... and so are the age and foot problems, if you get fitted right.
My favorite bootie of all time from Madison Brentwood: Officine Creative handmade.
Popular Officine Creative laceless Oxford. Soul of Officine Creative laceless Oxford. Handmade for $795.
Inside label of Officine Creative oxford.
Hilary Swank's favorite spring/summer bootie from Officine Creative at Madison Brentwood.
The most popular winter boots sold at Madison Brentwood are Fiorentini and Baker (Halle Berry's faves).
Popular Officine Creative handmade wedgie.
Men's Officine Creative shoes.
Now Madison is very well known in L.A. for “women who create their own styles” (not just the celebrities). Assil and his team keep a tight eye on their particular market and stock Silvana Sassetti, Calleen Cordero, and Gianvitto Rossi as well. There are wearable styles with a giant edge – but not off the cliff. Madison (Brentwood) is on everyone’s “Must See” list. I get it!
Madison Brentwood Cordero sandal.
An early shipment of spring sneakers.
From the Sublime to the ridiculous – I danced out of Madison in Brentwood and over to Payless to get the latest in sneaker rip off at $14. What with the latest craze in everyday sneakers and Nike issuing their Pharrell Williams high tops in gold for $250 – doesn’t it pay to go to Payless for that level of silliness? Payless had Champion “Gusto” Runners in all colors (and yes, some high tops) for $14 - $34. Talk about walking the talk – it was like buying gumdrops for your feet.
Hollywood Headquarters for cheap fashion shoes.
So I got my aging feet handled in L.A .from top drawer to bargain basement. And Zappos and Amazon are one thing, but Rasheda at Madison is a “religious experience” because it is about service – and who does that anymore… even at high-end stores? And one more thing about the Madison episode – I didn’t have any month later “buyers remorse.” I tested the booties last fall, actually had to gallop up Madison Ave and I wore them every day. They survived the test run and I didn’t fall – or teeter – once!!
A twofer popular walking shoe at Payless for $29.99 (in dayglo colors).
My favorite $14 Payless walking shoes!
Since it was L.A. Awards season I was aware everyone seemed to be living on the “Serenity Tonic” from Kreation. It is a concoction of lemon juice, agave, turmeric, ginger, and cayenne pepper. I tried it in a shot glass and my big toe arthritis magically disappeared. This isn’t a detox drink — this is an anti-inflammatory. Don’t we all need that?
Juice of the moment ... for the Awards season.
The other great device some pals in L.A. turned me onto is Correct Toes. Yes, they are toe stretchers but different than those clunky pedicure or yoga toe “separators” that rip your joints out of alignment. Of course they profess to cure everything from arthritis to plantar fasciitis — everyone has that, to divorce. But they are worth the $65 because you can actually wear them in some shoes.
The overall best TREATMENT for all foot problems from plantar fascial to bunions. They can be worn with shoes.
I don't leave home without my Correct Toes ... a must-have for all "old broad feet."
Lastly are my Eyebob frames I found in LA’s now defunct Fred Segal a year ago. Eyebobs are indeed everywhere and online ( But I believe they are the most successful reader eyeglass company because they are so high end funky. Owner/creator Julie Allinson has done really well for herself (in Minneapolis?! far from the “fashion” insanity) creating inventive frames that are nowhere near drugstore dullness.
The full Velvet Underground collection from Eyebobs ... and sequin case!
Her team puts out a seasonal sales announcement that is Comedy Store caliber writing! “Irreverent and slightly jaded” is Eyebob’s motto. Maybe, but I have been stopped continually on the street about these glasses. I bought the “Velvet Underground” frame in every color and dress around them. Julie has said her line is about “quality with a little humor mixed in.” Iris Apfel, Andrew Zimmerman and many others are Eyebob fans — and icons.

Eyebob gave me an instant style! No clothing designer ever did that for me. And I didn’t need massive Botox injection or laser smoothing to wear them. Talk about an instant face-lift! As I said, The Fashion God is always in the details!!
Blair and Sunshine in velvet Eyebobs.
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