Thursday, November 8, 2007

Patent Polish

Seville patent shoe boot with buckle trim and a 10mm, 3.9-inch heel from Jimmy Choo; $820. We've seen it here in New York, starting at the Jimmy Choo boutique (716 Madison Avenue, 212-759-7078), but we loved spotting it at Fred Segal (500 Broadway, Santa Monica, 310-451-2633).
By Ki Hackney

Some of the more provocative accessories to grace the runways for fall this year were of patent leather.

Coco beret in quilted black patent from Kokin (1388 Third Avenue between 78th/79th Streets, 212-628-1981). $352.
Take, for example Christopher Bailey’s over-the-elbow black patent leather gloves for Burberry. Or the wide, wide, wide cinch belt at Balenciaga. Prada even came up with ombré patent.

How about those ombre patent shoes for men? And, recently, Kokin added a black patent picture hat as big as a doorman’s umbrella to the display in the window of his shop at 79th Street and Third Avenue.

In a more practical vein, we like the new booties, the belts, the variations on patent ballerina flats, and tall spike-heeled pumps are flying out of the stores.
Clockwise from top left: Valentino Braided Bag, w/ front flap pocket, available at Bergdorf's for $1,950; Lanvin flat patent boot with flat heel, round toe, knee boot, available at Barneys for $890; Gucci Swing High Heel Wedge Pump, with ankle strap, 4 1/4" heel with light gold horsebit trim, available at Saks for $595; Yves Saint Laurent Uptown Patent Bag, Patent leather with metal frame with gold tone hardware, available at Saks for $1,895.
Diane B, between 80th/81st Streets on Third Avenue, for example, can not keep them in stock. Handbags cover the gamut from giant tote styles to a tailored little clutch, both of which are featured at Searle, in their store at 60th/Madison.

Accessories aren’t stealing the entire patent leather spotlight. Think short jackets with bell shaped sleeves and trench coats. They are perhaps more predictable, and while we are partial to shiny licorice styles, we like the bright colors, including fire engine red and silver.
Clockwise from top left: Salvatore Ferragamo Andrea Patent Oxfords, available at Saks for $450; Wide black patent belt from D&G (434 West Broadway, between Prince and Spring Streets, 212-965-8000); Piazza Sempione black/white color-block coat and red patent gloves, available at Bergdorf's for $330; SFA 8-button patent gloves, available at Saks for $198; Prada Linea Rossa Low Patent Leather Boot for men, available at Bergdorf's for $440.
Patent leather is leather with a lacquered or varnished finish. The process was developed in 1819 by Seth Boyden, a native New Englander who migrated to Newark, NJ, where he spent the rest of his life inventing things like malleable iron and a giant strawberry.
Red or black trench coat, from Searle (60th Street/Madison Avenue) for $698; Silver patent tab collar jacket with bell sleeve, from Searle for $598; Christian Louboutin Patent Leather Pump, peep toe, gold detail on insole, red sole, available at Bergdorf's for $560.
Jane Post for SFA, petrol, black or yellow slicker, available at Saks for $295.
D&G red patent trenchcoat, available at Saks for $1,110.
Badgley Mischka Platinum Label short silk/patent strapless cocktail dress, available at Saks for $650.
While it is glossy and glamorous, keeping patent leather that way has given rise to all sorts of remedies, including the use of petroleum jelly. It’s really very simple: just clean with a mild soap, water, and a soft cloth or use a special product, such as Aquila gentle cleaner from Urad. That’s all there is to it; until, of course, we catch a heel on a NYC sidewalk, scrape the toe or scratch the sides.

In the meantime, Let It Shine!
Clockwise from top left: Valentino's red patent leather Side Bow Clutch, at Bergdorf's for $895; Dark red patent tote by Charel, from Searle for $698; Oversized tote in black patent, from Searle for $498; Green patent clutch with snakeskin trim, from Searle for $238; Colorful patent leather clutches, from Searle for $238 each.