Monday, 17 March 2008

Gladiator sandals - extreme caution advised

It's the new shoe style that is set to become a part of everyone's shoe collection this summer. Be they high-heeled or flat, mat black or metallic, thigh high or ankle high, thanks in no small part to the magic touch of Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga, this season's gladiator sandals have gone over the dark side.

Out with the keen, in with the mean - last year's Topshop gladitiators and this year's version from Balenciaga

When people referred to gladiator sandals last summer they more than likely meant the flat, cross-over Jesus sandals that were ever so popular at Topshop but this summer they are more likely to be referring to these faux-snakeskin panelled beauties currently on sale at Oli.

So the new gladiator sandal - how can you tell it apart from your common or garden variety, namby-pamby sandals, or strappy heel? Well, it all comes down to attitude. It's Amazonian warrior chic run amock, a sudden rush of testoterone to the head. It's as far away from hippy chic, peace and love that you can get without lobbing a hand grenade at a peace sign.

If your sandals immediately make you feel like picking up a rather large sword and killing a lion , if upon wearing your gladiators you begin growling deep in your throat and preparing for war, if you feel a sudden urge to lop off your right breast, then you're in this season's must-haves.
Not glad to be girlie - La Redoute blue, £27; Nine West snakeskin, £55

On the other hand, if your sandals come in a floral or any other pattern, if they have even a hint of pastel or come in any colour other than black, if you feel dainty and girlie when you wear them or they make you feel like tripping the light fantastic or indeed make you think of the phrase "tripping the light fantastic", chances are they are not.

This season's gladiators are mean, they're tough, they're kickin ass and taking names. You don't giggle in them, you scowl. They're not so much a case of Cinderella going to the ball as Cinderella getting some balls. So now you know what you're looking for, go get your shoes and knock 'em dead.
Mean time - (from left) ASOS demi-wedge platform, £40; Schuh platform, £49.99; Miss Sixty studded, £110; Bertie knotted flat, £55, Shellys elastic strap

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I like pretty dresses, high heels, the colour red and good writing.