Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nice, But Did You Check Her Shoes?

Wow; I happened to stumble upon this SJP flick called Striking Distance [Blu-ray] before Manolo became her leading man. I will now have to order it, seeing I caught it midway!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nectar of The Goddess

In this vast land of sisterhood called the blogosphere, I support and click my 130mm heels in celebration of those who are making a difference. At the top of my list is a West Coast spirit named Nwenna Kai, new author of the book The Goddess of Raw Foods

Following is my interview of her explaining her journey from vegan and raw food restauranteur to author:

TWHS: Define the term raw food.

Nwenna: Raw foods are raw organic fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

TWHS: So the person who is a raw foodist eats no meat?

Nwenna: There are raw foodists who eat fish, but for the most part a raw foodist does not consume anything derived from an animal.

TWHS: Has this been a lifestyle for you your entire life?

I became a vegan at age 14, after being influenced by Ghandi. But around age 24, I found myself sickly, suffering from migraines, vertigo, acne and constipation. I thought if I just had fresh juices and salads, I would feel better. I immediately felt the difference in three days!

So I began experimenting with recipes, and then I met a raw foodist in Chicago who gave me the inspiration to study the lifestyle.

So you're a self-taught raw foods chef?

Yes, and I decided to open my restaurant in Los Angeles after years of creating easy recipes with the help of a blender and hydrator.

Why the recipe book now?

After running the restaurant and catering for four years, I found myself burnt out and exhausted-

TWHS: It had evolved into a job?

Nwenna: Yes! So I closed the restaurant, did not answer e-mails or anything. I took a six-month break.

TWHS: In essence, you went through an emotional detox.

Yes, but I missed the connection I had with educating people about the raw foods lifestyle. So the book was the best way to teach people how to be healthier in a fun, easy way. The image most have of a vegan is so serious and restricted. I am not at all an extremist when it comes to a raw foods lifestylye!

TWHS: So for a person like me who is not a vegan, what would I get from your cookbook?

Nwenna: My recipes teach people how to eat better than they did yesterday. Raw foods help to detox your body, so my recipes are easy ways to incorporate healthier eating habits.

TWHS: Are your teachings being accepted within the African American community?

Nwenna: There is a huge resistance in our culture to healthier eating, due to deep-rooted customs and traditions. I find that to be very sad, because our people are willing to die for the taste of food.

TWHS: I'm sure you also get resistance from those who say buying organic is not realistic (or doable) in today's economy.

That is so untrue. Yes, organic produce is slightly higher than regular produce, but you don't have to go to the large chains like Whole Foods; most communities have their own home-grown farmers markets. And Mexican and Asian stores carry organic produce; they just don't promote it. And there is nothing wrong with growing your own garden...


We buy what we want, and beg for what we need... but the power to choose what we eat lies right in our own hands.

TWHS: What's next for The Goddess of Raw Foods?

Nwenna: I just came back from consulting an Australian vegan raw food restaurant for a month. It was a unique setup that featured a yoga studio, cafe and aerodynamic garden. Now that I am back in the states, I am working on a talk show, as well as more consulting.

What advice do you have for those looking to live a more vibrant life, vegan or not?

Mother Nature is stronger than all of us! She's a mighty, thriving entity- and she's not going out of business. She has the foundation for us to build gardens to feast from. The revolution starts at the dinner table.

For speaking opportunities, you can contact Nwenna Kai at her website and watch her create recipes here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Luxury Underfoot: Interview With Jerome C. Rousseau

Persee Bootie:
Rust suede with a 100mm gold leather heel

TWHS: What makes or breaks a woman's shoe choice?

Rousseau: The right shoe for a woman's outfit is actually effortless. How a women feels and presents herself (i.e. her clothes and attitude) are what really is behind a look. That being said, a woman knows what's best for her individual style.

TWHS: Out of all the music and movie starlets, who would you choose as a muse for a shoe design, and what would be the standout feature?

An incredible inspiration is the singer Elli of the 80's electro-pop duo Elli et Jacno. Her look was effortless, and there was a vulnerability about her. Another would be Kate Bush; a secluded English singer who had an unusual approach to style. For both, the shoe would have a distinctive, high heel, for they both had such unique styles. The shoe would be in rich colors, merged with textures.

TWHS: So the distinctive feature would be a statement heel?

Rousseau: Definitely!

TWHS: What is the number one shoe every woman should own in her collection?

The basic black pump is what everyone would expect. But the unexpected, frivolous, sexy- in other words, the "emotional" shoe!

TWHS: Out of all the icons, who would you consider to be the pioneer shoe designer?

Rousseau: Andre Perugia was the most incredible inventor of silhouettes, who began his innovative designs in France in the early 30's through the 60's.

TWHS: Are there any plans to open up Rousseau boutiques, either here in the states or abroad?

Rousseau: This has been quite a year; just this past February, I was launching my collection and presenting to buyers. So I feel very fortunate to have my passion translate to my luxury collection. For now, I am enjoying the collaborations with current boutiques who carry my shoes. As for my own boutique? In due time.

TWHS: Can I expect to see you at Mercedes Benz A/W '09?

Rousseau: Yes! Early February, I am scheduled to be there. I hope to meet you there!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Indulgence Without Guilt

Carol De Leon is not shoe obsessed. But as creative director for Devani Showroom in New York City, she is cognizant of the insatiable appetite women have with heels. From working with the top Italian designers to finding inspiration from her father's architectural background, De Leon is securing a well-heeled foot within the footwear industry.

TWHS: What were your first pair of heels?

De Leon: I wasn't able to wear heels, seeing that I attended a private Catholic school. So my memories are of penny loafers and the saddle shoes popular now. But when I began modeling at age 14, I was made to wear my first pair of heels for a fashion show. They were uncomfortable, pointy pumps that had a heel of about 120mm.

TWHS: So your career as creative director for shoes stems from being a reluctant shoe lover?

De Leon: I always loved fashion, so the four years I spent modeling in L.A. was to have a career in that field, not necessarily shoes.

TWHS: How many pairs of shoes do you personally own now?

De Leon: Oh, wow; I have three closets in my home. So I'd say around sixty pairs. But I make a point of purging; when I buy a new pair, I donate an older pair...

TWHS: You have given your father's career as an architect credit for inspiring your shoe designs. If you could interpret one building into a shoe, which would it be, and what would be the distinctive feature?

De Leon: Good question. I would choose the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown L.A., because I have fond memories of riding the elevator as a little girl. The five cylinder-style buildings have four that stand like pillars around the main building, with black and shiny windows look like black sequins.

TWHS: Opening your New York showroom in May must have been a gratifying experience. What is another significant moment within your ten-year journey from working with Italian shoe designers up until now?

De Leon: In my sample room in China, I was the only one with the experience of working in Italy, so I'd have to say building the Devani line. We were designing "shoes for now" by showing them to colleagues who I previously worked with in Europe, so my designs had the same level of Italian influence. I found myself sitting amongst technicians from Gucci and Prada while in China.

TWHS: How would you sum up Devani in three words?

De Leon: Indulgence without guilt! By that, I mean women love to purchase new shoes, but with my prices ranging between $140-$290, they will never have to sacrifice a bill or other necessity to buy a pair of Devani shoes. You'll get the same high-end quality of a pair of $800 shoes, without having to pay that price.

TWHS: What is the one style of shoe every woman needs in her collection?

De Leon: A sexy, strappy sandal, with a heel over 100mm.

TWHS: What should the first-time visitor to Devani expect when she walks in?

De Leon: An emotional reaction to the shoes. She will see something she wants instantly, in the sense of an emotional connection. She may already have her basic black pump, so she won't be shopping here to purchase another. But she will definitely see other pairs of shoes that she wants!

TWHS: What would you like Devani's contribution to the footwear industry be?

De Leon: Empowerment. With prices being reasonable, we give a woman the ability to afford to buy fashionable shoes. And the best part is she still feels great the next day.

Devani is located at 140 W57th Street, Suite 3A in New York City. The phone number is (212) 757-1705.