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Hey Guys: The It Shoe Arriveth

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2nd Oct 2008

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From super-straight to super-fly, Harry's has it.
For what seems like forever, the realm of hot shoes has been the domain of women - from Manolo and Jimmy Choo to Christian Louboutin, designers and the fashion police have been fixated on this most important of style assets with stunning success: the cult of the shoe is firmly entrenched in the urban female psyche to the extent that women will hobble for weeks just to be seen in the right pair at a party. Why? Because they make women look hot.

At last: Really cool shoes Meanwhile the boys have been kindly spared this fate, content with a near dirty fascination with obscure Nike trainers from Japan or in some cases work boots of questionable origin. They seldom enjoy the attention to detail and fashion credibility that permeates the girls' creations, and hand crafted shoes remain difficult to find, as not everyone can just pop down to a shoemaker with a calfskin tucked under their arm.

And let's face it - for guys, really fancy shoes have always been just a bit... weird.

But all that is changing with the rising success of Harry's of London, the naughty boy's answer to Jimmy Choo and featuring collections of refined quality and sex appeal that don't cross that ever-so-fine line to... prissy. These are men's mens shoes, and the loafers come neither light nor cheap. Over the last three seasons London's growing hordes of banking scions have been slowly discovering designer Kevin Martel's (ex-Armani) simple yet luxurious method and designs, which is setting off a stampede as word circulates that there is now actually an "it" shoe for men.

The shoes themselves are beautiful and well constructed. (We are particular fans of their shiny black patent leather boat shoes - a sell out from the current collection and perfect for the upcoming resort season. They are dressy yet causal, possessing the perfect combination of 'fuck you' appeal and mature sensibility. They are so St. Barth and should only be worn on yachts of length greater than 40 meters).

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Harry's of London is kickin' it with shoes for men
Back in the real world, Harry's features delicious combinations of slippers for the home in the softest suede and cashmere (perfect for under the tree) alongside sensible work shoes refined enough to be dressy, but enormously practical at the same time. For example, wingtips feature high durability rubber outer soles and special technogel inside soles to cushion the feet as you walk the winter elements. Sort of a secret luxury, as you can look serious while feeling comfy. For the more adventurous, (but slightly borderline evil due to the whole environmental angle - grrr, where's the green version?), Harry's features stunning versions in snakeskin, alligator and other exotics that come from the same suppliers who create Zagliani - the world's hottest handbags (as all the ladies know.)

Despite the toffy name, Harry's of London is not very old, and got its start off an ill-fated Matthew Mellon / Tamara Mellon idea which morphed and shifted before sprouting into its current, unaffiliated incarnation. But the aura of quality and prestige, insider knowledge and "itness" seems to follow the brand from that original stepchild incarnation, enabling it to go from strength to strength on the back of its rebellious, slightly rakish DNA.

Next up? Rumors of a high concept shoe box store in London's Mayfair, complete with models on step ladders to assist the boys in their quest for something that should have arrived a long time ago: ridiculously expensive, unquestionably sexy, seriously cool, must have shoes. For guys.