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Aug 14, 2010

Carmen Steffens - Fall/Winter 2010 Launch

Brazilian footwear and accessories designer Carmen Steffens hosted a party at their Westfield Fashion Square, Sherman Oaks, location to celebrate the launch of their fall/winter 2010 collection. VIP attendees sipped on wine and nibbled on hors d’oeuvres while trying on an array of seriously HOT shoes.

Before attending the event I noticed a girl in the mall wearing a pair of sky high platforms that were drop dead sexy. I didn’t have a chance to ask her where she bought her killer heels but I found out soon enough. While browsing through Carmen Steffens' latest collection I came across the shoes I had coveted just minutes ago. Walking into Carmen Steffens is like walking into shoe and handbag heaven. The creations are simply stunning. You look in one direction and say, “Oh, I want that,” and then turn around and say, “No, I want that.” Picking just one is a difficult chore. Thankfully, CS shoes are reasonably priced ($200 - $350), so you can purchase 2 or 3 for the price of a pair of high end designer heels.

Founded in 1993 by Mario Spaniol, Carmen Steffens' manufactures their handcrafted shoes and handbags in Franca, Brazil. (Mario learned the craft in Italy and brought his knowledge back with him to his homeland). The company owns its own tannery, which allows them to produce smaller quantities of each item; thus, retaining the lines exclusivity while also offering a wide variety of styles and allowing for constant rotation of new product. Mario’s wife, Monalisa, designs the collection. The fall/winter 2010 line was inspired by São Paulo’s cityscape, which can be seen in her use of vibrant colors and fluorescent accents. (Check out the virtual fashion show http://vimeo.com/13949593)

Since a limited amount of each product is made you don’t have to worry about someone showing up to the same event with the same pair of shoes or handbag. Carmen Steffens’ products are of high quality and great attention is paid to detail, which adds to the items uniqueness. Their bags are amazing and, of course, I fell in love with the brown leather purse with zipper and metal details. At $850 it was a steal. (Most bags range from $350-$650.) Their shoes—which range from flats to sandals, to platforms, to boots—emit a sexy Brazilian essence, and they are quite comfortable. The soles are made of rubber so they absorb shock and provide more comfort for the balls of your foot, which means you can walk from one end of Manhattan to the other and back in 6” inch stilettos and not have to soak your feet at the end of the day.

Anyone that knows me will tell you that I live in heels (5” and above the better). I’ve traipsed all over NY in 6” stripper platforms, so I was thrilled when I tried on a pair of CS platforms and felt just how comfy they were. The company has been around for 17 years. Why am I just finding out about them now? Oh well, better late than never. Stars like Eva Longoria, Mariah Carey, and my girl Carolyn Hennesy are fans and now I know why.

Upon leaving we were handed a cool gift bag that contained a Carmen Steffens' handcrafted leather cosmetic bag in addition to a leather and metal key chain. Also included was Gingi Refreshing Toning Water (http://www.gingiskincare.com/), an Earthlust eco stainless-steel water bottle (http://www.earthlust.com/), a Bali: Island of the Gods $10,000 gift card, Bee M.D. Organic Honey Throat Drops (http://www.sponsorabee.com/), True Lemon 100% Crystallized Lemon (http://www.truelemon.com/) and the latest edition of California Apparel News (http://www.apparelnews.net/).

Oh, and I should let you know that 10% of your in-store purchase goes towards your next purchase as long as it is made within 30 days. So, if you buy a $300 pair of shoes the next time you come in you’ll get $30 off your next purchase. Not a bad deal. It’s also a great way to cultivate customer loyalty. You can also shop online http://www.carmensteffens.com/. Damn, that’s trouble. Oh wait, CS shoes are still cheaper than a pair of Louboutins and just as sexy!


Narrative and photos by Nikki Neil

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