The Rockstud. Just the name alone put me right off. “Rock” a word that can be naffly attached to stuff that is the antithesis of anything genuinely rock n’ roll. “Stud” in my mind maps on to men who might be called Chad or scarily tanned and shiny chest pecs. Put the two together though and in Valentino’s world, it apparently equates to a shoe and accessory jackpot. In China (my new barometer for trend popularity), in Beijing and Shanghai, I counted at least twenty versions of the Valentino Rockstud shoe on teensy tiny feet, walking along the streets, on their way to work, the mall or to slurp some soupy buns. Some could well have been fakes but most were definitely real. I rarely ever see designer shoes schlepping around on yer’ average streets numbering into double figures so this is testament to the fervent popularity of what is a simple formula - an elegant pointed flat or heel dotted with pyramid studs that are perfectly judged in their size, proportion and spacing, as they snake their way round the curve of the tip and up along the ankle straps. The stud has come to represent Valentino’s rejuvenation and reboot under Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli. Tellingly, both had previously headed up Valentino’s accessories department so investing in the longevity and popularity of their successful studded wares makes absolute sense. The Rockstud now graces a plethora of shoulder bags, totes, clutches with that tell-tale hand strap, gloves and of course on the shoes, which collectively has elevated Valentino accessories from lady-lady no man’s land to fashion’s most wanted.
I’ve succumbed having been fortunate to lose my Rockstud shoe virginity to this particular pair, adorned with Valentino red studs to match the leather. I thought I was going to be bitching about the kitten heels by the end of the day but upon wearing them, I found them to be mighty comfy and I think Nam from Street FSN”s videographer (Nam has a hugely popular documentary series in Korea) can prove it as I ran down the streets outside Missoni in Milan, manically looking for taxis. There’s a poise and elegance to the shoes that somehow makes it ok to wear, say a garish Phenomenon men’s shirt with them.
This limited edition shoe basically begs the question as to what other colour combos and finishes this stud can go on to become. Valentino’s soon to be launched online Shoe Room (still not live yet as I go to post) will exclusively sell the all-red ones, but imagine what a customizable Rockstud shoe (much like Prada’s espadrille brogue ordering service) could yield. I’d be there in a flash, demanding the studs in matte neon yellow or oxidised bronze matching up with hot pink and nude patent leathers. There goes my louche taste, tainting what is a well-conceived piece of design. Valentino's Shoe Room should meet most Rockstud fans' more conventional needs.
Le 21ème | Adam Katz Sinding - Wearing Phenomenon shirt, vintage yellow leather pleated skirt, Rag & Bone Pilot bag