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Words and Images -Judith Ecochard

March 19th, 2009

We always seem to luck out weather wise when we visit the aerie wrapped terrace office/showroom of Donald J. Pliner, the master maestro of the elegant, on trend, and comfortable shoe collection. And as always, we wonder how anyone gets any work done with these glorious Central Park views.

Not surprisingly, this year’s kickers are carefully edited down to select styles----albeit available in an amazing assortment of materials and shades. Plus the satchels and clutches are just as refined and well made as the shoes---in the Italian factories that Pliner’s been using for eons.


We started our preview with a series of knockout hand painted python and polished calf (almost as shiny as patent) intricately woven booties and thickly strapped sandals. We love the materials and the heels---that are a pleasure to walk in-thanks to Pliner’s trademark (or it should be) hidden platforms that reduce the aching torturous angle of the heels and the foot beds that plague other shoes.

There’s also a continuation of the animal prints from Spring---in this case, a leopard print sandal that kind of fits the ‘classics’ category by now.

Pliner also serves up the menswear vibe for Fall with lower heeled tailored loafers in assorted leathers...that Ms. Marlene Dietrich would have coveted.

This group of shoes was also displayed with matching oversized clutches “in a million different fabrics.” We liked the slightly larger than usual size of these handbags as it makes the bunch a viable urban day to night option ---that stylishly holds personal items- as we’re hauling our laptops in padded computer bags that are utilitarian, not fashion statements.

And as New Yorkers, we haul our lives around---no stashes in a car or quick trips home between work and nights out.


“Donald’s new black is navy,” we learned---and a versatile dark inky navy it is. Given the brown shades splashed throughout our wardrobes, we like how these deep shades work with rich espresso colors as well as the ubiquitous black.

And again, the heels are sculptural, high, sexy, and embedded with “wrapped hidden platforms” that are comfortable.


The always-correct slingbacks are three season shoes---even in colder latitudes. For Fall, Pliner uses debonair tartans and embossed leather materials that are FRESH.

The peep toe (with stacked heels) and chunky heel wedge sandals are also year round shoes…and Pliner’s boast striking buckle accents and hip antique metallic finishes

that’ll go with denim as well as with all tights/tunic/mini ensembles. There’s also polished calf and patterned python versions. In the “it” color fuchsia too.

And yes, the ballet flats---are still HUGE! Available in seemingly every material---“suede, nappa, metallic, tartan…” these slip-ons have a hidden cushiony wedge so the foot is not right on top of the leather soles.


The Santa Fe-ish hand beaded bags (clutches) and intricate beaded slip-ons “started with the carpet in all of the stores,” Pliner clued us in. Nice.

Shoe Hosiery is poised to be massive sellers we think. Pliner’s patterned lovelies in red, black and taupe (retail around $465) are sensuous and supportively wearable. Good thing the pair we saw was not our size AND we don’t have sticky fingers.

Other boots---in Pliner’s breathable, and circulation friendly, swell reducing microfiber, heeled Western and Rider themed boots, are spot on…and timeless.

Hands down the drop-dead glamour award goes to the OMG AMAZING PYTHON boots---that the stunning Lisa Pliner wore that day. She told us her kickers stopped foot traffic on NY’s posh Fifth Avenue with admirers inquiring where she was from.



Toiling as the Creative Director of Donald J.Pliner for years, after a clearly inspiring stint with Gianni Versace, Lisa F. Pliner’s exclusive collection-upon eyeballing for the first time- in person- caused us to blurt out “…those are the shoes we would wear.”

Naturally, the signature DJP comfort is a given---but this collection of haircalf, nappa, lizard, and suede have a decidedly younger, more fashion forward vibe, with higher heels (YEAH!!!!!) and tractor soles on the bottom—which is what we do anyway to our shoes.

Our favorite styles are the seriously hot studded shoe, the lace up strappy spiked sandals


and the motorcycle influenced boots that are a big bump up from our Doc Martens. (Duh).


The hand beaded slip-ons are intensive works of art---with each size ped requiring a different pattern. Frankly, we were surprised how masculine these shoes are…and are more striking than those velvet insignia-ed bunch from other labels that are so popular for some reason.

Naturally, there are classic dark palette wing tips and western influenced buckled ankle boots.

But we think the best sellers will be the “Rock Star” dress up slip-ons with studs in haircalf. VERY NICE.

There’s a small grouping of lifestyle sneakers

… and comfy microfiber shoes…with the signature attributes of “stretch for comfort,” waterproof, moisture management, and shape retention.

INFO: Delivery dates for the aforementioned are August-October.