— Paging Carrie Bradshaw: The public has crowned the sexiest heels — and they’re not Manolos.
Designer shoemaker Christian Louboutin's Maralena Flame Sandal — multicolored Swarovski Crystal-encrusted, 5-inch heels — were named the sole winners for the Saks Fifth Avenue and Footwear News “Sexy Shoes” contest, beating out 22 other designs, including those from heavyweights such as Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik , Dolce & Gabbana and Stuart Weitzman.
The flashy peep-toe slingback pumps, featuring embellished satin flames flickering against an airy mesh background, carry a hefty price tag: $2,445. The shoes were selected from nearly 8,000 votes cast by shoppers at the flagship Saks Fifth Avenue New York store as well as online, with the winner announced at a special event on Thursday at Saks. The winning design is now available for sale in stores and at Saks.com.
“I’ve had a lot of women tell me that it’s too much to show toe cleavage in a shoe,” the designer told Metro World News in September. “They say it’s too embarrassing. But I’m like, ‘You wear sandals where your toes are completely exposed.’ And they say, ‘But it’s different.’ I agree. It is different. It’s the difference between suggestion and showing everything.”
Louboutin said that while some luxury designers are suffering due to economic difficulties, his shoe business has garnered double-digit growth in 2010, according to a May interview in Vanity Fair magazine. His fans include fashion icons such as Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker, Kate Moss and even toddler Suri Cruise, who received custom-made shoes from the celebrity designer.
During Friday’s TODAY, hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb got an up-close look at the glittering slingbacks, which showed off the designer’s signature red leather sole. Upon the reveal, Kathie Lee couldn’t quite hide her reaction. “That’s the sexiest shoe in the world?” she exclaimed. “That’s it?! And it’s $2,445? I’m sorry; that looks like something out of Cirque du Soleil.”
“It’s really not for me,” Hoda said upon examination, “but other people might find them [for them]… Pretty soon they’re gonna have knockoffs of these.”
Perhaps these shoes are simply too sexy for the fourth hour of TODAY. It is, after all, a morning show.