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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Roman Holiday

They're calling it a new trend for 2008, but we all know that ever since Gladiator dream-boy Russell Crowe donned his togs, gladiator sandals have had the green light. Hell, any shoe style that's been around since Caesar crossed the Rubicon has to have something going for it.

We like gladiators because they are a perfect foundation (or, should we say ... tabula rasa?) upon which to build a great summer look. The simple open strap construction and heel cup can take myriad embellishments and turn out a great look.

What you get out of a gladiator is something ancient -- a certain, simple caged sexiness of feet bound in thongs -- that contains yet reveals your feet and ankles. Typically a piece of strapping running up the midfoot from toes to mid-leg draws attention to delicate ankles, leg length, insteps and toes. This buckles to the heel strapping, which points out your calf muscles and provides a secure fit. Because so much of your foot remains revealed, they are perfect under a mid-length skirt with some volume to it; the naked foot look will help make your whole outfit lighter while lending a touch of complexity.

The thin profile of these sandals are ripe for embellishment. Jeffrey Campbell's summer assortment uses fringe, beading and distressed dyes to highlight the foot. Dolce Vita's more straightforward take is sexed up with a late-century kitten heel while Enzo Angiolini uses a broad top piece to highlight the gorgeous red of its sandal.

So save up your denarii and grab a pair for summer.

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