Won’t Fall In These… Pierre Hardy for the GAP

The GAP’s initial genius was in making streamlined, simple, unisex basics. Its current marketing and design stays smart by generally updating classics, retaining clean looks while regaining frills. But at first glance, Pierre Hardy’s chunky navy, beige and khaki faux-sheep-skin ankle boots with stripper-style chunky heels seem to have stepped over the line for the casually sexy label. Yet both the Hardy accessories and the main line designed by house designer Patrick Robinson have a sharp preppy bite and Upper East Side edge—like a grand dame who doesn’t mind if the world thunders beneath her. The pseudo-effortless pairing of jeans and heels is an urban uniform, but for many women wearing a chain-store T-shirt is acceptable while the same brand’s shoes are not. Hardy’s sassy shoes could just wade that style gulf for women who are only comfortable wearing high-street staples along with status-screaming accessories. And in case I’m wrong, these shoes, with their references to nature and their modest price tag, would be a perfect signature accessory for Sarah Palin, if she wants to pick up pageants—and still has to submit her expense reports.