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Jeffrey Campbell for Karmaloop Paradigm Collection — A Footwear Futurama

All those wedge sneakers we’ve been seeing this season? They feel like palate teasers when compared to the visual feast offered by the audacious, futuristic, sportswear-inspired shoes in the new Jeffrey Campbell Paradigm collection, designed exclusively for Karmaloop. Those of you who share my fascination with Jeffrey Campbell know that the footwear designer has a penchant for unusual silhouettes, cheeky and edgy prints, bold color combinations, textural juxtapositions, and brazen embellishments. These qualities have led to the creation of such unforgettable shoe styles as the JC Lita, a platform bootie with an exaggerated ’70s-style toe and a chunky wooden heel; the Tick Wedge, an ankle-high wedge with a sleek peep toe and a stud-covered wedge heel; the Darian Wedge, a clog-like wedge sandal available in ultra bright neon shades; and the El Carmen sandal, an irreverent and mischievous take on the classic pin-up sandal. As it turns out, Campbell found a kindred spirit in Joe Farese, Karmaloop’s shoe buyer, who collaborated with the latter on this exclusive collection, available now at Karmaloop.com.

When designing the collection, then, the two hoped to touch upon the current fascination with sporty footwear styles while also elevating the aesthetic to another level, one that would appease those who like to sprinkle a touch of sci-fi surrealism into their looks, through the addition of super-sized hidden platforms, pronounced comma-shaped wedge heels, careful color blocking, and strap accents.

The end result was a six-shoe collection comprised of three different styles. First, there’s the Jeffrey Campbell for Karmaloop The Ascension Shoe ($215 at Karmaloop.com), shown here first and second from top, a heel-less sneaker (not the comma-like slope along the back of the shoe) with a neoprene-wrapped 3″ platform, and a center lacing panel with a Velcro strap detail.  Those with a preference for prismatic style will adore The Ascension in the Green Blue Combo color scheme (shown at top), which features color-blocked uppers and a striped wedge reminiscent of Rainbow Brite’s ensembles. The color scheme, meanwhile, might remind you of the off-air screens with the colorful vertical bars that we saw in the ’80s whenever TV networks concluded their programming for the evening. For a slightly less audacious look, you can opt for the all-black version of the shoe, which swaps the neoprene uppers for a mesh-and-patent-leather combination, creating a sense of contrast through the mix in textures as opposed to the juxtaposition of colors.

Next, there’s the Jeffrey Campbell for Karmaloop The Succession Shoe ($215 at Karmaloop.com), a platform sneaker with a 7″ heel and 3″ platform, a padded ankle collar, and a Velcro strap so wide that it resembles a shield. Because of its covered platform and wedge heel, the Succession Shoe could best be described as a sneaker and boot hybrid. The shoe is available in three varieties: a crisp black-and-white , Stormtrooper-worthy version with leather uppers (as shown third from top) and a cheeky, almost burlesque-flavored cross-stitch trim along the back of the heel; a red-and-black style (shown last above), which incorporates suede rather than leather uppers; and an all-black version (shown below) that integrates mesh and patent leather materials.

Last, there’s the most modest style in the colleciton: the Jeffrey Campbell for Karmaloop The Cyrax Sneaker ($120 at Karmaloop.com). pictured last below, a low-top sneaker with color-blocked neoprene uppers, a Velcro strap detail atop the front lacing strip, and a 1.5″ heel.

How’s that for a paradigm shift?


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