I first saw the shoes while browsing ‘New Arrivals’ on Net-a-Porter Friday morning; I wasn’t even aware I would discover the fruits of Leandra Medine’s labor that day. Seeing the shoes before the brand, my first reaction was “Oh God, what is this?” to the red and blue loafers which I thought resembled a superhero’s eye mask. When I learned who was behind the brand I was no longer surprised.
If you were keeping up with the fashion news cycle last week you would have learned that Leandra Medine, blogger-turned-designer launched her first solo shoe collection exclusively with Net-a-Porter. Named after her blog and the personal style it implies, MR by Man Repeller is a capsule of five styles: a platform sandal, a flat mule with laces that tie at the ankle, an over-the-knee boot, a taller-than-ankle block heel boot, and a loafer. All of which come in either a slick metallic leather or paisley-embossed velvet. All ten pairs have brazen style names which are perfectly on-brand.
I read the rave reviews from Elle.com, Allure.com, Who What Wear, and Fashionista, and all provided descriptions of the shoes as would be noted on a line sheet, in their own way. In accompanying interviews, Medine really tries to get across the message behind the shoes of the modern Man Repeller, and even though she created the shoes for herself (therefore the authenticity is inherent, right?), you too can channel your own style with her shoes. But that’s the thing I’m hung up on – Medine is known for her unique, quirky, one-of-a-kind personal style. And while Man Repeller (the blog) is churning out content on how to embrace your own personal ideas of how to dress – you can now do that via Medine’s personal style available at Net-a-Porter. Does she really expect confident, fashion-forward, intrinsically stylish women to buy and wear such obviously Leandra shoes? I think the audience for these shoes (because there is one) is actually going to be women who have no idea what their personal style is, but will think, mhh, Leandra is popular and has a lot of followers so wearing her shoes will make me look trendy and in-the-know.
Even though the shoes are not really my style, I wanted to explore the quality, durability, and comfort level for myself (and for you, reader). So, I placed an order via next day delivery from Net-a-Porter and the shoes arrived in shiny silver boxes with a red waving hand emoji and ‘MR.’ Inside is a glittery green shoe bag. Original and on-brand. So far, so good. Here are the rest of my thoughts:
The Alternative to Bare Feet Loafers – I ordered the pink velvet pair in my usual size 39. And I could barely get these on. In the sizing notes on Net-a-Porter they say true to size. I do not agree. The quality appears quite good, but they would need some time to break in. Not exactly what you want to do with a pair of throw-on-and-go-loafers. They’re heavier than my other loafers too. The color is sweet, but with any velvet shoes you have to seriously watch the weather in order to wear. My rating: 6/10
I’m Here to Party Boots – Again I ordered the 39, in the gold colorway. When my husband saw me pull them out of the box he said, “oh, hi, Austin Powers.” That reference, while accurate, hadn’t occurred to me upon ordering. Regardless, I couldn’t get these on. So I guess I can’t really fairly judge them for comfort. The shape of the toe is nice, not at all severe. The leather covering the zipper on the side doesn’t line up perfectly which would annoy me. At the bottom the zipper is exposed and near the top it’s overlapping itself. Because they were too small I’m rating this: N/A
LOL If You Think I’m Walking platforms – I ordered the navy velvet pair with studs. And the 39 fit great. Despite the extreme weight of the shoe, after a lap in my apartment they still felt ok. I was really thrown by how heavy they are though; I don’t know if it’s the studs + platform that makes it so heavy, but I would think your ankles would be really sore after a few hours of wearing these. The shape is very, very similar to a pair of vintage Ferragamo’s from the 1930s – so while good, not totally original. I’ve seen them styled with socks, and it’s cute for editorial, but too contrived for my personal style. My rating: 6/10
Overall, the shoes are fine. I’m returning all three pairs though because they are just too obviously someone else’s style for me to really get behind. I like a statement shoe, but it’s easier for me to make a pair of red Gucci loafers my own than the MR by Man Repeller pairs. I’m not trying to be a ball buster here, seriously, all bloggers know that in order to build one’s brand and increase revenue – original product is the only way to get to the next level. So, I get it, right now this is surely a very personal and authentic project for Medine – an obvious next step in brand Man Repeller. I do think honestly, a better partner might have been Topshop at a lower pricepoint. I may have been able to embrace the spirit and fun implied in the shoes with a less serious retailer.
Image via Allure.com