Independent-minded designer Isabel Toledo was widely known in fashion before Michelle Obama wore one of her ensembles on inauguration day, but it was probably the latter event that made Toledo enough of a "name" to warrant a collection for Payless.

And the results, like this $39.99 pair of heels with laces and cut-outs, are wacky without passing the limits of wearability. Only Toledo could make something that looks like an Irish dance shoe mated with a Fluevog and still have it be cute.

The style has a flat version, too — Toledo said that she wanted her collection to be comfortable — but I'm not so into it. Lose the "with a Fluevog" part and you just have an Irish dance shoe made in China from man-made materials. (Though it does also come in silver.)



Toledo is notorious in the industry for having been hired by maker-of-polyester-suits Anne Klein with the express intention of giving the moribund sportswear company a sensible shake-up; almost as soon as her first collection received rave reviews, she was fired.

The experience hardly seems to have dented Toledo's interest in creating fashionable items at normal-person kinds of prices, though. These "Toreador" peep-toe d'Orsay heels are $44.99. And she and her husband, the artist Ruben Toledo, have a Target collection out now, too.

Metallic silver faux-furred moon boots? Hmmmm.

These boots, even at $54.99, seem like a much better bet.

These $34.99 "Pom-Pom Flats" look like a Roger Vivier buckle flat crossed with a pump Yves Saint Laurent put out in 2006 which had a marabou detachable pom-pom on the vamp (and a triangular heel). I could not afford those shoes and in any case had nowhere to buy them, but I relished seeing them in all of the fall ads and editorials, and I still occasionally — fruitlessly — search for used or deadstock pairs in my more desperate eBay moments.


Which is to say, I will probably buy these flats.

Isabel Toledo for Payless [Official Site]