In more fashion rantings, I have something to say about the couture footwear being presented to women with disposable income this season. Yesterday, I received a catalogue from Barneys New York, that towering temple to conspicuous consumption (I have only consumed two modest items from their co-op floor myself, but I guess that’s enough to get on their mailing list), showing me their winter shoe collection. In typical “because we can afford it” fashion, there is only a single, perfectly lit and photographed specimen per page; some shoes contain tiny, confused-looking bunny rabbits. The only reason I can think of to include these poor little creatures is to distract potential customers from the aggressive, almost nihilistic ugliness of said footwear. Unfortunately, I could only find the photo above on their website (Jil Sander, $495), ugly but not the most egregious example, but if anyone can find a picture of the $1,495 Balenciaga suede ankle boots, you’ll know what I’m talking about. They’re the perfect companion for skinny jeans. Marc Jacobs, whose designs I ordinarily love and covet, is forcing some weird sock/ankle boot things on us ($985), and Chloe, also usually very elegant, is trying to lure ladies of fashion into some dour-looking platform oxfords with speed laces ($715). I hope to god none of these designs get picked up by “taste-makers,” thereby flooding the middle markets with knockoffs. I’d better run out and buy up the last few pairs of cute shoes while I still can.