Jazz Flats take the floor
If last year was the summer of the slit skirt and the spike-heel slide shoe, this promises to be the summer of the swing skirt and the jazz ballet oxford. Canvas copies of the dancer's soft kidskin shoe have been proliferating faster than road companies of "A Chorus Line." Relatively inexpensive (the real thing costs around $28 at dance equipment shops, the reproductions slightly more , depending on fabric and quality), the jazz ballet shoe now comes in hot tropic colors as well as the professional's black, white, beige, and red.
As comfortable as the proverbial glove, the jazz oxford gives a small, neat foot. It is very light and flexible (even stumblebums have been known to leap in the air when wearing it), but surprisingly durable, having been designed for use in long rehearsal sessions. Its looks suit shorts and jeans as well as circle skirts.
Other shoe news of the season is the drop in heel heights. As skirts have risen, heels have descended, and at a rate that must alarm manufacturers who counted on a long future for the 4-inch heel. The newest little heels are the faceted cones and sculptured wedges that measure from one to two inches off the ground.
A second noteworthy departure from conventional footwear practice is the change coming over penny loafers and moccasins. Long admired by Europeans, these traditionally sturdy American classics have been redefined by the shoemakers of Italy and France.
While giving them more delicate lines, the Europeans made them up in delicate colors, too. The shop windows on the chic streets of Milan and Paris are displaying pink, nursery blue, yellow, lavender, and mint green tassel loafers as well as the penny variety and north woods-type moccasins in pastels. The color that has caught on, however, is Simon-pure white, and the white loafer is moc is now an international secret signal among the fashion knowledgeables. Such imports are on the shelves of American high fashion specialty stores, so US manufacturers may be expected to pick up on the idea.
The slide, or mule, seems slated for popularity once again this summer, but heels are not so high and cork inner soles have in many cases been added for comfort's sake. Braided leather, in multicolors or solid tan or white; mesh; and hopsacking are a few of the materials used.
The striply sandal appears to be phasing out. Although there is an ample supply of open looks, broad straps -- sometimes a single diagonal strap across the vamp -- are considered more a la mode. Sandal heels go from highish to flat.
The least costly sandal is the plastic fisherman, still around but in new colors such as violet and emerald. Some flats have see-through colored plastic heels. The fashionable cheapie, made in Korea, is a copy of the Chinese instep-strap cotton slipper, which is worn in black by the folks in Peking. Its imitation sells for around $16 and comes in red, purple, beige with black, and white in various American department stores.
If none of the above sounds like enough shoe, the spectator pump -- a reliable summer standby -- has been revised for 1980. The "in" versions are black patent or navy or bright red with white. Color -- no matter how wild -- spells fashion in footgear right now.