Last Friday saw another Irregular Choice character heel released, a brand new mould and theme for Spring 2017, mermaids! I feel like I've been very lucky in that almost everything I've ever wished for in such a heel has been released. Deer, unicorn, teacups, flamingo (actually thought this one would be too tricky to do, so might not happen) and I even hoped for some texture, which we've seen on the bunnies, swans and squirrels. Mermaids were of course another dream of mine (like we're soooo on the same wavelength), so I'm just putting it out there that an Eiffel Tower, snow/glitter globe and a doll heel that comes with changeable fabric outfits need to happen!
I found choosing particularly easy this time, because let's face it, I've not been the sharpest at decision making lately (made all the more difficult by the fact everything is always so lovely), but there were just two colour schemes and two styles. Once I knew I preferred the blue over grey, I just had to decide on the style and I was leaning more towards Aquata than Siren Of The Sea, so decision made.
Now from the stock photos, I liked them, don't get me wrong, but I didn't feel a total connection (that's the only way I can describe it), despite being a long-time mermaid fan (way before they were "cool"). In fact on launch day once I saw the price, I dithered for a couple of minutes, wondering if I could really justify spending that much and if I "£179 liked them", by which point the size 5 had sold out from my basket. That never happens! Granted I am usually super quick at these launches, but aside from that, the size 5's are never the first to go and I can only remember it happening during the Cinderella launch, when I got to the front of the queue and the styles I wanted had already gone. I really hadn't suspected the mermaids would disappear so quickly, given there were a lot of negative views prior to launch. I thought the slightly higher than usual price point might also deter some buyers and unfortunately all 4 pairs were only available up to a size 41 this time. So yeah, there was a bit of a panic after that, as I spent the next 20 minutes checking every independent stockist I could think of until I found the pair I wanted. When they arrived, straight out the box, I felt exactly what I needed to feel to know it was worth it and definitely worth the money. The emotions that were lacking from the stock photos, were undoubtedly abundant and I'm pretty sure I spent a good 10 minutes just gazing and taking everything in!
There is so much detail in these, they are definitely one of the more intricate character heel styles, so I'll try and talk you through every little bit and hopefully you'll feel the love from my photos and description too. So let me start with the shoe. It's a shape not that dissimilar to what we've seen on the unicorns or deer or bunnies, but it's not exactly the same. The toe shape is rounded but not as bulbous I didn't think as previous styles. To be honest there isn't much toe visible, as they have a very short front and the trims cover a large portion of it. Instead of the usual small concealed platform, this one has a visible platform (more on that later) so that also slightly changes the shape and there's a thickish t-bar and strap wrapping midway across the foot. The strap is made from the most beautiful shade of mint with a metallic finish and this also trims the top of the shoe. The buckle is really easy to fasten (thank goodness) and the strap is cut short. I was worried this would be too small, but I can fasten them in the second loosest hole, though the third is just too much of a push. No matter which hole you get it in, functionally I suppose the strap doesn't need to be any longer and actually this way, it means it sits very neatly without detracting from the shoe.
The uppers are really quite complex, consisting of a spotted mint fabric base with this wonderful threadwork in pink, black and blue over the top. The latter two make up a feather like design, while the pink is more of an all-over mesh, which works wonderfully with the sea theme. If you missed out on these or character heels aren't your thing, then there's two colours of Peachy Keen this season which feature similar uppers. What I really love about them, is no two are the same. The placement is different from shoe to shoe, so you'll even find differences within your pair. I have one with black threads sweeping across the front of the toe, but on the other it's central and moving up the shoe onto the t-bar. I've seen some pairs with black dominating or a lot of blue, it's just chance. Sitting at the base of the t-bar and across the toe are three large flowers, in black and bright pink. Mirroring the uppers, they are made entirely from threads with a large gold bead in the centre. I can see how some people may find the flowers and intricate uppers along with the heel a little too much, but for me it firmly puts the "irregular" in Irregular Choice. With such a fancy heel, I suppose the option was a toned down shoe to let the heel take centre stage or else keep going and make the shoe as elaborate as the heel and IC chose the latter. I agree, if you're already heading in that direction, you might as well take it all the way!
Now for the heel, which is a proper wedge this time. We've seen wedge-like in the past, but this is a 5" wedge which flows into a small (3/4") platform sole. There is a separate heel tip on the end of the mermaid, but otherwise it's a single flat sole, with the wonderful SS17 striped bunny print. Overall it's reasonably heavy, but nowhere near as weighty as the Alice teacups or Star Wars stormtrooper heads. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the shoe in person as I'd expected a much chunkier feel, but actually they look very small and narrow in reality.
The mermaid faces out the back of the shoe with her head under your heel and the pink tail flipped up behind her body and head, flowing into the wedge. There's a small hole, between the curve of her back and the tail, but otherwise the heel is completely solid. In order to make the topless mermaid 'family friendly', she's covered with her long hair, a beckoning hand raised to her face and she's holding a blue fish in front of her torso. This mid-section protrudes outwith the back line of the shoe, but I think we're accustomed to this now and it isn't as delicately positioned as the flamingo heads. There's a lot of carved details to create the scales on her tail and the fish and in the hair. The rest of the wedge and platform are airbrushed blue and pink with embossed curly waves. On the outer side there's a small cluster of painted flowers and on the inner side "Irregular Choice" is written. It's unusual to see IC's branded like this, but I think it really works well on this shoe. There's a definite ship figurehead feel to these mermaids and indeed the whole heel.
I had a small glue (or some sort of sticky-ish blob) stuck to the side of one shoe, which you can probably see in some of the photos, but I've since managed to rub most of it off, which was a relief. I've spoken more about the sizing on Shoesday Tuesday this week, so head over there for that. Like I said at the start, I wasn't 100% convinced before I saw these shoes in real life, but literally the second they came out of the box, I was and still am mesmerised by them. I keep picking them up just to admire them! You'd think that after all the concept heel releases we've seen (and that I own), I might start getting a little jaded, but IC for me always manage to keep it interesting and exciting. I still stand by the invention of character heels being the best thing that ever happened to IC and my life (or wardrobe) would certainly be dull without them. I can't wait to see what wonderful concept they come up with next, can you?