Toe cleavage is the partial exposure of a woman's toes in shoes that are cut low enough at the vamp. Low cut shoes reveal toe cleavage similar to how low cut tops reveal breast cleavage. The phrase was first coined by Alison Wood.
Toe cleavage is considered to be fashionable by stylists such as Susan Conterno, columnist for FAMOUS magazine.Manolo Blahnik himself opined that "the secret of toe cleavage, a very important part of the sexuality of the shoe" is that "You must only show the first two cracks.". Shoe designer Christian Louboutin takes a more provocative view of toe cleavage and states "The point is, it's more provocative to show a low toe cleavage than it is wearing sandals that reveal all. In flip-flops you see everything but that is not at all sexy." He takes this further by relating "The curved inside part of the foot, the instep, is the most sexy part so I like to close the heel and reveal the arch." "According to fashion insiders, "toe-cleavage shoes sans stockings" are part of the "unwritten dress code" of the "Voguette", as dictated by the magazine's longtime editor in chief Anna Wintour -- "even in the bitter New York winter".
Fashion advice also centers around the amount of appropriate toe cleavage. A pump (court shoe) with a "slightly low vamp for a hint of toe cleavage" should not be "too racy for a conservative office". Financial guru Suze Orman says it is "the only cleavage that should be shown around an office".
The implied sexual aspects also come into play for some. Dominatrix Claudia Varrin writes of wearing an outfit featuring toe cleavage when entertaining a foot fetishist. And Frederick's of Hollywood has promoted open-toe shoes as "sexually suggestive" due to the toe cleavage.
- Meredith Broussard (2003-04-23). "Foot for Thought". Philadelphia City Paper.
- Susan Conterno (2005-05-02). "Toe Cleavage".
- "Manolo Blahnik". Design Museum.
- Cat Callender (2006-08-28). "Christian Louboutin: The joy of toe-cleavage. The designer whose shoes have been described as 'sex on legs' talks to Cat Callender about his passion for Parisian showgirls, how to look good naked, and the joy of toe-cleavage".
- Jerry Oppenheimer (2005). Front Row: Anna Wintour, the Cool Life and Hot Times of Vogue's Editor in Chief. Vogue. ISBN 0-312-32310-7. "A ... candidate for a ... features editor job ... had been well-briefed by a friend, a Voguette already safely ensconced in the elite fold, as to the toe-cleavage shoes sans stockings. Anna ... dictates everything that goes into the magazine, along with the behavior ... in its hallowed halls, from how subordinates should act on the elevators ... to how they are supposed to dress if they want to work there and go out... Thus, naked legs and open-toed stilettos in the bitter New York winter were requirements of the famed and feared editrix's unwritten dress code."
- Kendall Farr (2004). The Pocket Stylist: Behind-the-Scenes Expertise from a Fashion Pro on Creating Your Own Look. Gotham Books. ISBN 1-59240-041-8.
- Laura Harrison McBride (2004). FabJob Guide to Become a Personal Shopper. Peter J Gallanis. FabJob.com. ISBN 1-894638-55-7.
- Claudia Varrin (2005). The Female Dominant: Games She Plays. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2669-6. "The outfit was a high-necked, sleeveless, full-skirted black dress; a thick, black, suede belt; lace-topped, black thigh-high stockings; and black suede stiletto pumps with the low vamp that allowed lots of toe cleavage. She knew he loved toe cleavage. Didn't most foot fetishists?"
- Charles Panati (1998). Sexy Origins and Intimate Things: The Rites and Rituals of Straights, Gays, Bis, Drags, Trans, Virgins, and Others. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-027144-9. "Frederick's of Hollywood has always promoted its open-toe and open-heel models as sexually suggestive because they reveal foot flesh and toe cleavage."
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This was first used by O.G. MUD-BONE