I saw incredible shoes on one of those street-fashion photo blogs. They weren't quite gladiator sandals or boots, but sort of both. I can't think how to look for them, but the more I think about them the more I really want my own.
Ready for a Fight, Sai Kung

The Dictator rules: Take a deep breath. Desperation is not a good look. Now, don't scream, but we have answers. Versace calls them Gladiator Open-Sandals. The pointy-toed, black calfskin "mid-high" length, replete with Medusa medallions on every strap, a zip up the back and five-inch heels, is available for HK$18,000 (Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2737 2628). Look online for the knee-high version. Stuartweitzman.com says, "As seen on Kate Moss in our spring-summer campaign, Gladiator is a knee-high sandal with side zipper and elastic straps." It's made from soft black nappa leather, has a low heel, zips at the side and is now in stock at the Stuart Weitzman boutique (HK$4,600; Gateway Arcade, Harbour City, tel: 2118 2317). We also love the curvy-strapped Grey Mer gladiator sandals (HK$4,591 at www.luisaviaroma.com). Jimmy Choo doesn't even use the word "gladiator". His Mogul "cage sandal" is in studded suede with a 4.5-inch heel (HK$10,050; www.netaporter.com; or check stock at Ocean Centre, tel: 2375 8086). Alexander Wang's ultra-modern Marta knee-high boot has cut-outs and a 3.5-inch geometric heel (HK$10,800; On Pedder at Joyce, Gateway Arcade, tel: 2118 3470).



Who made those pieces this season with the little bits cut out to make a pattern?
Cut it Out, Wan Chai

The Dictator: Who doesn't? I'm not being difficult: lots of designers have played with laser cuts this season. I could take you to a mall in a blindfold and you'd find something fitting that description. We've fallen in love with Tibi's Pia dress, a long, strapless number in black modal rayon with a floral laser-cut skirt and inner bustier construction (HK$10,900; Harvey Nichols, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 3968 2668); the brand has also used laser cuts on a peach/orange-coloured short-sleeved shirt (HK$4,900). Hermès has created delicate cut-out patterns on black or ochre yellow leather pieces including a sleeveless dress (HK$54,400) and short-sleeved shirt (HK$39,800; Pacific Place, tel: 2522 6229). Balking? At the other end of the price scale, H&M has taken black, leather-like glossy jersey and snipped out bands of geometric shapes along the hems of a skirt and a sleeveless top (HK$299 each; 68 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2110 9546). If you like discovering hot new names, then take a look at Steve J & Yoni P, a team of British-trained Korean designers. They've done the cutting on what basically looks like plastic, including a green, pleated skirt (HK$4,150; Harvey Nichols), and a black and white baseball jacket (HK$4,490).

Before stepping out in any of the above, please check that the peepholes are teasers rather than full exposés.



Got a question for The Dictator? E-mail her with your name, or alias, and address at: dictator@scmp.com