PHOTOSChristian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Vibram: Toe Shoes (PHOTOS)04.12.12PHOTOSChristian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Vibram: Toe Shoes (PHOTOS)Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Vibram: Toe Shoes04.12.12 8:45 AM ETFrom standby labels like Christian Louboutin and Manolo Blahnik to cutting-edge emerging brands including Nicholas Kirkwood and Charlotte Olympia, a wide base of designers are honing in on the toe. They’re focusing on the foot’s frontal region with a variety of design details, leaving the popular chunky heel behind in favor of toe-cleavage-revealing pumps and other exaggerating techniques. Marc StamasManolo Blahnik for Wes GordonToe cleavage represents the trend’s most provocative take, as the tops of the toes are displayed with a coy wink. At left is Manolo Blahnik’s popular BB pump, designed in collaboration with rising New York talent Wes Gordon for Gordon’s fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection. Nicholas KirkwoodAvant-garde English designer Nicholas Kirkwood is known for his inventive creations—some of which come with sand-art heels, and built-in LED lights. This decidedly paired-down pump from his fall 2012 collection displays a good deal of toe cleavage, framed in magenta suede. amyManolo BlahnikBlahnik included this chartreuse satin ‘Ricarda’ pump in his pre-fall 2012 collection. The sling-back style is cut exceptionally low around the toe area. Shailene WoodleyDescendants actress Shailene Woodley, who has been praised for her fashionable red-carpet style, was spotted wearing Vibram shoes underneath her gown at a Golden Globes afterparty in January. VibramIn an unprecedented shift for athletic gear, Vibram released their five-finger concept for a nearly barefoot lifestyle. The design caught on like wildfire despite its awkward appearance. BENOIT TESSIEREmbellishmentEmbellishment at the toes has grown in popularity since Comme des Garçon’s trompe l’oeil oxfords (at left) debuted in fall 2009. From studs to animal embroideries, designers are highlighting the toes with a variety of trims. Giuseppe AresuJil SanderFor his final collection at Jil Sander, Raf Simons designed these talon-like pumps with a graphic embellishment that frames the toes. EricChristian LouboutinFor his ‘Asteroid’ heel, Louboutin capped the toes with a cluster of protruding gold spikes. Louis LanzanoOscar de la RentaThis high-cut shoe boot by Oscar de la Renta is embroidered in tiny sequins that shade darker in the direction of the toes. Soul BrotherHoovesMaison Martin Margiela initiated toe encapsulation in 2009 with their hoof-like shoes that resemble traditional Japanese tabi—socks that segment the large toe from the rest of the foot, enabling geishas to don platform thong sandals without a scrunched-up hitch. Here Sarah Jessica Parker wears the style in New York. Pascal Le SegretainLanvinIn the absence of toe cleavage, designers created styles that exaggerated the toe area. At left are shoes from Alber Elbaz’s fall 2012 collection for Lanvin, in which the front of the foot was exceedingly stretched out. Camilla SkovgaardCutting-edge designer Camilla Skovgard exaggerated the toes by constructing a hoof-shape for her fall 2012 collection. Dominique CharriauGiambattista ValliThese streamlined flat mules by Giambattista Valli utilize a monochromatic color scheme to emphasize the toes. Ian GavanChristopher KaneLondon Fashion Week darling Christopher Kane created bondage-like heels for his fall collection, which included a skin-baring void just above the toes. Fernanda CalfatSegmentation Segmenting the toes from the rest of the foot is a surprisingly wearable trick to taking on the trend. The shoes at left, from Derek Lam’s fall 2012 collection, place emphasis on the front of the foot with a contrast-colored capped-toe rimmed in gold.