Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Friday, 25 April 2008

Heels, the end is nigh


it says here


In recent seasons, high heels have been growing at a staggering rate, with celebrities seemingly daring each other to go higher and higher. Towards the end of 2006, Christian Louboutin and his trademark red soles were regularly name-checked not just in Vogue, but in the tabloid press too. Heel heights became a story in their own right. From Nigella Lawson in her 6in fetish shoes back in 2004, to exacting descriptions of the towering heels Victoria Beckham wore to the Cruise/Holmes "Welcome to LA" party last year, stories are now regularly and spuriously spun around shoes and heel heights. The result being that any two-bit celebrity who wants to be papped now knows that she need only strap on some platform spikes with nosebleed potential and coverage is pretty much guaranteed.

But there are signs that a quiet backlash is beginning. Celebrities who don't want to be associated with a limo lifestyle have turned their back on heels. Indie poster girl Alexa Chung favours Chanel two-tone pumps, and has been seen recently sporting Russell & Bromley schoolgirl loafers. It is a shoe that demands a gamine leg and a well-turned ankle, and as Chung no doubt knows, it is far harder to pull off than no-brainer 7in heels.

Russell & Bromley are quietly chuffed with the success of their Chester loafer, as it is known. "We've had that style for 25 years and it used to be a bit of a mum's shoe, but recently it has become one of our best sellers, and younger customers are buying it," explains a spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Lily Allen has freshened up her look with blonde hair and flat pumps, and although Carla-mania was draining, Mme Sarkozy did reawaken our consciousness to the sartorial excellence of flat pumps.

On the high street, which is gearing up for the annual battle of the surprising summer must-have, several flat shoe styles are already in the running. Moccasin shoes are in contention again; this time not boots but slip-ons that are not too dissimilar to Chung's loafers. Gap has already scored a hit with its selection of gladiator sandals designed by French shoe genius Pierre Hardy. Yes, we've seen the shape before, but it is the first time that a designer/high street collaboration has fixated on a simultaneously affordable and flat shoe.

So what of the future for high heels? On the catwalks for next autumn, heels still prevailed, but there were subtle signs that the mood is changing. Alexander McQueen, once a devotee of the super-sized killer stiletto, chose to style the entire second half of his autumn collection with heavily jewelled and perfectly flat slippers. They looked beautiful and if the high street takes his lead, there may well be even more options for those wishing to swerve the heel wars come autumn.

But in the meantime, let's sit back in our new flatties and watch Eva Longoria and the Beso crew, Sarah Harding, Alex Curran et al totter their 7in super-sized heels right over the tipping point into style

16 comments:

Deja Pseu said...

I don't think the mega heels ever really caught on with most women who aren't walking red carpets and are beyond their clubbing years. "Hooker shoes" seems to the the overwhelming opinion among my peers, even the style-conscious ones.

Toby Wollin said...

Me and the tendons in my ankles have never been fans of ultra-high heels and flats now have become so fashionable that I don't need to even try.

Chappell said...

The latest Louboutin shoes from the Fetish Exhibit in Paris. Apparently, they're wearable...

Gi said...

My mother bought me my first pair of heels when I was 12. Being 5'2", plus most of the people working under me are older AND taller than me, I don't wear anything BUT heels. So I guess i will miss out on this season's decorated flats :)

Kelly said...

This article seems to tell me nothing new. So, it's a trend for celebrities to wear higher heels? That's alright, but I don't know anyone in real life who is actually wearing heels higher than they would have. And haven't ballet flats been in style for a couple years now? More often than heels, I see stylish women in ballet flats on anything but the most dressy occasions. And honestly, I read more fashion magazines than is good for me, and I don't remember ever seeing any coverage on heel height.

Oh, and those Louboutin shoes creep me out! I saw a slideshow last night of 14 of his new "fetish" shoes, and I have to say it was a bit unnerving. In some the heels were so long there was no way to walk in them (obviously the point).

lagatta said...

gi, I'm no taller than you are, but I simply can't wear truly high heels any more. And wouldn't always wearing them damage your feet and back? My mum is among the generation of elderly ladies with feet deformed by stilletos.

Wendy Hutton said...

Those heels are too ridiculous to even discuss. I want to vote for your blog on the Fabbies but The Thoughtul Dresser doesn't seem to be listed on the fashion options. Help!

Gi said...

lagatta, you're right. But I cannot imagine going to work without my heels. My baby-face combined with my height makes clients doubt my abilities at times, so I have to dress older to look my age. I've been asked by a client before if i was a minor two years ago....

Anonymous said...

chappell:Took a look at the Louboutin shoes and I feel like vomiting.

Fay said...

Australian weekend papers are full of pictures of Gwyneth Paltrow in very high heels and short dresses.

Anonymous said...

No mention of Chanel couture with ALL flats? My my...

lagatta said...

gi, just think that for ten years at least, you can actually look forward to getting older!

Less baby-faced, being short isn't such a problem. I work with people from many cultures, and I can assure you that some of the very short East and Southeast Asian ladies project a LOT of power.

Anonymous said...

No mention of the wonderful Carla Bruni in her flat ballet pumps. How else did she manage to keep going during her visit a few weeks ago? Even with her gala dinner dresses she wore flats which just seemed to look even more sexy as she really did look like she was dressing for bed!

Chrystle said...

Nice post!! Well, I am a short height girl and always wear high heel shoes.

Ellie said...

Amazing design..! Such type of high heel sandals are the best for short height women.

Anonymous said...

Thank for sharing:D

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