There is something significantly powerful that women feel when we dress in garb that is strictly female. We worked so hard for our recognition, why now would we muddy it up with yet another manly tool in our wardrobe?
The high heeled shoe is an emphatic device that can turn an unpretentious jeans and t-shirt combination into a red carpet worthy, iconic ensemble, documented for years to come. It is no revelation that the science and magic in heel heightening has sophisticated itself so expertly that men, women, designers, fashionistas and civilians just can’t get enough of the shoes that keep us so elevated from the world and confident that we shan’t fall or won’t care if we do.
Shoes have become so magnificent that we can no longer survive on the simple Court, the T bar or the Mary Jane, we want higher heels, perspex heels, chrome heels, heart shaped platforms, cantilever heels, heels in the shape of the Eifel tower and wedges just as high and the designers have just kept them coming and coming; higher, sexier and more jaw droppingly magical every time.
Christian Louboutin designed the vertically heeled shoes for David Lynch’s Fetish exhibition at Paris’ Galerie du Passage in 2007, Miucca Prada had models toppling over their platform sandals in Milan 2008 and 2009; Alexander McQueen designed the Alien versus Predator shoe that everybody in 2010 is raging about. These shoes, like the lady we first to wear them send us totally Gaga; neither is exactly beautiful, but both are ridiculously tremendous and both make us question, ‘Can you really wear that?’
Well, of course these shoes are far from practical, but it didn’t take this shoe to reach impracticality, the predecessors have been just as impractical – in fact there is no such thing as a practical, high heeled shoe. This is what fashion is all about, being excessive, a little bit quirky, sometimes understated, other times over the top, but always unnecessary. Are high heels worth all the hype?
In a word – Yes. Feminists may disagree, but high heels are a woman’s super power and they are intrinsically female; It’s ok that Marc Jacobs, absent of Scottish heritage wears a kilt, but how would we feel if he wore six inch high, Mini Bout Killer Louboutins?
Yet this fashion terminology ‘boyfriend’ seems to be knocking about almost too frequently, applied to almost too many items of clothing, seeming as though it’s definitely here to stay; we have boyfriend blazers, boyfriend shirts, boyfriend cardigans and boyfriend jumpers and even without the boyfriend title we can wear their belts, their watches, their caps and their satchels. Surely we want to draw the line there and keep our feet strictly female, strictly feminine and strictly sky scrapingly high? The overflow of flat shoes on the runway, the saturation of Brogues and other mannish shoes on the streets would obviously prove not. The Brogues in the ss2010 Alberta Ferretti collection are most certainly pretty and have been made effeminate, however they still render the man’s shoe.
Lee Wright indicates that the stiletto heel has been extensively perceived by both men and women as a symbol of female subordination, photographer David Bayley made a statement, ‘I like heels, I know it’s chauvinistic. It means girls can’t run away from me’, the Brogue and the mannish shoe could be the rebuttal to this comment. Maybe these shoes are an act of freedom or a rebellious act, here to save us from the crippling of our feet, the excruciating pain at the end of an evening out and the back pains we will suffer, if not already suffering. But once upon a time the heeled shoe was the act of rebellion and liberation, just as the brogue and the masculine shoe may be today.
I am by no means submissive or subservient and have zero in common with the Stepford Wives. If you wanted to, you could go as far as to say I may possess some feminist traits, I give a go at being a womanly woman or at least a powerful woman and I try to dress accordingly – after all I am a heterosexual who guiltily enjoys the look of approval from a man and lucky enough to be born in an era where I can love every minute of being a woman. Having said that, my partner hates my heels, but that’s a power struggle he’ll have to give in to.
Thank you McQueen for the power packed twelve inch heel and everything else you have done for fashion. RIP X x x