Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Platform Shoes: A Fashion Fixture?

When something in high fashion is out, it isn't just out, it is damned-to-perdition out to such an extent that nobody can bear to think about it a moment longer. In normal worlds that would be considered a sign of shallowness, but not with fashionistas. Look at how quickly the grotesque shoes of last year have bitten the dust. No regrets, no mourning, no sentimental looking back.…

Or so we might hope. But there is a nagging thought in the back of my mind that says,'Wait and see'. It is over twenty years since Vivienne Westwood first showed her platform soles and 7 inch heels to great applause and laughter from audiences who never dreamed that such extremes could have a life away from the catwalk and be actually worn in all seriousness by women who were not supermodels. But it happened … and I am just wondering how long these shoes will be in eclipse before they return and join denim and jeans as perennial fashions that most women have in their closets, to be worn not when fashion says but when a woman feels like it.

If we were talking about men, the answer would be 'never'. But then again, something as grotesquely dangerous and uncomfortable would never have become a male fashion in the first place. Women are much more inclined to put up with pain and discomfort than men would ever be, as long as they are part of the coolest, latest fashion. As a fashion editor who is known as London's greatest shoe fetishist once told her husband, 'You just don't get it and you never will because you are not a woman. They are my blisters and bunions, my backache and sore ankles, not yours. So just shut up. You are a man and couldn't possibly understand how important fashion is to women!'


  1. The shoes we choose to wear reflect our personality, style, taste, budget, height, shape and/or what’s practical. We’re very fortunate to have so much choice, regardless of what fashion ‘dictates’. For instance, I wear all types of shoes from Vivienne Westwood platforms to flip flops, according to the occasion, or as the mood takes me – and I maintain a pretty extensive collection of vintage footwear too. Platform shoes are often considerably more comfortable than regular high heeled shoes (which lack a built up layer to support the foot, so it’s squished downwards).

    For me, it’s all about aesthetics: the shape of the design, the way the shoes complement an outfit and create an interesting ‘line’. There’s no doubt that some shoes are just plain ugly – I’d much rather wear (and see) a beautifully crafted, timelessly elegant pair of Manolos than some new designer’s clodhopping creation, or hoof-like attempt to be different.

    Like most things, wearing heels can take some getting used to. I’m sure back specialists will argue that high heels are bad for women. However, I maintain they force us to think about our posture and learn to walk properly. Some men are really jealous that they don’t get the opportunity to wear heels (at least not usually in public). Nonetheless, men also wear shoes that are uncomfortable from time to time – what about pointy toed ‘winkle pickers’ of the late ‘50s and early ‘60s - or the thick, inflexible leather of army style boots? And those are pretty ugly too!

  2. I guess its the men who are to be blamed.They leave all the pain for the women folk to bear.How may times a women wearing heels has been applauded for her sexy gait as opposed to one wear flat soled shoes? Its a plain Jane vs bimbo game ;-) And being a women myself, I have always preferred flat soles to blisters! Just depends on how empty one's life is, the emptier it is, the higher the heels.

  3. Oooh Anon, that’s a sweeping statement! What about the dreaded Ugg boots, favoured by airheads, fashion groupies and ‘sex symbols’ such as Jordan? Or the frumpy flats worn by internationally renowned beauty, Carla Sarkozy? Have you never heard of style with brains?

  4. Women love shoes as their weight may vary but their shoe size doesn't. What more comfort is there in that?

  5. Love the idea but have an image of Rick Owens in mind .. pure alpha male and in 6" heeled cowboy boots.

    Love the spectacle of shoes and meanings, overt and sublime.

  6. Men wore heels in the court of Louis XIV...and earlier in France, it was fashionable for men to wear such insanely long, pointed shoes that they had to stuff the toes to be able to walk. You never know! It could come back!

  7. I always think that the more controversial the comment, the more anonymous the commenter!

    I love both flats and heels. Have been hoping that platforms won't disappear from the fashion landscape as I love the extra few inches they give me!

  8. I love that shoes or boots
    thanks for sharing it
    i am shoes lover