Please Stop the Shock Shoes

3/11/11

They were the shoes heard 'round the world: Alexander McQueen's spring 2010 "armadillo heels."  And when they first walked the runway a year and a half ago, I loved them.  At a staggering 10 inches high, the footwear was the perfect compliment to the late designer's otherworldly, underwater collection. Audience members gawked at them, and several models flat-out refused to walk the show in them due to safety issues (a valid argument, I would say).

Nina Ricci fall '09, Alexander McQueen fall '11, Mugler fall '11

Those were not the first outrageous shoes to teeter down the runway, though.  Oliver Theyskens sent a heelless pair out in Paris for Nina Ricci in the fall 2009 season (top, left) that caused a stir in the fashion industry. Different versions of sky high platforms have been seen often on the runways ever since.  However, anyone who has taken a basic fashion course has probably heard the old rule that, "All trends end in excess."  And that's what seems to be happening with these part stripper heel, part piece of art hybrids.  With the platforms getting more and more chunky, heights towering ever more high, you have to admit that many runway shoes are starting to look plain absurd.

The fact of the matter is, none of these heels will ever even make it to retail.  They make one appearance at show time, only to be taken immediately after and placed in some storage room for forever more.  Brands produce far more toned down versions for the buying public; and unless someone like Daphne Guinness or Lady Gaga decides that she wants a pair, they will never see the light of day again.  So what's the point?  Say what you will about artist license, but fashion shows are first and foremost a tool for designers to showcase their collections to buyers and editors.  These buyers and editors then serve the general public by selling or reporting on the newest fashions.  Sending out these monstrosities on poor girls' feet isn't doing anyone any good at this point.

And aside from that reasoning, I'm just plain sick of embellished platforms.  There's nothing exciting or fresh about them after seeing variations on the same version for five seasons in a row.  Thus, I would like to commend Nicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga and Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy for sending out the below gorgeous, sophisticated shoes for their fall 2011 shows.  After a relatively long absence from the runways, pointy toe pumps feel like a subtly sexy alternative to overtly sexual platforms.  These sleek designs exemplify that this style doesn't have to be boring; eye catching slits and statement making patterns can still keep things interesting without resorting to publicity stunts.

Balenciaga fall '11 (above), Givenchy fall '11 (below).  Images via the Cut

1 remark

Blogger said...

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