Ready to Wear: A mid-heel is very much in evidence for the forthcoming season
Monday 12 October 2009
Paris in the rain. Not that the inclement weather did much to dampen the fashion followers' penchant for wearing elaborate and ever more vertiginous footwear. That's the kind that looks like strangely futuristic vehicles as opposed to anything as pragmatic as a humble shoe, and that is guaranteed to attract strange glances on the school run.
As a long-time devotee of the paper-flat pump, it's fair to say that, although I have the luxury of being able to run, even across cobbled Parisian courtyards, I do, truth to tell, look short, fat and frumpy by comparison. In real as opposed to fashion life I'd like to think that that is not, strictly speaking, the case.
After seasons and even years where women – and women working in the fashion industry in particular – have become increasingly tall and thin, something of a turnaround now appears to be taking place, however.
At Roger Vivier, a mid-heel – it's called "the lady" and looks not entirely dissimilar to a kitten heel but, I am reliably informed by the PR, is a centimetre higher – is very much in evidence for the forthcoming spring/summer season. At Pierre Hardy – M Hardy is something of a shoe deity – laser-cut strappy leather sandals come with an ultra-high heel but also one not much more than around 5cms high that look like a perfect pleasure to wear. At Givenchy, tough ankle boots that are guaranteed to be a fashion favourite were equally moderate.
At Stella McCartney, comparatively low cork wedges (below), just like the ones the designer's mother used to favour, look nothing short of, well, practical, or shockingly normal – whichever side of the fence one chooses to occupy.
Finally, and a testimony to the fact that this is more than mere speculation, at Louis Vuitton, home to the insider's footwear of choice, mules, loafers and moccasin boots all had a sweet, spherical heel that was about as far from the ubiquitous elevated platform as it is possible to imagine.
Of course, seismic changes such as a loss in height of between 5cm and 8cm are unlikely to happen overnight. This is fashion, after all, and the aim – love it or loathe it – has long been to mimic the type of stick-thin silhouette that bring an illustration to mind. And so Balenciaga's heels were flared – a bit like the Eiffel tower but solid and still massively high.
Alexander McQueen's "armadillo" shoe looks like an otherworldly desert creature on a plinth and, at Lanvin, Dior, Miu Miu, Celine and more, height is still on the extreme side. It may, though, now finally be time for a change. Stilts, after all, are presumably quite flattering, but you wouldn't want to go shopping in them.
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