Ready to Wear: Can thigh-high boots ever be right on?

And so to the accessory of the autumn/winter season, which may have been a restrained if lovely affair, at least in some designers' hands, but more than made up for any conservatism in dress as far as footwear is concerned. Enter the thigh-high boot.

Alexander McQueen's were the most extreme of the season – well, they would be, wouldn't they. Crafted in nappa leather, they were as uncompromisingly tight-fitting as their chopine-style heels were high. A fashion fact: the chopine was a 15th-century platform shoe that, on occasion, rose to a towering 30 inches, requiring madam to walk with a cane or simply a servant – a cane with legs? – to help her on her way. But it did protect expensive and elaborate uppers from anything as foul as street debris, say, or rain.

The woman who wears McQueen, however, is rock-hard enough to walk in them all on her own, thanks. Prada's by now infamous waders were rather different in spirit. Still the height of luxury – once again, only the softest leather will do – they came in signature sludgy colours and were almost as roomy as they were tall. Almost. The designer proposes that we wear them with big woolly knickers, which just goes to show how brilliantly deranged the best fashion may be.

Perhaps Hussein Chalayan's take on this theme fell somewhere between the two. As baggy as a wader, they came in S&M black with (also S&M) suspenders attached. There was nothing, however, much S&M about Peter Jensen's boots. Scattered with Tyrolean flowers, and bright white, they were inspired by a trip to Greenland, apparently.

It's unlikely that Giles Deacon's thigh-high boots would do well in such intemperate climes. If ever there was a luxe gesture in the footwear department, this is surely it: pretty impressive in gold, these were most extravagant in Parma-violet suede as soft as they were scene-stealing, and about as pavement-friendly as a sick puppy.

Can a thigh-high boot ever be right-on? If Stella McCartney has her way, they can be. The effect is just as in-your-face sexy, but their faux origins leave the animal kingdom intact.

Finally, a word of warning: even the most urbane have, in the past, succumbed to the perils of the thigh-high boot. Chloë Sevigny famously lost four teeth back in 2004 when she fell off a pair in lavender leather. The culprit? Balenciaga. That's alright then.

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