Fashion's preoccupation with footwear that is bizarre to the point of madness continues to gather momentum.
Only this week, the 'Independent' fashion team has been informed of the existence of "hairy" shoes. "The hair is still on the cow!" the PR exclaims, describing what in fact looks like a pair of ponyskin moccasins, although admittedly they are somewhat more hirsute than might be expected. Or how about a nice pair of "clog boots" to protect fashionable feet come the cold snap? These sheepskin-lined clodhoppers resemble a Dutch doll/Ugg boot hybrid, and seem destined to make an appearance on Primrose Hill some time soon.
Both of these mid-market specimens pale into insignificance compared with much of the designer footwear that came down the runway at the spring/summer collections, however, all soon to make their way into a store near you.
Top of the list where these are concerned are Christopher Kane's "stegosaurus" shoes, hefty great platform-soled designs that come complete either with a single tusk on the nose (sorry, toe), or edged entirely with more-cute-than-menacing spikes and plates. True, these are unlikely to be ubiquitous next season, but that is precisely the point. What, after all, is the point of a "must have" shoe, when most people's consciences are screaming "mustn't have!" each and every time they set eyes on a price tag?
John Galliano's shoes for Dior are equally remarkable, if not more so given that this is not a bright young designer's folly but the progeny of a corporate superpower. In this instance, a stark-naked and heavily pregnant fertility goddess takes pride of place where otherwise a heel might be, giving new meaning to the time-honoured concept of "shoes to have sex in".
Over at Alexander McQueen, shoes take on a more visceral quality still, moulded to follow the outline of the foot, complete with five small but perfectly formed little toes. They're as near to naked as a shoe can be, although last season's flats have been relegated to the bottom drawer by this designer. Heels, in this instance, are relentlessly high. In a similar vein, Balenciaga – shoe-god Pierre Hardy is responsible for the footwear here – champions the "no shoe", which is simply an extension of a sparkly silver stocking, this time with a chunky white rubber heel, part-'Magic Roundabout', part-'Back To The Future' in effect.
At Maison Martin Margiela, shoes are designed to be worn either too big or too small – the idea of something that simply fits the foot being overly straightforward, clearly. And finally, Miuccia Prada, who, let's not forget, is the patron saint of the other-worldly shoe, has morphed the humble ballet slipper with quite the most elaborate, not to mention vertiginous, python-skinned designs in recent history. 'Sauvage'. In every sense of the word.