Models revolt over heel hell

Alexander McQueen's 12in heels have triggered a catwalk boycott because of concerns over safety

The days of designers forcing models to teeter on catwalks in towering heels could be over as three leading models have rebelled against wearing the latest 12in platforms. Abbey Lee Kershaw and her colleagues Natasha Poly and Sasha Pivovarova refused to take part in Alexander McQueen's latest show because his signature shoes were too high.

Ever since Naomi Campbell's dramatic catwalk tumble in 1994, the soaring height of heels has been a source of controversy. McQueen's latest stilt-like creations known as "armadillos" are three inches higher than the Vivienne Westwood platforms that toppled Campbell. The lobster-claw shaped shoes are so high that models were concerned they might not leave the catwalk with their ankles or reputations intact.

Kershaw and her colleagues met earlier this year and agreed not to appear in McQueen's show because they had "work safety" concerns about the height of his shoes. When his spring/summer collection was exhibited in October there were three notable faces missing: Kershaw, Poly and Pivovarova.

The British shoe designer Emma Hope said she sympathised with the models. "It'd be like walking on a ruler," she said. "That's the opposite of what people want to look like."

But not everyone is against McQueen's towering footwear. The style icon Daphne Guinness and singer Lady Gaga have both worn the oversized shoes, which fashion enthusiasts have hailed as "works of art" and "the ugliest shoes in the universe".

Kershaw, 22, has reason to be cautious of McQueen's eccentric styles. She fainted after his spring 2009 show, when she was cinched into a tiny corset, and she had to sit out part of the autumn/winter 2009 shows due to a knee injury caused by another footwear-related blunder.

Patty Huntington, author of the fashion blog Frockwriter, discovered the models' pact after speaking to Kershaw last week about working conditions and extreme shoes. "They had a mini models' meeting and decided not to do the show," Huntington said. "I've only heard of isolated cases of girls refusing to wear high shoes; for three big-name models to have taken a stand together like this is unheard of.

"It's quite interesting because there are a lot of attempts to make models' unions at the minute," Huntington added. "This is a sign that models are finally having serious concerns about health and safety."

Ellie Levenson, author of The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism, said: "I think their refusal to wear these shoes is quite a feminist move, in that feminism is about having the confidence to say no. Designers do influence what women wear and I think it's irresponsible to encourage women to wear excessive and dangerous clothing."

ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Guru Careers: Graduate Media Assistant

    Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an ambitious and adaptable...

    Guru Careers: Solutions Consultant

    £30 - 40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Solutions Consultan...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before