Style police: Here kitty kitty
Sunday 02 August 1998
DON'T YOU just love it when fashion is hauled up in front of a kangaroo court? This season, kitten heels and flatty, strappy sandals are in the dock. They stand accused as summer shoe imposters. The fashion press, Style Police included, has been fawning over kitten heels for longer than we care to remember. The proportions of this season's fashions, they have argued, demand a neat little heel to complement the cutesy, girlie twinsets and pedal pushers. The public, however, has chosen to overturn the fashion editor's decision and unanimously bulk buy the simple wedgie mule instead.
The reason is simple. Show a London girl a "girlie" fashion, and it is her inborn instinct to dress it down. Wedges give feminine clothes a reassuring, clumpy punctuation mark. They also give height without being in the least teetering.
Bitter? Style Police? Not a bit of it. Fashion editors don't dictate any more; they suggest. Who would have thought the humble, rubber-soled wedgie with a simple band over the toe would be such a hit with the public? Then again, who could have predicted Jayne Macdonald - sultry chanteuse of BBC's The Cruise fame - would knock the Beastie Boys off the top of the album chart? Hand on heart, you never cease to amaze Style Police.
"I've learned over the years never to listen to fashion editors when they talk shoes," says Time Out's Sell Out editor Lorna V. "Do fashion people have special feet? It's the only explanation for their choice of the "must-have" shoe. Any woman knows she needs something to protect the soles of her feet from the pavement. Flat sandals are desperately uncomfortable. They look so flimsy anyway, with half an inch of sole between your flesh and the concrete. Wedgies are great because they give you a couple of inches lift, while retaining the posture you have with a flat sandal. Your foot is still parallel with the pavement, but you have the lift as if you're standing on a book."
Now, there's little point telling you where to get the best wedgie mules because you've bought them already. But we certainly have time to give you a few pointers about the most popular styles. Prada led us all down the road to Tokyo with Geisha style wooden wedgies. They look fabulous, but unless you've been binding your feet like a geisha since your cradle days, they're impossible to walk in. The bog-standard rubber soled wedgie mule is the winner. But lest we forget, you already know that.
While flat strappy sandals have been rejected by all but the women whose feet never touch the ground, kitten heels have fared better. Again, Style Police defers to the shoe encyclopaedia in human form, Lorna V. "Kitten heels are great in principle. They do look sensational with pedals or a pencil skirt, and they are fine in a fashion environment. My gay friends love it when I wear kittens, but I don't feel as comfortable wearing them for day. I bought the zebra-patterned pair Office did, similar to the Miu Miu ones. But the brilliant thing is, they are light as a feather so you can slip them in your bag and change for evening."
For all their merits, a rubber wedgie mule hardly looks delicate for evening with a pretty little dress. Even if they're half the thickness of Scary Spice platforms - and by God, they should be - wedgies are a daywear shoe only. Kittens come out at night.
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