Statement Shoes

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Marni, S/S 2015.

Outside of Kendall Jenner, one of the most buzzed about appearances during Milan Fashion Week were Marni’s roller wedges for S/S ’15. The collection featured Japanese inspired minimalist pieces and transitioned into splashy floral prints, some tailoring, many oversize pieces and asymmetrical cuts. Vogue referred to Marni’s S/S ’15 shoes as “ugly pretty,” with the standout of the affair being the roller heels. While Milan Fashion Week is a typically sexy showing, there is nothing very sexy about the Birkenstock-like sandals Consuelo Castiglioni sent down the runway. Yet the whimsical, unconventional appeal of the roller heels are impactful in their brazenness, their impracticality but ultimately the allure of an impossible shoe that makes one wonder what if? For decades women have opted for fashion over functionality when it comes to shoes. Footwear is typically what makes or breaks an outfit so of course they are just as influential on the runways.

Outlandish runway heels have contributed to some of fashion’s most iconic moments and pairings. There were the Vivienne Westwood Ghillie Heels that caused Naomi Campbell to take a tumble on the runway in 1993, Alexander Mcqueen’s 2010 Armadillo Shoes, one of his final collections. Iconic shoes don’t always shock; sometimes they appear on the scene and completely revamp the way women approach dressing. In 1971 Ossie Clark commissioned up-and-coming Manolo Blahnik to design shoes for his runway collection, the pairing helped launch Blahnik’s career and in turn the Spanish designer would steer women’s fashion away from platforms and towards the sexy stilettos through which Blahnik has made his name. Roger Vivier created iconic footwear while at Dior but one of his greatest contributions to the fashion landscape were his Pilgrim Pumps, as simple and understated as the name would suggest, their pairing with Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian Collection, and appearance on Catherine Deneuve in the 1967 film Belle de Jour made them a symbol of 1960s Parisian style.

Footwear has an architectural quality that is not as easily translated in clothing. Texture, height and volume on shoes are the purest runway statement. Below are just a few snaps and moments in time when shoes transformed the runway, cemented a brilliant pairing or changed the direction of women’s fashion.

Salvatore Ferragamo is credited with innovating the platform, 1938. (Photo courtesy the MET)


(L) Model changes shoes backstage at Pierre Balmains show, 1951. Photo by Nina Leen. (R) Roger Vivier for Dior, 1959.


Roger Vivier for Dior, 1961. (R: Photo by Paul Schulzer)


(L) Courrèges, Space Age Collection, 1964. (R) Courrèges, Harper’s Bazaar, 1965. Photo by Melvin Sokolsky.


(L) Pilgrim Pumps by Roger Vivier, designed for YSL's A/W 1965 collection and seen on Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour. (R) David Bailey captures the Roger Vivier Pilgrim show paired with the YSL Mondrian dress, Vogue Paris, 1965.


(L) 8 inch platforms, 1970s. (R) ZOMP Platform shoes, 1973.


Ivy Shoe by Manolo Blahnik for Ossie Clark, 1971.


(L) Vivienne Westwood, Buffalo Girls boots, A/W 1983. (R) Vivienne Westwood Rocking Horse shoes, 1987.


(L) Chanel glass slippers, 1991. (R) Naomi Campbell in Vivienne Westood Ghilley platforms, 1993.


(L) Givenchy, 1990s. (R-top) Maison Martin Margiela, 1998. (R-bottom) Christian Louboutin's Ballerina Ultima is Louboutin's highest heeled shoe standing at 8-inches.


(L) Christian Dior's Goddess Shoes, 2009. (R) Alexander Mcqueen Armadillo shoe, S/S 2010.

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