Did you never laugh at some poor model who’s fa llen head over heels on the catwalk? Designers have probably understood that women,always wrestling with a thousand commitments, need to feel comfortable first and foremost.
As you know, we women are somewhat “suggestible”. Whether it’s a miraculous diet based on the rarest of Finnish lichen, an intensive Zumba course,or some unlikely new New Age philosophy, we believe in it. Always. But if it’s designers laying down the law, we’re capable of completely losing our heads and abandoning without hesitation the convictions of an entire lifetime. But we still weren’t ready for this low blow (which is definitely what it is). There are few abiding certainties in our wardrobes, packed as they are with questionable choices and mementoes of now-forgotten trends. But one of these fixtures, one we thought we’d never renounce, was the stiletto, the symbol par excellence of contemporary femininity. With its 12-centimetre heel (15 for the bravest) it makes even the simplest outfit glamorous and sexy.
But instead, my dear disciples of Louboutin, tireless champions of the maxim “higher is better”, it seems that you’ll have to think again. Alongside the classic stiletto since few seasons is appeared the “mid-heel”. Yes, you heard that right: the mid-heel. That thinnish heel, three to six centimetres max, which – let’s face it – was up until yesterday seen as the pump’s dorky cousin. But before screaming “conspiracy” and panicking, give it some proper thought for a moment. Without calling into question the aesthetic fascination of high heels – obsessively ordered by colour on our shoe-altars –there are very few women who can wear them all day without risking a physical and nervous breakdown.
How many times have you been running from one appointment to another and cursed yourself for choosing the thinnest of stilettos, which has now masterfully embedded itself in the subway grating? And that’s not to mention the fact that only a small elite group can move with natural elegance from the top of stilts that defy the law of gravity. Hands up if you’ve never laughed at some poor model who’s fallen head over heels on the catwalk. Exactly. Designers have probably understood that women, always wrestling with a thousand commitments, need to feel comfortable first and foremost. There’s nothing to say that the mercilessly criticised “happy medium” can’t be an acceptable alternative.
The best example of this trend U-turn is the kitten heel, the shoe with a low, slender heel. Introduced by a few brave individuals in recent seasons, it was welcomed somewhat half-heartedly and with a certain scepticism, for then come back again in the limelight thanks to the genius of Marc Jacobs. Because this is a design with its origins in the past, one that comes with the most respectable of pedigrees: it was a true cult shoe in the 50s and 60s, and was a favourite with Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy. And if you were thinking that this shoe has always been the exclusive prerogative of elderly ladies out for a Sunday drive, prepare yourself for any number of contemporary reinterpretations: they’re perfect with either jeans or the sexiest of pencil skirts.
But if the retro allure of these lovely little shoes isn’t for you, you could consider the mid-heel in a more stable, square version. From the classic pumps to the ankle boot and the more masculine brogue and loafer, the list of alternatives is endless. In other words, for now this compromise solution has all the makings of a small revolution. Designers, ever-accustomed to their entourages of gorgeous, unattainable divas, seem to have taken their inspiration from real women for a change, women who queue at the supermarket or the post office, and who don’t have time to go home to change before an aperitif. In other words, us. Obviously, no one is asking you to give up your beloved stilettos permanently. Never ever! But perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to keep them for special occasions, when your feet will be on show and needed for nothing much more than getting.