I have never been afraid of heights. That is why I was fascinated by high heel shoes since my childhood. Fine, winding, with stiletto heels. My Beta-video of ‘Cinderella’ must be tired of me rewinding to that famous scene of Cinderella losing her crystal shoe again and again. And so must my aunts have been tired of me when I asked them to drop their shoe when walking down the stairs so I could pick it up again and recreate that part of the tale.
The magic of the stilettos is as dark as it is sexual, as shiny as patent leather, as mysterious as some of the women who wear them. Through my teenage years, in a village at the Bay of Biskay and the following period as a student of footwear in London and afterwards as a design assistant for footwear, my interest in shoes has given me the chance to listen to the women in my surroundings. The ones who took me by the hand from my childhood, the ones who took their shoes off after a party night, the ones who walked on high heels for the first time and have walked with me. And if I have come to a conclusion it’s that, that I don’t support the repetitive speech that shoes with high heels provide a woman with strength. That’s crap. If they had to be provided with something it’s balance.
On the early mornings of the weekends, returning to their homes from a party, I see many girls walking without shoes and with their high heel shoes in their hands. They’d be staggering and stepping on the chewing gums on the pavement. I ask myself: ‘Why don’t they wear pumps which wouldn’t betray them?’ But what would make me most excited is seeing them wearing a good high heel shoe.
“Oh! But with two children and a pram how would I walk all day long high up on a scaffold!?” or “How can you understand, I am not wearing Manolo shoes when I go to buy some bread”. Of course not, my dear, but we should not forget that high heel shoes are a choice and that other women love to wear them 24 hours a day. To cut down the speech about “No pain, no gain” I consider that the suffering with 4 inches high heels becomes less important when the product contributes to that illusion. We are talking of fashion, of fantasy, and you don’t discuss usefulness over high heels. If you are one of those who don’t wear high heels, I invite you to go on reading, keeping in mind that I do not intend on selling you anything.
Many stilettos are icons. Manolo Blahnik has his ‘BB’, Louboutin his ‘Pigalle’ or ‘So Kate’, and Jimmy Choo has his ‘Anouk’ or ‘Abel’ for example. Court shoes in neutral color with toe-cap and stilettos. But what makes each of them different?
The initials of the actor Brigitte Bardot gave name to the ‘BB’ by Manolo, their heels have a very conservative shape and straighter and classic neckline. The highest designs are of 4.14 inches and 4.53 inches and do include a version with a buckle around the ankle. It so famous that the multibrand warehouse Neiman Marcus offers a customization service for the ‘BB’; you can choose between 5 heights and 20 colours.
Images: Bergdorf Goodman
The French Christian Louboutin called his design from 2004 ‘Pigalle’ after the emerging neighbourhood of Paris. 10 years later (having its hashtag at Instagram #PigalleIs10), its cousin ‘So Kate’ has been stealing some ground from it recently. ‘Pigalle’ has its two versions with 3.94 inches and 4.72 inches with a strong heel and practically straight. On the other hand ‘So Kate’ only appears with 4.72 inches and appears more vertiginous. The elegance of its heel is put to the maximum as well, as its lowering cut which makes it an extremely sexy and modern shoe.
Images: Bergdorf Goodman
The London company Jimmy Choo has ‘Anouk’. Based on 4.72 inches, it is maybe the most sharp-pointed shape, compared to the other icons. Nevertheless, its cut and neckline balance that length. In the majority of its versions it comes with a lacquered heel and not leather-wrapped; it gets a flawless definition while keeping the slimness of the heel. It has also a lower version with 3.94 inches called ‘Abel’.
Images: Luisa Via Roma
It all sums up in quality and attention to the details as you can see in this video of Jimmy Choo where he shows the climax of personalization: his made-to-order service. From the sketch to the shoe, completing it with some metallic initials of the customer on their soles. Luxury.
It’s an entire world of shoes, and I tried to show you what I love about them in this post. I don’t know what you think about it. But let me tell you that I think like Salvador Dalí, ‘The esthetics above all, and I will improve the ethics’.