Is It Time To Hang Up Your Heels?
THEY can be beautiful, jaw-dropping and drool-worthy but let’s be honest, high heels are never comfortable. Even when we insist they are, it’s still such a relief to take them off at the end of a night. How women wear heels during the day is a greater mystery to me than the whole fig roll debate. It was with this not-so-secret loathing that I welcomed what the runway has had to offer this year – flats!
Pointy ones, sneakers, sandals, boots and brogues. The joys! They’re flat shoes and they’ve been around forever. No one can take credit for them. It’s not the invention of the wheel but they have experienced an increased presence on runways which usually favour a higher heel. Victoria Beckham seems to be getting a lot of praise for the trend. She sent her own models down the catwalk in beautiful brogues during London Fashion Week and designers in Milan have taken note with Dolce & Gabbana showcasing models in a variety of flat shoes at their AW14 show. Giorgio Armani, Alexander Wang, Chanel, Dior and Oscar de la Renta have also offered flats in various forms as the answer to this year’s shoe style.
Mrs Beckham is known for her penchant for skyscraper heels and once said she ‘couldn’t concentrate in flats‘ and ‘beyond hated‘ ballet shoes but has had to learn to love them after being told to hang up her heels in 2011. She suffered a slipped disc following the birth of daughter Harper Seven and was under doctor’s orders to wear comfortable shoes. Other celebrities have also been ditching the heels, including Poppy Delevingne, Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung, who has long championed flats.
High shoes have the power to make an entire show go awry. Sky-high heels are often to blame for models falling on the runway. When a model looks uncomfortable or struggles in their footwear, it’s distracting for the audience and takes attention away from the rest of the outfit. This is just another fantastic reason for designers to embrace the heel-less look. This is a trend that makes sense, every woman wants to be comfortable and look stylish at the same time. With more women leading demanding lives, gone are the days of running for the bus in a pair of towering heels. I think there has always been a bit of a taboo about how flats can’t be flattering, but with the right trouser leg length or skirt length, they can make anyone’s legs look longer.
“In the history of fashion, around 1800 to 1840 or 1845, women had flat shoes. Even with a ball gown, they had flat shoes,” Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld said in a video interview posted on Chanel’s website. At their haute couture catwalk in January, Lagerfeld paired every tweed suit and glittery gown with a matching pair of sneakers. This helped to make trainers the talking point of the Couture season. I’m not a hundred per cent sold on the trainers with gowns look but there’s no denying the extra spring in the models’ step as they bounded down the staircase, which in heels would have been an ominous runway hazard.
Lagerfeld continued the trend on his supermarket-themed show in Paris earlier this month when he built a collection from the ground up on trainers. “They had to continue,” he said openly. “If you want to look really ridiculous, you go in stilettos in a supermarket.” But Chanel wasn’t the only design house to embrace sporty chic footwear. Dior’s runway show included a few pairs of bedazzled slip-on sneaker-like shoes. These looked more like aqua socks but they still seemed like a more comfortable alternative to high heels.
If, like me, you haven’t quite warmed to the idea of sneakers for formal wear yet, there are plenty of other options. Pointy flats seem to be everywhere and the spring 2014 fashion shows made a case in proving they can look extremely sophisticated and sleek when worn the right way. Look out for gold, nude, classic black, polka dot and floral. Brogues are still enjoying a moment and can be as lovely dressed up as they are down. Don’t be put off by the hipster association. We no longer have to suffer for fashion: bring on the flats!
Photos c/o glamourmagazine.co.uk, theglassmagazine.com, womanheel.com, paperblog.com, wjlondon.com