This season, while some designers channel the â€˜60s with their mod patent leather flats, and others invoke the â€˜70s by making the tallest platform wedges I’ve seen in years, some of my favorite designers dare to turn the pages of fashion history a little farther. These bold shoemakers go back to basics by drawing inspiration from the ancestors of the modern shoe and the results leave me yearning for a fatter paycheck. I thought I’d take a moment to exasperate your retrophilia with my top picks.
1. The Aristocrat – Dame Agnes, by Fluevog: This rococo-inspired boot transports the wearer to 18th century France with its decorative accents, shell-like heel, and lace-up eyelets. Though the antiqued leather perpetuates the boot’s opulence, Fluevog keeps it modern with a clean, geometric sole.
2. The Wench – Chamomile, by Fluevog: Barmaid transforms into belle with these ghillie brogue-style heels. The modest heel, corseted laces, wingtips, and perforated toe box add feminine flair to this classic design traditionally reserved for Scottish men.
3. The Warrior – Caligae Sandal, by Sarah Juniper: While modernized and hybrid versions of the Roman sandal-boot have been in vogue since last summer, Sarah Juniper goes one step further by offering you the real deal; shield and sword sold separately.
4. The Pikeman – Horn, by CYDWOQ: This modern take on a medieval shoe softens and blunts the long, pointed toes that characterized the shoes of the 15th century. Designer Rafi Balouzian incorporates architectural concepts in the construction of his shoes, making them infinitely more comfortable than their ancient counterpart.
5. The Commoner – Mosaic, by CYDWOQ: Probably the most sedate of the bunch, this Mary Jane is reminiscent of the practical shoes that emerged during the Great War from 1914-1918. Though such utilitarian fashions evolved due to the scarce amount of materials available, these shoes are far from homely; the slightly pointed toe, leather tie, and kitten heel keep them flirty and feminine.
Though these shoes may look incredibly antiquated while isolated here on this page, I promise you that modernity is in the eye of the beholder; as with all vintage pieces, remember to pair them with contemporary apparel unless you desire to look as though you’ve just returned from a joyride in Marty McFly’s famous DeLorean.