It wasn’t just my imagination. This spring Paris decided to explore the ever-shifting line between pleasure and pain, according to Eric Wilson’s IHT report. Perhaps inspired the bondage-centered exhibition of David Lynch that displayed women with nothing but their Louboutin’s, the runway decided to get a bit naughty. Gone are the chunky heels and flats and ushered back in were the long, slender heels and legs bound with leather straps. It hurts so good.– Joanne Molina, Senior Editor
This season, dangerous shoes make an impact
Standing outside an art gallery off the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau
earlier this month, the director Sofia Coppola was overheard whispering
with friends about an exhibition of David Lynch photographs that showed
women on their knees, or reclining, or revealing themselves to the
camera, wearing nothing but Christian Louboutin shoes. She uttered the
word "bondage" with such potency that it hung in the night’s humid air,
as if she had said something illicit.
For as much as the spring collections in Paris romanticized
traditionally conservative notions of dress, as in those long day
dresses, garden prints and nipped-waist New Look suits, something more
sinister seemed to be happening beneath the surface.
More precisely, it was happening on the models’ feet, expressed in
the design of shoes that could just as well have come from the
Lynch-Louboutin exhibition, which was titled "Fetish."
Nicolas Ghesquière of Balenciaga and Stefano Pilati of Yves Saint
Laurent, for example, offered refinement in their clothes, yet
paradoxically showed them worn with shoes that looked aggressively
fetishistic or worse. At Balenciaga, the models’ legs were caged in
futuristic footwear made of metal plates laced up to the knees with
braids. At Yves Saint Laurent, the soles of Pilati’s needle-thin
stilettos were replaced by a thin metal rod that connected the heel to
the toe, leaving the most sensitive – some would say erotic –
underbelly of the foot vulnerably exposed. The models looked as if they
were walking a tightrope, and the audience was made to feel alternately
fascinated and terrified.
"After seeing shoes that were clunky for so long, your eye has
become accustomed to the big platform," said Amelia Vicini, the senior
fashion editor of Town & Country. "So the shoes at YSL seemed
fresh. The reed-thin heel seems really modern."
The appearance of so many shoes that were either ingenious,
architecturally marvelous or potentially murderous gives credence to
what some designers have predicted is a fashion movement away from the
It bag, since there are now so many self-proclaimed It bags that no one
can really keep track of what It is any longer.
So now comes the It shoe, more insider-y, more daring for consumers
to pull off. And Paris offered some of the most breathtaking (as in,
how would you ever wear them) examples of the season. At Chloé, the
heels were inverted triangles, ending in a sharp point, as if the
wearer were standing on a shark’s tooth. At Nina Ricci, heels curved
inward like thick bear claws.
Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy offered gladiator styles that laced to
the knees, in sandal and stiletto variations. Alexander McQueen
included a pagoda shoe in his show that elicited applause for the model
who wore them without falling; and Antonio Berardi showed a high heel
on an elongated platform at the toe that actually had no heel (a style
similar to ones Marc Jacobs did for his New York show).
"When you walk, it is almost on tiptoe," Berardi said. "You look really dainty."
Dainty? Perhaps dainty like a faun.
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