Thursday, August 20, 2009


Just as we'd managed to convince ourselves that 17cm heels were a practical footwear option, rather than the modern equivalent of foot-binding, designers have made a radical U-turn.

Flats are back. You could call it fashion's banking crisis: heels rose to unsustainable heights and, as with the recession, no one quite saw the fall coming.

Now, even Britain's Trades Union Congress has jumped in on the act. Earlier this month it announced that high heels are demeaning to women and should not be worn in the office. Make of this what you will, but its suggestion that women should wear "sensible shoes" has inadvertently put the TUC in the same style camp as Vogue and it is unclear which party is more surprised.

News that pancake soles are the new vanguard of style will be a shock for many women (not to mention their shortened Achilles tendons). Sales of flat shoes may be up by 20 per cent at Selfridges, but the thrill of prancing about on a pair of toughened knitting needles is impossible to recreate with both feet safely on the ground.

Let's be clear, even though Christopher Kane, Hannah MacGibbon at Chloe, Calvin Klein and Lanvin's Alber Elbaz endorsed flat shoes on the catwalk, your old scuffed ballet slippers will not be at the forefront of fashion next season. That would be too straightforward.

Kane, who is fast becoming one of the most influential designers around, is adamant about the type of flats he deems acceptable. "Is it ballet pumps?" he asks. "In my opinion, no; flats need to be more boyish."

They must have attitude too...

Image (Tracey Gillinder @ Jimmy Choo, Sydney) & article published in The Australian newspaper, Wednesday 19th August 2009. To read the entire article visit The Australian.

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