SOLE of the MATTER
Glittering, bedecked with trademark symbols or a signature shade of red, the modern-day signifier of true shoe luxury has a history that spans centuries.
當 Meghan Markle挽著她的新任丈夫哈里王子走出溫莎城堡，前往晚間婚禮招待會時，眼尖的觀眾都會留意到她的高跟鞋底那一抹淺藍色。這位新任的薩塞克斯公爵夫人特別要求把緞面高跟鞋的鞋底塗成淺藍色，這是她回應西方婚禮傳統上要穿「一點藍」（ something blue）的方式。但是對於世界其它地方的人們來說，或者至少從時裝精的角度來看，這雙高跟鞋底意味一種奢華的品味。當然，單看Markle腳上這雙緞面絲網裸色高跟鞋，很難猜到出自哪位設計師手筆（其實出自Aquazzura品牌），但淺藍色的鞋底已經清楚地表明這雙鞋的獨一無二，還有什麼能比這種訂製方式更奢華？在談論鞋底的辨識度時，大家第一個想到的設計師估計就是Christian Louboutin。他調製出的標誌性紅色（專屬Pantone色號18 1663TP）甚至還被Jennifer Lopez和說唱歌手Cardi B用在歌詞裡。但其他奢侈品牌也不甘後人，比如René Caovilla和Markle最愛的Aquazzura（markle至少擁有5雙Aquazzura）也在這個平時不太為人注意的鞋底部位大做文章，向顧客表達產品的華麗精緻和高品質，同時也在向品牌擁躉傳遞默契暗語。這種鞋底設計風潮並不令人意外，最近Bain & Co.的一份消費者趨勢調查報告指出，鞋類已經成為世界奢侈品市場增長最快的品類，2017年的全球消費總額高達210億美元。紐約大學斯特恩管理學院市場營銷與創業指導教授、時尚與奢侈品研究室主任Jef frey Carr表示：「鞋類很難從設計、外觀或風格上建 René Caovilla立起廣泛的辨識度。」他指出，奢侈品牌推出的鞋類設計在廓形上很難真正地彼此區分開來，不像其它品類，比如提到一個用珍稀皮革製成、帶有鎖和鑰匙的鐘形雙挽手袋，大家就能立即識別出是Hermès Birkin。「鞋底通常是印商標的地方，這個位置相當隱蔽。」而Louboutin打破了這個規則。Carr表示：「Louboutin在鞋底設計上花費了極大功夫，從鞋的角度來看，它可能是全世界辨識度最高的品牌。」當然了，鞋底作為奢華的象徵在歷史上由來已久，從古埃及時代開始，鞋本身就被用來顯示穿著者的財富和身份地位，當時一雙精緻的涼鞋就足以作為一種位高權重的標誌，銘刻在墓碑浮雕上。在圖坦卡門法老王的墓葬品裡就發現了精美的細木雕花人字拖。鞋類帶起的奢侈風潮在1300年代極為盛行，連各國政府也參與其中：由於商人階層逐漸崛起，他們渴望穿上象徵精英身份的那種長長的尖頭鞋，這些鞋都是由昂貴的材料製成，政府因此製定法律，根據穿著者的財富收入和社會地位來規定鞋尖的長度。一個世紀以後，時尚風潮轉向稱為大嘴犀鳥或熊掌的闊頭鞋，法律又因此改成根據穿著者的地位而限制鞋頭的寬度。英國華威大學全球歷史和文化教授、Luxury: A Rich History和Shoes: A History From Sandals to Sneakers兩本書的聯合作者Giorgio
When Meghan Markle stepped out of Windsor Castle with her new husband, Prince Harry, en route to the couple’s evening wedding reception, only the most eagle-eyed of spectators likely noticed the flash of baby blue from the underside of her shoes. For the newly minted Duchess of Sussex, the lacquered soles she’d specifically requested on her satin heels were her way of carrying her “something blue” with her. But to the rest of the world—or at least, to the fashion-savvy portion of it—the soles winked luxury. Of course it was impossible to guess from looking at Markle’s satin and nude mesh heels what designer had made them (they turned out to be Aquazzura), but the pale blue soles made one thing clear: The shoes were one of a kind, and what could be more luxurious than that? When you think of sole branding, probably the first designer to spring to mind is Christian Louboutin, he of the trademarked red (officially, Pantone18 1663TP) that’s even been name-checked in songs by Jennifer Lopez and the rapper Cardi B. But other luxury designers like René Caovilla and Markle’s favored Aquazzura (she owns at least five pairs) have also colonized this less-seen shoe real estate, using it both to send messages to the buyer about the sumptuousness and quality of their product and to telegraph the brand to those in the know. It’s not surprising, considering that a recent Bain & Co. report pointed to consumer perception to explain why shoes are the fastest-growing category in the world luxury market, reaching $21 billion globally in 2017. “Shoes aren’t broadly recognized by design or by look or by styles,” says Jeffrey Carr, a clinical professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at New York University’s Stern School of Management and director of the school’s Fashion and Luxury Lab. He notes that there aren’t really separate or distinct shoe silhouettes associated with luxury brands, the way, say, a two-handled exotic leather tote with a lock and keys enclosed in a clochette is immediately identifiable as an Hermès Birkin. “The sole is often where the logo is, and it’s very subtle.” Louboutin is an exception to this rule. “He did a hell of a job with that sole,” Carr says. “On the shoe side, it’s probably the most identifiable branding in the world.” Soles, of course, have a long history as a signifier of a luxury good—and indeed even shoes themselves have been used to convey the wearer’s wealth and status at least since ancient Egyptian times, when beautiful sandals were a powerful enough sign of rank to be depicted on tomb reliefs. King Tut’s tomb contained, among other things, elaborately decorated flip-flops with marquetry veneer. Luxury footwear created sufficient fashion frenzy in the 1300s that governments got involved: The growing merchant class so desired to wear the long, pointed-toe shoes of the elite—all crafted of expensive materials—that laws were passed limiting
工匠們精心地將「鑽石星塵」手工貼上每雙鞋的鞋底。 Craftsmen laboriously apply “diamond dust” by hand to each pair of René Caovilla shoes.