From Marc Jacobs’s buckled slides to Valentino’s knee-high gladiators, when it comes to footwear this season, the world is flat. AYA MCMILLAN gets the lowdown on the new height of chic.
From loafers and gladiators to sneakers and slides, the look of the season is flat.
“YOU SHOULD SEE YOUR FACE,” MY PODIATRIST
says, looking at me with pity in her eyes. I am sitting in her exam room seeking help for my ruptured Achilles tendon, and the good doctor has just prescribed a high-heel hiatus. To say that I am a stiletto girl is an understatement. My deep love of spindly heeled beauties wasn’t simply born from trying to build up my height—I’m five-foot-four, which is ingloriously average—it’s just that I feel better in heels. More commanding. More leggy. More…more. Even my sneakers have wedges in them (merci, Isabel Marant). I’ve always admired those Gallic gamines who run around town in their perfect flats, which have a wee point, reveal just a little toe cleavage and are mostly by Lanvin or Alaïa. Ladies like style minx Caroline de Maigret, model (and shoe muse) Inès de la Fressange and Brit It-girl Alexa Chung.
This season, sartorial change is afoot, quite literally. From New York to Milan to Paris, designers showed flatsoled footwear with everything from cropped pants to eveningwear on the runways. With every catwalker’s near-terra firma stride, the consensus became yet more irrefutable: Humongous, ankle-wobbling high heels had been grounded until further notice. Fausto Puglisi decked out the humble pool slide with gold-encrusted trim. For boy-girl glamour with a soupçon of orthopedic chic, Chanel showed two-tone ankle-strap oxfords, Balenciaga dipped into croc-tipped pointy-toe flats and Marc Jacobs did a velvety take on Dr. Scholl’s. The deity-derived knee-high gladiator sandal (think Hercules, Aphrodite, et al.) was seen everywhere from Stella McCartney to Chloé. For day, or night, Dolce & Gabbana devised ornate Mary Janes and Dries Van Noten proposed flats with a fluffy spray of fur. Even vertiginously shod Victoria Beckham made her own self-designed shoe debut with— wait for it—flats. When Posh Spice—the standard bearer of ankle breakers—pronounces that women cannot live by sky’s-the-limit stilettos alone and dedicates a major part of her collection to wonderfully crafted winkle-pickers, you know we’ve stepped into new territory. Not since Céline’s Phoebe Philo created her controversially clunky minktufted slide (“Furkenstocks,” in Internet parlance) back in 2012 has there been such a groundswell of support. »