These Shoes Weren't Made for Walking | Bleader

These Shoes Weren't Made for Walking

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  • Bill Cunningham/New York Times

Fashion is still looking down at its feet—even in these pragmatic times, dramatic platforms and extreme heels (or in at least one case dramatic platforms with no heels at all) are still big. New York Times street-style photographer Bill Cunningham was struck by the fact that models were tottering around to appointments and go-sees in shoes that gave them five- and six-inch lifts.

Heiress and noted style eccentric Daphne Guinness, he noted, actually had to lean against a wall "so as not to fall over while waiting for her car and chauffeur."

Treacherous heights are nothing new—in fact they're laughably subtle compared to some examples of chopines (great word, by the way), a type of platform that was especially popular among Venetian women during the Renaissance. Ladies generally needed to have an attendant or servant to lean on for balance. Suck on that, Fendi!

16th century Venetian chopines
  • Museo Correr dei Veneziani
  • 16th century Venetian chopines

Radical footwear has historically telegraphed status and wealth, and to some extent it still does. But we've come a long way, baby. Today, ladies at all income levels have the chance to permanently damage their tendons: you can probably pick up a pair of foot-stilts for under $50 at someplace like H&M.

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