Last year I was so astonished at the fantastical towering stilettos at Fashion Week, I barely paid attention to the clothes. No only did the heels routinely soar to 5-6 inches, they were studded, sequined, feathered or a combination of all three. I knew that I could not even stand up in these shoes much less walk around Lincoln Center.
Feet, just like the rest of the body, changes as the years goes by. After age 50 we lose fat pads on the sole, joints swell and lose flexability. To bottom line it, younger feet can frolic in stilettos, but women of a certain age need to go with a sturdier design and lower heels. For me and my BFF’s, there was an age gap in footwear and it made us feel less fabulous.
What a difference a year makes. Instead of studded, cut-out skinny heels, women at Fashion Week now walked easily in a wide range of shoes for real life feet. Booties were everywhere, closely followed by colorful sneakers, combat boots, slip on sneakers, wedges, platforms and even flats. There were a few holdovers in skinny six inch heels, but they looked out of place– so last year. This time at Fashion Week there was no age gap in shoes. Very nice.
What Causes a Fashion Sea Change?
Why the shift in shoes? I wondered if it was the early sprouting of painful old age bunions on twenty something feet after a year of cruel shoes. But what if it was something deeper. As a history buff I love to explore the back story of significant events. I have always felt that true history is not found in dry textbooks, but is revealed in the way people lived. Genuine history is not a matter of dates and battles but is seen in what people read, their style of furniture, what they ate and even what they wore.
Today is Sept 11 and it is hard to ignore that we live in a dangerous world. From militarized police in Missouri to the kidnapping of hundreds of women to the video of the beheading of two American journalists, perhaps this is not the right time to wear fanciful, fragile shoes. I wonder if fashion is reflecting our need for strength and stability and it is starting with footwear.