LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Architectonics Underfoot


Shoes for spring sport a boldly fresh step, as the heel dons deconstructed twists and turns of proportion.

Hyperbolic interpretations of the heel's hauteur are this season's playful tune. Being well-heeled never implied such structural symbols or such fantastic form.

Shoes are the syntactic phrases that express human character with seductively subconscious style impressions. Freud would have quite a bit to say about this season's reaches in height, hubris and hedonism – all surrounding the super-structured heel.

A shoe's heel height carries notions of prancing power, assertive impracticality, and a whole slew of other oxymoronic delights. Since Catherine de' Medici brought high-heeled shoes from Florence to the French court when she wed the Duke d'Orléans in 1533, she started a trend among Parisian noblewomen that would grow into a worldwide wearable wonder, whose hauteur and sveltesse have ever since fluctuated with the political atmosphere.

Just as with architecture, however, height isn't everything. Architectural influences are perennially at the heart of shoe conception and construction. Nike's original Air Max design was inspired by Paris's Pompidou Center and, this season, Manolo Blahnik takes inspiration from the architecture of Istanbul. A Dolce and Gabbana shoe goes geometrically bold, tracing the temptingly impossible, while Chanel takes the basic building block to foot and Victor & Rolf the grid to the ground. The heel gets infinitely adorned from Prada's surrealist melting effect to Miu Miu's delicate accents, while Paul Ka bends the heel bow-like and Dior's splits a suggestive eyelet.

The stiletto will always symbolize strength and power, despite the intricate irony that many are simply not fit for walking. Nothing echoes the heel's strength more this season than Roger Vivier's Spine shoe. Suggestively erotic, as the stiletto shoe itself curves the spine and reportedly raises the bottom by a 25 percent angle, this biological retake is a clever comment and an elegant effigy.

Women's shoes are often propositions to dare sacrificing practicality for a bit of play. Shoes are becoming ever more an object of art, worthy of structural admiration. City streets worldwide invite those seeking beauty to look up at the architecture around town, but also to look down to the superb architecture underfoot.

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