Down at Heel this Winter

Down at heel? Only in the shoe sense: finally the flat shoe has been promoted to the status of the high heel. Flat they may be, but on high: wide crêpe rubber soles like those at Alexander McQueen and Etro are reminiscent of the creepers of the punk era. But now they are presentable and colourful. And they go with skirts, culottes, trousers and minis. The choice of footwear at Miucca Prada was leather loafers, and they appear content about being submerged in a vat of rubber. At Bottega Veneta the only thing missing was a low courtly bow: courts in gold and silver with baroque embellishments and buckles or perfectly formed knee-sock boots. Gucci mocks winter by dressing feet in sandals with a soft fur sole. Warm and toasty – to look at, anyway. Brunello Cuccinelli transforms Birkenstocks into winter shoes. Suitable for the winter cabin, at least. And even Sergio Rossi wants women to get through this winter in comfort and without slipping. The famous two-tone shoe by Coco Chanel also falls into the category of flats, of course. As all of Gabrielle Chanel’s creations also fulfilled practical criteria, the only five-centimetre high, rectangular heel was designed to be comfortable enough to suit the needs of women’s new lifestyles. It is highly likely that Mademoiselle Chanel was inspired by men’s wardrobes: the two-tone shoe was worn by men as early as the 18th century. At the beginning of the 20th century, she often designed sport and leisure shoes in the shape of the Derby or the Oxford – very similar to the pair that she is wearing in the famous photo where her friend, the dancer Serge Lifar, is carrying her on his shoulders.
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