The platform shoe

If you are feeling  a bit below eye level, or are worried about getting your feet wet , this is the shoe for you.  The platform has been the unsung hero of the diminutive diva and the perfect way to add inches since ancient times.

In ancient Greece this was the style important figures wore in order to tower over their followers. Leaping forward, it was then adopted by the lower-moralled, but high-born courtesans of Venice and was similar in style to that worn by the Japanese geisha – which helped them stand out from the crowd and catch client’s eye. From geisha’s getas to the ( husband – helpful ) chopines, an early form of the platform-soled shoe, Venetian husbands liked to encourage this shoe to be made so thick that their wives would look good but not be able to stray with such cumbersome attire. They caused many grumbles in marriages where wives halved in size once vows were exchanged and the shoe came off, and they were later banned after being blamed for many miscarriages.

It wasn’t until  the thirties that the thick soles stepped firmly into the from line of fashion in partnership with the court shoe, evolving through the forties. By the fifties the platform was the perfect date to take to the Prom or to be worn with your New Look, circa 1947, though what could be more this than the raised rainbow sandal from 1938 Ferragamo? It gave height to the hair – raising seventies and let you dance away in the disco era without any discomfort to your twinkle toes. It only phased out in in the eighties when shoulder pads and spikes became the weapon of the working girl. But the portable pedestal went back onto the dance floor with the rise of the brand Buffalo as worn by the Spice Girls in the early nineties.

The platform now looks set to stay safely in vogue  for as long as people need to add length to their legginess. Just be wary of adding too many inches as it will cause even a supermodel to topple, as Naomi Campbell famously did when her sky – high (8-inch) Vivienne Westwood  creations caused her to fall to earth with a bump on the runway in 1994. Luckly she had a well – padded bustle to cushion the fall and had the sense to smile.

 

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