“The higher, the better”: why platforms are back in fashion
However, in the wider trend of on-trend heels, the pivot to platforms – or those with thicker soles reminiscent of Y2K fashion – can be best explained after a year. mostly loungewear wardrobes.
âWe’re getting out of wearing sneakers and being in comfortable shoes, and so the shift from sneakers to stilettos is important,â Chavez said. “I have the impression that the platform, because it is more comfortable, is a great alternative.
“Right now, that’s the whole platform. The higher, the bigger, the better.”
“Saturday Night Live” star Bowen Yang wears silver Syro wedge heels to the 2021 Emmy Awards. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images
Syro co-founder Shaobo Han says shoes have become a tool of self-expression as people increasingly challenge and confuse gender binaries.
âBeing able to display this femininity (on the street) without being ashamed is powerful,â Han explained.
A sign of the times
Noble women in southern Europe would wear these “extremely tall” platforms, increasing the length of textiles, according to Elizabeth Hemmelseck, director and senior curator of the BATA Shoe Museum in Toronto. A registered pair was as high as twenty inches.
Court shoes of Emperor Qianlong at the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Credit: VCG Wilson / Corbis / Getty Images
The platform heel – which combined both a square sole and a heel – is said to have appeared in 17th century Persia. The style was worn by Persian horsemen as designers attempted to “understand the architecture of the high heel,” said Hemmelseck.
Once the high heel was developed, they fell into oblivion before making a comeback in the 1930s, 1970s and late 1990s and 2000s. Interest in platforms appears to be growing in times of “social unrest and social unrest. economic stress, âHemmelseck observed.
“Why (did) during the Great Depression shoes become bananas? ” she asked. “Why during the oil crisis and the economic woes of the 1970s (are our shoes going crazy again? Is there anything in common?”)
Platform shoes seen in an illustration of a Venetian courtesan housed in the Rijksmuseum, dated between 1660 and 1670. Credit: Heritage Images / Hulton Archives / Getty Images
It’s a trend that tech company IBM investigated in 2011 with a study exploring why heels rise higher during these tough times, as well as subsequent crises like the dot-com bubble burst in the late ’90s. .
âUsually, during an economic downturn, heels go up and stay, as consumers look to more flamboyant fashions as a means of whimsy and escape,â said IBM consumer products expert Trevor. Davis, cited in the report.
If there has been a fancy shoe, it is that of the Italian shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo. In 1938, during the Great Depression, the designer released “The Rainbow” – platforms sporting a multicolored sole dedicated to actor Judy Garland. They were made of cork as well as colored leather, a material rare at the time.
A view of Salvatore Ferragamo’s “The Rainbow” platform heels, photographed in 2016 at the brand’s headquarters in Florence. Credit: Alessandra Benedetti / Corbis / Getty Images
Beyond being a form of escape, however, platforms gained popularity again in the 1930s due to pragmatism, Hemmelseck speculated. Many women at the time couldn’t afford a luxurious wardrobe, so investing in an expensive platform heel that could be worn with many outfits offered a way to participate in fashion trends with a “unique accessory and. scandalous, âshe said.
“(Platforms) worked a lot saying, ‘I’m part of the times and therefore I’m always in fashion. Don’t look at the rest of what I’m wearing.'”
Elton John, pictured in 1973, wearing silver and red wedge boots. Detailed with his initials E and J, the shoes are 8 inches tall and were designed by Ken Todd of Kensington Market. Credit: Victor Crawshaw / Mirrorpix / Getty Images
In the 1970s, the platform heel experienced a resurgence again, with figures like David Bowie and John Travolta storming the scene with dizzying versions. On stars like Bowie, Travolta and Elton John, the shoes presented “broader questions about the (gender) binary,” Hemmelseck added.
Hemmelsack also noted the resurgence of men’s wedge heels around this time due to factors such as the Peacock Revolution in the 1960s, which responded to the American women’s liberation movement at the time by “examining other models. of masculinity in the world “.
Men of this period “spoke of the rebirth of (King of France) Louis XIV”, who was known for his powerful and opulent wardrobe. “Can’t we western men get rid of that boring authority uniform, the business suit and start to connect with our innate masculinity through the way we dress?” ”
Lady Gaga, who frequently wore platforms early in her career, has returned to the look to new heights this year. Credit: Gotham / GC Images / Getty Images
Platform heels have also developed different connotations over time – and in some cases, symbolize sex work. According to Hemmelsack, the “thick platform, with a narrow heel, (became) this sort of stripper wear architecture” as early as the 1930s. Over time, it evolved into the clear platforms. ’90s Lucite worn by strippers and pole dance dancers, thanks to brands like Pleaser, which then spilled over into mainstream audiences in the 2000s when stars adopted them into fashion.
As for the favorite wedge heels at red carpet events this year, Hemmelsack said the style plays on that eroticism as well as the rise of ’90s nostalgia.
In 2021, âdopamine dressingâ has become a widely used term in fashion, characterizing the desire for bolder, brighter and sexier outfits.
Billy Porter attending the Fashion Awards wearing a Richard Quinn dress and black wedge heel boots. Credit: Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images
Some of Syro’s designs – such as the ostentatious red platforms and the metallic silver ones worn by Yang – coincided with this trend, selling almost immediately to the surprise of co-founders Han and Henry Bae.
âWe didn’t think something as loud as the (silver) shoe we made was going to be so well received, but again, it just shows people want crazy things,â Han said.
But the platform shoe is more than just a fun shoe – it’s a form of gender expression, added Han, who uses them and them pronouns.
TikTok model and star Wisdom Kaye wears platform boots in an episode of “Project Runway.” Credit: Greg Endries / Bravo / NBCU Photo Ban / Getty Images
While wedge heels for men and non-binary people have recently become associated with fetish gear, they said, Syro was created to address the need for “everyday platforms for non-conforming people … objects that truly express how we see ourselves. ” Growing up, Han recalls, femininity was “used against me,” but the shoes now act as a reclamation of that femininity.
âThe ability to walk the streets in a pair of heels, swaying our hips, clicking (into) those heights of femininity, it’s just inherently powerful.
A model wearing a pair of red Syro platform boots, which sold “almost immediately” according to co-founder Shaobo Han. Credit: Fernando Palafox
âPeople want to feel powerful and (to be) powerful. That’s something I think platforms really make us feel. The moment you put them on, the extra five inches you get automatically gets you. suddenly start to see the world differently, “they said, adding that they wanted to show that” queer kids are out there, queer joy is real. “
“Living our life with so much authenticity and joy is a protest against the repression we feel.”