Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Strappy Shoes

Fashions of all types come and then go, and then come and go again.

Last year I commented on the popularity of updated Mary Jane shoes, flats that were once the style of choice for little girls, notable for the strap across top.

A grown woman's variation with a slightly higher heel and two straps, by Prada, was very successful in 2015.

Success attracts imitation, as we know.   

In addition, people take new ideas to extremes.  With Mary Janes, the look was distorted in two ways  First was the heel -- if a short heel was good, wouldn't a stiletto be even better?  And if two straps were nice, well, how about five or six?

That is what we have seen this year.  Examples are below.


Stuart Weitzman

Vince Camuto


Jimmy Choo  


Gianvito Rossi

Ivanka Trump

Michael Kors

Francesco Russo

Why Now

Shoes of this type could have been made anytime in history, but I believe there is a particular reason they didn't appear much earlier.  

It is this: No woman in her right mind would sign up for buckling and unbuckling that many straps.  

Imagine you were at lively party, and your favorite song came blasting over the sound system.  Your impulse, given the heel elevations on these shoes, would be to kick them off and dance.  But it would be impossible; the song would end before you could get them unfastened.  

This would be frustrating, and who needs frustration?

I don't know when the back zipper first appeared on shoes, but I saw them for the first time about eight years ago on a BCBG pair worn by a stylish young woman.  

Since then, they have become common even on less complicated shoes with shorter heels. See the Fabrizio Viti model below, which is being offered for the coming spring season. 

It would be difficult to design this shoe any other way.  A regular buckle would interrupt the curvy straps in front, and without the raised yellow area behind the heel, a thin ankle strap would cut into the back of a woman's foot if she walked any distance at all.

This back-zip thing was a genuine innovation, a bit of new technology applied where you might not expect it.  It may not be as exciting as a new iPhone without a headphone jack, but it's not nothing.

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