Apr 14, 2012 02:37 PM EDT
Where would fashion footwear be without the stiletto? Although stilettos are widely popular today as ever, the shoes actually have evolved from centuries of elevated shoes. High heels can be seen in ancient Greek myths, Venetian history, and even Louis XIV who wore red heels. However, it was after World War II that stilettos made their mark in the fashion history.
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"Some credit Ferragamo, others Roger Vivier or Perugia," Valerie Steele, chief curator of the museum at the FIT, said. "I suspect the stiletto was developed by more than one Italian shoemaker, perhaps in association with French designers."
Regardless of its exact origins, stilettos are designed with great precision. Metal spigots are added into plastic to allow for great support in even the thinnest heel.
Stilettos have been used in many occasion in fashion history. In the 1700s, they were a major part of French haute couture. Gina Lollobrigida and Marilyn Monroe were both proud owner of stilettos. In the 1960s, heels were typically rejected... except in the pornography industry. And in the 1970s, Gina Lollobrigida sported them in jeans. In the 80s and 90s, Madonna rocked stilettos and certainly, the girls of "Sex and the City."
Stiletto's have always made a women feel sexy and empowered. One may "look taller, thinner, more bosomy and with a curvier bottom," Steele said, although they are difficult to walk in.
"Women's fashion does not always emphasize the high heel," Steele wrote in an essay. "Shoe fetishists, however, usually have done so."
Patricia Field, the costume designer for ''Sex and the City,'' helped secure the stiletto's legacy. She discussed the notable shoe in brief, but juicy details.
(Quoted from the New York Times article by Hilary Greenbaum and Dana Rubinstein)
What is a stiletto? A stiletto is a specific style. It's a shape. It's not a height. It's a heel that looks like a Champagne glass. It could be a three-inch stiletto. Or a four-inch stiletto. It could be a two-inch stiletto. It's the shape.
Why is the stiletto so popular? It is the sexiest, most feminine shape. The shape echoes the shape of the body. When you have a column heel, it gives a different feeling. It gives a more powerful heel, but it doesn't have that feminine taper to it.
Will it ever go out of style? It's like leopard, for example. It's a classic. Sometimes it becomes highly trendy, and sometimes it gets quieter, but it never goes away.
Do you have a personal favorite? My most favorite pair is from Charles Jourdan; it was probably 1962. It was semi-pointy-toed, so I had toe cleavage. And it was about a four-inch stiletto. Maybe five. They cost me $80. That's like $800 today.
Can anyone pull it off? Well, there are all different kinds of women, and some women can't handle a high heel, let alone a stiletto, which has the thinnest bottom. You can't ever put something on a person that they can't handle. That's the big faux pas.
What about men? Do you think the stiletto could ever become a men's shoe?They could become popular for men when men return to dressing like Mozart.
What are the odds of that? The way we dress over time gets much more simplified - much more utilitarian. It's the nature of the world. Aristocracy is a past tense.
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