The killer heels

SCULPTED into wicked points and elevated on devilishly tall heels, the shoe shape for autumn, the latest thing to earn fashionfs favourite sobriquet emusthavef, has arrived.

By (Daily Mail)

Published: Thu 7 Aug 2008, 10:37 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:49 PM

The glossies will pinpoint the best, the High Street will replicate them, and women?

Well, women will be hooked, probably against their better judgment.

Impossible to walk in?

Perhaps. But these shoes are looking good. And, as only high stilettos can, they are making legs look damn good, too. The basic styling of the new killer heel is universally flattering.

Give shoes a low vamp (the bit where the shoe upper covers the toes) to slim the ankle, a high heel to force the calf muscle to tighten for a leaner line, and a toe shape that is pointed (but not to silly, winkle-picker lengths) and you give legs a rather lovely lengthening effect.

Foot in heels

Look at the way barefoot models always seem to pose, somewhat unnaturally, pointing the balls of their feet down to emulate the effect of a foot in heels.

Itfs how legs, and not just model legs, look their best.

All sharp angles and narrow tips, the newest heels fulfil all the above criteria and combine a dangerous elegance to boot. This provides a very different appeal from the high shoe of choice over the past few seasons; the platform.

While this found favour with women who appreciated its kindly promise of extra height and comfort, combined with a reassuringly stride-friendly clunkiness, the new shoe comes in a shape that men understand.

Round-toed style

Give men the choice between a weighty platform and a pair of hazardously high spiky heels and there is no hesitation. The latter are man-traps.

The antithesis of the good-girl ballerina slipper, that easy, round-toed style that has ruled the High Street for the past four years, the shape of shoe that stalked autumn/winter catwalks brings to mind the fabulously pointy shoes of the late Fifties and late Eighties.

While the new heels might not look so friendly as a blunt toe or a platform, they are infinitely more chic. After some of the fairly hideous shoes-assculpture that we have seen recently, where ugly heels, carved details and mad proportions have become mainstream, the return to a more classic allure may come as something of an aesthetic relief. Of course, some women have never worn anything else.

Donft mess with me

Regardless of her other influences, shoe designer Olivia Morris has always managed to work pointed toes into every collection; gFor me they provide something feminine but with a bit of an edge, ea donft mess with mef attitude.

And they ooze a certain sexiness that a round toe just canft do.h

A new desire for pointy shoes has been played out in her store this summer.

gOur eEttaf black ruffle pumps sold out as soon as they hit the shelves; I knew the tide was turning.h

So why this sudden seachange?

gNicolas Ghesquiere at Balenciaga is spearheading the return to points and heels,h says Emma Elwick, market editor at Vogue. gI call him Nicholas the Fearless.

Where Balenciaga steps forward people will follow.h

Grown-up fashion

Of course, the shoes do not exist in a vacuum. They work with the new seasonfs clothes; catwalks full of austere, grown-up fashion, with lots of stark, coveredup shifts, rigourous lines and a great many high, puritan, necklines.

When the designers obliterate all obvious sex appeal from the clothes, it leaves little choice; sex must exude from a shoe. Ergo, these are powerfully seductive shoes.

gThey are not coquettishly naughty,h notes Elwick. gThey are not those ewobble of the bumf type shoes. They are much more darkly sexy. More hardcore.h

When you see them paired with black leather gloves and strict sheaths at Lanvin, resplendent with ankle cuff details at Chloe, or with the severe silhouettes at Balenciaga, all cinched waists and exaggerated hips, in futuristic fabrics shot through with cartoon-bright colours, you understand that these towering heels provide a rather threatening kind of beauty.

But before you get excited about giving the backcatalogue of pointy heels currently resting in your wardrobe a new lease of life, Elwick sounds a note of warning: gAny old pointy court shoe is not the idea.

The new shoe is more austere, sort of elegant-fetish.

And there are incredible details - little cut outs, high rise T-bars, latex fabric inserts.h


œYou need perfect posture. A slouch ruins the pulled together effect.

œMake sure you can actually walk in your heels, heel-totoe, no pattering along on the balls of your feet. Attitude is essential. Killer heels demand it.

œ Wear austere clothes. Keep whatever else you choose to wear beautifully simple and/or dark to focus on the shoes.

œ Do all you can to emphasise the shoe. Now that the shoe is the thing, show it off. Try it in patent, or look out from some spot-on details, such as embossing, cut-outs, T-bars, extra straps or ties.

œ Donft play it safe and put killer heels with your best jeans and a sparkly top - itfs an old formula that no longer cuts it.

œ If you must stay in flats, you should know that the most modern have gone pointy too.

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