MAR
2007
04

Junko Shimada…Heels?

Manolo says, Here is more evidence for the Manolo’s proposition that we have reached the end of the fashion cycle, and that the designers have begun to grope for something different.

The shoes of the Junko Shimada have previously always had the strongly traditional shape and line, even if they have been colorful and girlish and sometimes kawaii. That the Junko would send these down the runway in the prêt-à-porter collection says much about the current state of the high fashion shoes.

Crippled Beauty or Slouching Beast

Manolo says, the Manolo’s close internet friend, the super fantastic Linda Grant, has the amusing piece in the Sunday Telegraph in which she laments the paucity of the stylish shoes in which one may actually walk.

She has also kindly mentioned the humble shoe blog of the Manolo in her article.

I love the look of beautiful shoes and so every morning, as soon as I turn on my computer, I click on to the delicious site of Manolo the Shoeblogger (shoeblogs.com), the anonymous New Yorker who combines a fascination for shoes with a witty and erudite writing style.

He views shoes both as works of art and as artefacts which should be made by the master craftsman. ‘Do not wear cheap shoes!‘ he enjoins his readers. But cheap or dear, if the shoe does not fit, you cannot wear it.

The backlash against unwearable shoes has come in the form of their opposite: the eminently wearable but utterly hideous shoes. If you want sensible footwear, buy ugly Uggs, or those disgusting, luridly coloured rubber shoes with holes in them, called Crocs, which were originally designed for wading into ponds to clean out the algae.

The popularity of Uggs and Crocs is testament to women losing their patience with contemporary shoe design. I find my feminist hackles rising when I look at shoes that resemble a sadistic attempt to reinvent Chinese foot-binding.

My mind fills with conspiracy theories: that the emancipation of women is being punished with pain applied to the feet, followed by blisters and bunions. And then I look at the Uggs and the Crocs and I ask why we have to make a choice between Crippled Beauty and Slouching Beast.

Yes, it is true, many of the shoes which are now considered the most stylish are almost unwearable by the non-Olsen-Twin-based lifeforms.

As he has said before, the Manolo believes that we are at the end of the fashion cycle, one which, like most such cycles, has tended toward the excessive in its final moments. The appearance of the five inch platform heels on the runway is evidence of this.

What will replace it? The Manolo has some small hope that when the cycle ends we will return to the more classic shapes and restrained styles, the handsome leather and fine workmanship. But then the Manolo’s hopes have, in the past, often been crushed by what came next in the world of fashion.

Speaking of the crushed hopes, the Manolo disagrees with the Linda; the Crocs are not the backlash against these unwearable fashion shoes. In the stead, the Crocs are just the latest version of the peasant shoe. Yes, it is made from the modern materials and comes in the bright colors, but otherwise it is nothing more the updated variation of the shoe worn by every serf, campesino, muzhik, and paysan who ever lived.

Like all the classic peasant shoes, the Croc is ugly, roomy, cheap, and useful for standing knee deep in pig manure.