The Height Of Fashion: The Timeless & Classic Black High Heels

High Heels Of Fashion:  Classic Black Heels
High Heels Of Fashion: Classic Black Heels

An acknowledgement of a classic: black high heels. Form and function? For certain. When worn with elegance, the rise of style paired with the sophistication of a woman is perfection. The lightweight, strapless shoes (also referred to as “Pumps”) with “closed backs & seamless front uppers that are cut closer to the toes than the top of the foot”, are enduring shoes of stylish appeal. Without the need of laces or fastening, the foot can easily slip into these varying heights of fashion. Although the designs and features may vary, it is the classic, basic heel of black that I am focussing on. Versatile classics that endure in timeless style when gracing the feet of a woman. The high heeled shoe, which provides a heel that is higher than the toe, offers a classic sophistication and ultimately a feminine allure. Enduring, indeed…

A Timeless Classic: Black High Heels
A Timeless Classic: Black High Heels

Of course, a brief nod to the fashionable history of the elevated foot
And of the precursors to the high-heeled shoe? Throughout the history of Western fashion, the high heel has been used to enhance stature, status and sex appeal. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece and Rome certainly had their own variations of elevated foot style. It was in Ancient Greece and Rome that platform sandals,“Kothorni”, which were later known as “Buskins” in the Renaissance, where shoes with high wood or cork soles. Of note, different heights indicated varying social status and importance. Interestingly, it was in Ancient Rome that women of the streets were readily identified by their high heels. Who knew the heel harkened back with such a historical connection? Yet the heels of the past and the appealing connections to the woman have risen over the centuries. Of interest, shoes called “Pompes” (without a heel) were worn by men and servants in the 1500’s until 1599 when the Persian Shah sent a diplomatic mission to Europe. What would result was not only an interest in Persian culture but a fashionable appeal that would sweep through Western Europe: heeled shoes on men. Worn as form of riding footwear in Persia, the heel would assist the Persian riders to secure his stance in stirrups to allow a rider to shoot arrows more effectively. Stylistically, the aristocrats were intrigued. Perhaps once considered bold and masculine, these new “heels” aided in asserting status within the world of the upper class. It is said that when the lower classes adopted the shoes, the aristocracy would increase the height of their footwear in accordance with social order. Imagine! Luxurious privilege that would soon require assistance and support in walking. Alas, the power of the shoe had risen! Yet fashion’s ostentatious heeled rise would eventually fall…

Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV of France

Alas, it was Louis XIV, King of France (1638-1715), who elected to boost his short stature with stacked heels. Choosing a red dye on the heels to stylize his personal preferences, he issued an edict during the 1670’s limiting red heels to members of his court. Yet it is also said that during his reign he demanded hat no one may enter his court without wearing red colored heels. Imagine! As fashion’s evolve with the world’s events that transpire, it is believed that after the French Revolution and the fall of French ruling class that a widespread ban on high heeled shoes resulted. By 1740’s, men are said to have stopped wearing high heels altogether. But alas, the height of fashion would rise again: on the woman. A slender high heel would eventually rise, adding to the form of the woman with fashionable appeal.

High heels had widespread popularity during the late 19th century. During the 1860’s high heels as fashion became popular again and with the invention of the sewing machine which offered greater variety in high heels. Victorian’s believed that the high heel emphasized the instep arch, which was seen as a symbolic curve of a woman and the aristocratic air of European influences. America would open its first factory in 1888, yet the designs would follow French shoe fashion. With the decades of fashion’s change, it was the roaring twenties that beckoned high, slender heels. However, during the Great Depression of the 1930’s & 1940’s, heels became lower and wider. Fashion is always changing.

French Designers Christian Dior & Roger Vivier
French Designers Christian Dior & Roger Vivier
Christian Dior & Roger Vivier
Christian Dior & Roger Vivier

A revival of Western high fashion in the post-war 1950’s was forged by French designers Christian Dior and Shoe designer Roger Vivier. Dior & Vivier developed what is known as the “Louis” shoe with a narrow heel called a “Stiletto” (an Italian word for “a small dagger with a slender, tapering blade”). The “low-cut vamp” (the part of the shoe that covers the toe and instep) would make a mark in the fashionable world of shoes. Hollywood would also add in providing the visual allure behind the silver screen of the new heel with an elegance that begged for imitation. As time would progress, of course, fashion would bring the heel lower throughout the 1960’s and 1970’s. Yet the height of fashion would rise again during the 1980’s and early 1990’s.

French Designer Christian Louboutin & His Red Lacquered Soles
French Designer Christian Louboutin & His Red Lacquered Soles

French designer Christian Louboutin impacted the world of fashion since the 1990’s with his signature red lacquer soled heels referred to as “Sammy Red-Bottoms”. This specific color of red is actually registered within the Pantone color code. Who knew? Perhaps an inspiration from and a homage to Louis XVI? Either way, the distinctiveness of the red sole of Stiletto height heels have made an indelible mark on fashion. Louboutin’s self-acknowledged goal is to “Make a woman look sexy, beautiful, and to make her legs look long as (he) can”. A goal of fashion’s aim, for certain.

Shoe Designer, Manolo Blahnik
Shoe Designer, Manolo Blahnik

The catwalks of fashion also brought forth the shoe talents of Spanish designer Manolo Blahnik’s high-heeled shoes. Also synonymous with quality and style, Blahnik’s force with the heeled shoe created a succession of designers that would also rethink high heels and forge their own marks on the height of heels. Couture shoe designer, Jimmy Choo would also embark upon creating sophisticated designer high heels that would hold fashion’s attention. Perhaps with more embellishments, yet the point of style that earns my attention is the height. The heights of fashions endure. The ongoing history of the heights of fashion may provide variations to the heels of style, but a return to focus of the simplicity and elegance of the heels of black will always be in order. And of the heels of the 21st century? Aside from a revival of the heel, perhaps it is rather a return of focus on a classic. And a focus on black, I beckon. Fashion’s visual appeal of basic black with height, past and present…

"Vintage", Elevated Style:  Black High Heels
“Vintage”, Elevated Style: Black High Heels
Heeled Style:  Vintage Reflections Of The Timeless Black Heels
Heeled Style: Vintage Reflections Of The Timeless Black Heels
"Well Heeled" Style:  The Classic & Enduring Black High Heels
“Well Heeled” Style: The Classic & Enduring Black High Heels
A Fashionable Rise In Style:  The Enduring Black High  Heels
A Fashionable Rise In Style: The Enduring Black High Heels
Heights Of Fashion:  The Allure Of Black High Heels
Heights Of Fashion: The Allure Of Black High Heels
A Classic:  The Timeless Black High Heels
A Classic: The Timeless Black High Heels
Black High Heels: An Enduring "Point" Of Style
Black High Heels: An Enduring “Point” Of Style
A High Instep Of Fashionable Style:  The Classic Black High Heels
A High Instep Of Fashionable Style: The Classic Black High Heels

Consider basic black heels. Stylish and classic, the shoe is a perennial basic of style. What is certain is that heels have not disappeared. Heights and form may vary in years to come, but there is no replacement for the classic black high heels. Alas, appreciation should be given for variations of color, but I state the case that the timeless color throughout the recent decades remains black. For certain, the imprint of the high heel has evolved and many have contributed to the enduring success of these elevated shoes. Variations abound, but the fact that the basic black high heeled shoe has endured through fashion’s heights of style proves that the shoe is one to be reckoned with. As Marilyn Monroe stated “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world”. Perhaps Marilyn had a point. As with anything, attitude is everything. Perhaps standing tall in classic black heels will add to a mark of sophistication and elegance paired with a striking stance of strength on the feet of the woman who comfortably towers in them. Attitude. Pure, classic style in black high heels. Heights of fashion, indeed…

Kristin

“I don’t know who invented high heels but all women owe him a lot”- Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe
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