Yesterday's Independent featured a story by Harriet Walker about skyscraper heels. Prompted, of course, by Victoria Beckham making an appearance in spindly 5 inch stilettos. Writes Walker: "Just when you thought heels couldn't get any higher, guess what: they have." This season, Prada, Louboutin and Dior all have towering heels. And the Giambattista Valli shoes for fall (pictured) have a retro feel, but with platforms and heels so high they almost seem designed for toppling over. The Daily Mail points out that high heels have been around since 3500BC, when Ancient Egyptian noble women picked their way through the pyramids. Hundreds of years, billions of aching feet, twisted ankles, throbbing bunions and crusty corns. Why do we do it?
Are heels this season so high because the economy is so low? There's power in height, in the instant and literal lift one gets from heels. Some say they feel sexier, and there's no doubt that wearing heels changes the posture of a woman — pushing out the chest, tensing the calf muscle, elongating (actually hyperextending) the leg and putting stress on the lower back, causing hips to work harder and therefore "sway." But where is the true power when you can't really walk? Where is the power when most of the popular shoes were designed by men who don't wear them? Ever notice how ladies who wear sneakers all the time have smooth and un-callused feet, and women with a "sexy" heel habit have stressed out and jacked up feet? Why, after thousands of years and a sexual revolution, do we continue to do this to ourselves? Is it because there's a thrill in being a woman, in claiming all of the chicks-only, "feminine" accoutrements that go with being decidedly female? While you ponder these questions, I'm going to see if I can find a price for those black Giambattista Valli numbers on the lower left. What? Just curious!