If you want to be first off the starting blocks for this season’s trends then you’d best begin with your feet. From the sporty geta platform to the supercharged stiletto, keep your eyes on the prize – these are the shoes of SS15.
By Alannah Sparks
The Seventies Stack
The background: Salvatore Ferragamo’s rainbow-coloured cork platform sandal has barely dated at all since he designed it in 1938 – it’s more disco than Studio 54 and more hippy than the whole of Haight Ashbury, even now, 77 years later.
The now-ground: Shorties and show-offs everywhere rejoice; the Seventies stacked platform is back with a vengeance – a metallic finish is the magic ingredient for so-2015 kudos.
Seen at: Hedi Slimane’s army of groupie-bots led the way at Saint Laurent in the perfect 70’s platform that has already spawned a thousand high street copycats.
The muse: Bianca Jagger, tottering around backstage at the Stones gigs in white strappy platforms, ready to roll straight onto the dancefloor at Maxime’s when it’s over.
The outfit: A towering pair of platforms will help you carry off the season’s elongating flares. Wear them with a tunic to increase the illusion of dizzying heights.
The Cool Mule
The background: Mules are wanton things. From Cleopatra to Madame de Pompadour, they have always been made for flinging off in a surge of decadence, and their particular brand of click-clack on a concrete floor is akin to a mating call in the wild.
The now-ground: This season mules have more substantial coverage than usual and chunky heels to veer them away from stripper territory and into work-appropriate slink-appeal.
The frontrunners: Textured and tough at Proenza Schouler, sharp and suede at 3.1 Phillip Lim, extravagantly evening-y at Alexandre Birman, proletarian and workmanlike at Maison Margiela.
The muse: The rapturous mademoiselle in Fragonard’s famous painting The Swing, who throws off her mule with wild abandon as she reaches the peak of her undulation.
The outfit: Cropped, frayed jeans, a slouchy denim shirt and a keen glint in your eye.
The Barely-there Slipper
The background: Slippers were a symbol of captivity in the Persia of old, where concubines in a Sultan’s harem would wear them to indicate a life spent indoors luxuriating on silken rugs.
The now-ground: The ballerina slipper fell out of cool in favour of clumpy ugly shoes in recent seasons, but thanks to a few persistent harbingers of delicate femininity it’s back, albeit pointed, cut-out and a little bit cooler.
The frontrunners: Lace-up ballet styles by Aquazzura, cutaway styles by Narciso Rodriguez and Alexandre Birman, and the most delicate of slingback pantofles by Rochas.
The muse: Undoubtedly the Twelve Dancing Princesses, who danced so hard in their slippers that they needed a new pair every day.
The outfit: Take a party dress from glamour to gamine by swapping your strappy sandals for a dance floor-ready pair of elegant flats.
The Power Stiletto
The background: The stiletto is every bit as dangerous as it sounds; the word itself comes from a type of dagger blade, a term which first came to use in the Fifties. The heel itself goes further back, into the mid-19th century, where they were frequently found in fetishistic drawings.
The now-ground: Sex made a welcome return to the SS15 catwalks: this season’s power stiletto encases the foot in ropes and straps and bondage caging aplenty.
The frontrunners: Aquazzura is blazing the sexy trail this season thanks to ankle straps and lace ties aplenty, whilst Altuzarra and Pierre Hardy’s sensual suede stilettos are coming up close behind.
The muse: Carine Roitfeld, who wears hyper-sexual stilettos with an unmatchable sense of power.
The outfit: A pencil skirt, a structured blazer with swaggeringly wide shoulders, and a silk skirt unbuttoned as far as you dare.
The Sports Geta
The background: Traditionally, wooden Japanese ‘geta’ were toweringly high platform sandals worn to protect the hems of expensive kimonos of geisha moving from one teahouse to the next.
The now-ground: Today they are made of Styrofoam and techy neoprene and could just as easily be worn on a surfboard as on the cobbled streets of the Kyoto demi-monde.
The frontrunners: Roberto Cavalli’s clompy wooden geta stay truest to the shoe’s origins, but Marni takes them into a brand new bejewelled wetsuit dimension. MM6 lies somewhere in between, the Goldilocks of the group.
The muse: Mineko Iwasaki, the most famous geisha in Japan and the woman on whom Arthur Golden’s book ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ was loosely based.
The outfit: A calf-length skirt and one of the season’s ultra-fine extra-long sleeve knits for elongated elegance.
The City Sandal
The background: The sandal has its origins in the foggy realm of pre-history; at least 10,000 years ago according to one ancient pair found in Oregon, USA in 1938. Needless to say, they’ve come on a bit since then and the bark soles have been replaced by something altogether more sophisticated.
The now-ground: The city sandal is made for girls on the go. Ankle straps, a substantial heel and a zingy pop of colour make for the perfect career ladder-climbing shoe. Bonus points for a 70’s power woman edge.
The frontrunners: Chloé’s dreamy 70’s reverie wasn’t just about drifting around cornfields - the shoes were made for pounding city pavements. Elsewhere, Nicholas Kirkwood spruced his heels up with metallic finishes, and Cavalli punched his with eyelets for a bit of after-work attitude.
The muse: Diane Von Fürstenberg, whose delicious femininity never overpowered her professional status but only ever served to underline it.
The outfit: A belted suede sleeveless jacket and a colour-popping bucket bag will complete your city-slicker going-places-fast picture.