The last time you saw one of those exuberant platform shoes was probably back in the late 2000's in one of Lady Gaga’s video clips or during Prada's S/S campaign in 2009. Times have changed and now we seek comfort over glam, while experiencing challenging times in front of our computers during a lockdown.
Well, it seems that Pierpaolo Piccioli’s show for Valentino reversed the intuitive trend of these pandemic times and showed us very clearly that there must be some glamour out there to put our hopes into.
This is certainly not the first time exaggerated high heels appear during fashion weeks. Just check the runways around 2010 and you will find some examples, such as in Prada’s Spring collection and also on Mcqueen's runway.
It's important to contextualize: back in 2007-2009, we were going through the Great Recession, in which economies were not growing and countries were not generating incomes. Not easy times.
Now back to 2021, we’re in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and needless to say how much it affects our lives: we are watching the runways wrapped in our sweatshirts, wearing comfy and colourful socks while seeing glam and joy out there. Watching such a show could put us in another state of mind, or even move us to another place far from the challenges we’re facing now, as a sort of escape to a better place from where we are. This phenomenon that occurs in the shoe industry was studied by Elizabeth Semmelhack.
According to Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of "Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe", this phenomenon has happened many times before. During an interview with CNN in 2010, she mentioned that "we have entered a moment of heightened impracticality in footwear". Talking about historical perspective, Elizabeth stated that "heel heights noticeably grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crisis in the 1970s, and when the dotcom bubble burst in the 2000s."
During difficult times like these, fashion comes as a relief, a breeze of hope to look forward to a better future. Like the fantastic high heels presented by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli in his last couture collection, full of colours, glitter and extravagances, we may simply need to escape to the bright side.