The recent seasons saw the emergence of the statement shoe—the new status symbol that boosts ones style credentials with its unconventional designs that scream “Look at me now!” In contrast to the it-bag, whose status is largely founded by the tried-and-tested mix of rarity, price and waiting list, the statement shoe strikes a bolder stance with its affinity to artistic value rather than blatant commercialism. For most parts, it’s no longer just about the name on the insole or that trademark red bottom. Season after season the most-coveted shoes have resembled art installations with their radical designs and unique detailing.
We’ve arrived at turning point in fashion wherein shoes have become much more than function. The statement shoe brings glamazon status, power and sexuality. It places women on a towering pedestal that is both pleasing and terrifying to men. “The statement shoe focuses on the significance of individualism. It is a symbol of a woman’s paraphilia and a man’s fetishism. Women have an Imeldific complex which is answered by the new found awareness in fashion.” says avant garde designer Kermit Tesoro. Women have achieved emancipation from various aspects throughout history, now we step into a fashion revolution that a single article of clothing breaks social stigma and empower women.
The world has been living in the age of the it-bag for two decades and market research predicts a downturn in designer bag sales over the next five years. According to famed fashion designer, Miuccia Prada, “The obsession with handbags has finished a little now. It feels over. It’s about shoes.” At the luxury level there is renewed excitement about shoes which are suddenly much more creative and individualistic. Statement shoes express ones personality much more than an oversized designer bag. Relative to shoes, one’s bag needs are less. Shoes are more subject to changes in lifestyle. If there’s an it-bag of the season, there are several pairs of it-shoes. “Shoes are an extension of our body and personality. It’s an essential accessory one can’t leave the house without.” shares young shoe designer Maco Custodio. And through turbulent finances, women are now renouncing cheap and sensible shoes in favor of being more extravagant styles.
While the deflation of the it-bag’s status is partly from market fatigue, there is also an emotional and intellectual reason to look for a fresh fashion start after a turbulent time in the economy. Wild skyscraper heels may very well be an appropriate reflection of unstable economy. Historically, heel heights noticeably grew during tougher times wherein there’s a greater need for escapism. The market will always have its unending pursuit of fantasy. It is psychologically uplifting to stand tall in heels, no matter how painful. Renowned fashion designer Cesar Gaupo shares, “Women are clearly searching for more creative ways to express themselves through fashion. Splendid shoes are positive statements in themselves. The statement shoe is more beneficial investment than an it-bag because shoes can be worn from day or night. It can easily be worked into any given outfit.”
British shoe design maverick, Nicholas Kirkwood, remembers, “Four years ago, after I came out of college, I was showing close to five-inch heels, and the buyers all said they didn’t really go above four inches. Now five inches is normal. Your eye adjusts, and because of the power of the runway and the red carpet, it adjusts very quickly.” Shoes have taken center stage not only in fashion but also in the general public’s consciousness. Pushing the boundaries of psychics, statement heels are now top-of-mind for the most stylish.