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Fashion 101: History of High Heels

Friday, March 4, 2011

High Heels have a long history of adoration. Fashion has showcased an array of creativity for these feet adornments over the centuries...but where did they come from? Rumor has it that King Louis XIV was the man (that's right) that started the trend... but that's not entirely true.
"I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!"
~Marilyn Monroe 

 {merci weheartit}

High heels actually began their story with the Chopine dating as far back as 1000 BC Egypt! They reached as high as 20" at times and required servants to help the socialites walk around! These shoes were prohibited in Venice...but that didn't stop their fans. Catherine de Medici in Paris in the 16th Century was the first to have heels designed for her (she was rather short) where the heel elevated higher than the toe.

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Always a sex symbol, the English Parliament punished women (as witches) all who used high heels to seduce a man into marriage (oh la la)! But by the early 1700's they became necessity fashion in the royal courts, and leading the trend, King Louis XIV had many ornate high heels embellished with miniature battle scenes (very manly).
Heels reached as high as 5"...just as long as no one's were higher than the king's (complex much??).

By 1791 the man with the ultimate Short Man Complex banned heels with the French Revolution...yes Napoleon did that ladies. The ban was an attempt to show "equality"...yeah. High heel history stops for a bit as politics catches up.

{merci Goddiva Blog}

High heels were back in business in the 1860s when the invention of the sewing machine lent a whole new variety of design. The French high heel fashion continued to be the trend setter. By the 1920s high heels came in a variety of widths, heights and styles. This was a turning point for shoe history because the shorter style Flapper dresses now allowed shoes to become accessories to an outfit rather than a hidden undergarment. The T-Strap heel was a very popular style. In the 1930s American footwear began making its mark, as the glittery Hollywood heels of Ginger Rogers began to influence footwear!

Post war, 1953, Christian Dior collaborated with designer Roger Vivier to create a curved feminine high heel to compliment the curve of his clothing line. This was the first stiletto ladies...not quite the provocative versions of today, but controversial then nonetheless. The term stiletto, Italian for small dagger, was appropriately coined.

{Merci oocities}

The Women's Movement of the 1960s brought heels low to "Liberate the captive foot of womanhood" but as the 1970s approached the Hippie culture embraced platforms as style, as their concerns became anxiety about the world's future rather than footwear. 

In the Women's Movement of the 1980s the high heel becomes a symbol of power. From there, high heel history is well...history. In the 1990s specific footwear designers begin to have fame such as Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. Television shows such as Sex and the City, showcasing Carrie Bradshaw's ever committed relationship to her shoes catapult high heels to cult status and continues today.

What are your favorite high heels mes cheries?

Thank you Mysexyhiheels and Simone le Blanc for the fashion history knowledge. 

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