Lately we've been seeing shoes as extravagant, impossible and fabulous as these. For the last couple of seasons, heels have gone up non-stop (about 4 cm each season). I have already talked very often about high heels in this blog, but these Nina Ricci wedges, as well as the already legendary Alexander McQueen, have confirmed all my suspicions that heels are "the new corsets": they are the ultimate fashion status symbol.Imagine trying to jump on the tube in these. Or just trying to stand up in them for more than half an hour, for that matter. Yet, I have heard about fifty boys and girls say they'll do whatever it takes to get those Alexander McQueens. When people are actually willing to commit self-torture for the sake of fashion, it becomes a matter to talk about but not to argue, and once the trend is out of fashion, everybody will wonder how people with brains could accept and even cherish such a loony fashion. It has happened with heavy, powdered wigs, corsets of all kinds, shrunken Chinese feet and African overnecklaced necks. And now it might be high heels.
I don't intend to say McQueen's shoes were not beautiful. They were more than that: they were magnificent. Surreal. In the show, they were all you could see. Then you looked up and saw a pristine ginger model glued to them, like a twig-shaped transparent jellyfish. The whole sea creature theme was mastermind. And the shoes were the perfect icing on the cake, looking like a mysterious kind of sea snake or the Loch Ness monster.
The show is one to be remembered for a long time. Not just because of the breathtaking beauty of it all, but because it means the beginning of something new in fashion: the prints were innovative, showing wonderful computer-created effects. The shapes, draping and volumes were also new, and they suggested something different to what clothing during the XXth century has been. Alexander McQueen, as many other designers that are slowly subscribing to the same trend, steps away from the last decades’ freedom in fashion: easy to wear and comfortable clothes, adapted to and enhancing the natural body shape. McQueen’s clothes have an undeniable historical influence (although not in, say, Galliano’s way for instance. McQueen has a unique way of projecting the past into the future, never in the obvious way and never in the easy way), with a very British spirit to it. And his last show proved him to be at the peak of his splendour. But what of all that feminine fashion achieved in matters of body freedom and comfort during the last century? Are we losing that for good? You all know I can be quite nostalgic and that I adore the XXth century, but I do wonder where fashion is moving towards. Is left to see to what extent will McQueen’s armour-like shapes, Elizabethan volumes and maximalist shoes become popular.