Glamour, sophistication, and sado-masochism have never been expressed more openly in fashion than through the invention of the pointed stiletto heel. Transforming regular outfits into classy, luxurious ones since God knows when, heels have become a necessity to the modern woman’s wardrobe; so much so that fairy tales, pop culture, and fetishes loyally surround the subject. But how exactly did the high heel shoe arrive at what it is today – steep, incredible, and I daresay slightly ridiculous?
16-marilyn-monroe-1926-1962-granger“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!” were the famous words of classic sex icon, Marilyn Monroe. Women love wearing them and men love to see women in them, but believe it or not, Monroe got it right about men initiating trend. Like a long game of tag, it was men that first designed and iconized this elevated footwear before passing on the fad to womankind, not knowing that a day would come in the future when their innovation would come back to bite them in the a** in the form of endless shoe shopping missions with their partners, and getting used to considerably lighter wallets.
In a brief overview of how this gender-changing trend rose to fame, we turn back time to the early centuries where Persian soldiers in the Near East designed heeled boots as standard war attire, as it prevented the foot from slipping from their stirrups as they took aim at their opponent.
As time passed, the world learned this practicality from them, but it was soon the impracticality of high heels that captured the obsession of status-loving French King, Louise the 14th. He believed that impracticality was only for those who could afford it, thus banned it from use by anyone but the royal circle. A quick fast forward to the end of his reign, heels were back on the menu for public use, and was the centre of attention for women who at the time were trying to mimic the dressing style of men in order to appear more significant and authoritative in society. But soon after, everything about men’s fashion were thrown out of women’s closets – just one item remained: the sacred icon of women’s fashion today, the high heeled shoe.
Also read: HEEL-STORY IN THE MAKING PART 2: THE RISE AND FURTHER RISE OF HIGH HEELS