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After a surge in lockdown-induced demand for trainers and slipper-style flats, mega heels are suddenly everywhere – and often accompanied by short skirts. And when I say mega, I mean improbably high, towering footwear – the kind that makes Naomi Campbell quake in her Vivienne Westwood boots.
Valentino's Tan-Go Platform Pump is the cult shoe du jour, loved by influencers like Hannah Stafford Taylor and Camille Charrière. They haven’t popped up out of nowhere, though. Platforms have been gathering momentum for some time. Back in 2019 Miu Miu, Jacquemus and Saint Laurent all showed chunky heels on the runway – but then I guess those lockdowns got in the way. Finally, however, it feels like glamour is back on the cards and Versace, Miu Miu, Prada and Gucci are all embracing the trend.
Platform heels aren’t for the faint hearted, of course. They are the antithesis of a kitten heel – discreet and practical they’re not. They’re loud and exaggerated, working to extend the leg and shift the proportions of the body. Miracle workers under a pair of long-line trousers, they also work brilliantly with midi dresses. If you're moving away from knee-high boots and flats feel a bit too mundane, then a platform heel is an ideal transition. They’ll give even the plainest outfit a more directional edge. More importantly, they look great with tights – perfect for this time of year. I love the Helmut Newton vibe and I’ve yet to meet a stiletto or kitten heel that works with opaque hosiery. Thicker tights need a thicker heel, full stop.
Of course, there is the practicality issue. There’s no point buying something that looks good in front of the mirror if you can't walk in them. If you do go high, do so only in the evening. If your priority is daytime, go for a lower style or inspect the difference in height between the sole and the heel – often the incline isn't as steep as you might imagine.
Platforms are currently running riot on the high street, so it's not just high-end fashion addicts who can get their fix. As ever, though, buying designer generally makes it easier to get the look. This style can so easily tip into trashy territory and the more expensive the shoe, the more likely it is you’ll be able to bring it back from the brink of tacky.
Want to get it right? Here are my tips. Mary Janes and a closed toe will always lend a more demure look. Pay careful attending to fabrication and avoid cheap-looking leather. Velvet almost always looks luxe. On the high street, look for simpler, more discreet buckles and fastenings than anything too statement. If in doubt, go metallic – there are a multitude of options out there from the likes of Warehouse and Asos to Jimmy Choo and Prada. It’s not likely you’ll be buying multiple versions of this style, so opt for something that’s as versatile as possible – a metallic shoe will go with everything.
Finally, there are daytime platforms out there if you dare – woven soles, plaited straps and printed fabrics in less vertigo-inducing styles somehow pack even more of a punch. Loeffler Randall, Coach and Castañer have some of my favourites.
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