Fear and Clothing: No more high heels and other fashion ...


Fashion Column

Fear and Clothing: No more high heels and other fashion predictions

Li Edelkoort predicts that the flat shoe is in our fashion future. Aspasia Karras objects


Consider the future. Some people do it for a living. Li Edelkoort for one. The trend forecaster and design guru is back in South Africa this week making pronouncements about this unknowable thing relentlessly coming our way.
She is like a latter day shaman, replete with kaftan and gnomic meaning. I think it might be an association she purposefully cultivates. In retrospect the future always seems that much less opaque. Of course we knew that Trump was coming like a spluttering freight train spewing old-school coal pollution all over our Twitter feeds and psyches. It was obvious, wasn’t it?This year I hear she has decided that high heels are finished. This is in addition to fashion which she killed off last year.
I am a bit miffed, I won’t lie to you.I mean, I can take the death of fashion – but don’t mess with my shoes.
Apparently we all need to be more grounded. Like Mother Earth. This in a year when Elon Musk propelled an electric car into celestial orbit – just because.
To listen to Edelkoort, the heel is on its way out because women are confused about their role in the world. In the wake of #MeToo and the unequal pay debate, it seems to me we might be starting to see the light,  but okay I am prepared to go with the confusion theory.
To help us see more clearly Li has handily created a book predicting 2019 trends in fashion and textile and yes, shoes. It is called Goddesses.She has cast her net far and wide and picked a well-rounded bunch of female deities from our deep human past, so that they can help us understand our future through archetypes. I am quite partial to the cat lady from ancient Egypt, Bastet – because #CatsofInstagram and all that.  Anyway  I’m the first to acknowledge our debt to the past and a mythological narrative is as good as any other for extrapolating meaning and throwing the bones so to speak.  
In ancient Greece they used to spend time cultivating the future. For every big decision they would make a little pilgrimage to the Oracle at Delphi – Pythia. She sat perched on top of a smoking cast-iron pot that steamed her nether regions and her brain. She chewed on leaves. Not sure what they could have been.  But when asked a question she was deft with the answer and most supplicants  went off convinced the gods had communicated their meaning however obscure.  So you know I get that this prediction business is open-ended.But still. I am a bit mystified by the injunction against the heel in relation to goddesses.  As Shakespeare mentions in his sonnet of yore: “I grant I never saw a goddess go; My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.” The implication being that goddesses are elevated beings that float above the ground because, you know, that’s what they do. They float. How do you float in this day and age? Well you could get a jet pack – I am sure Elon is working on an environmentally friendly one. You could attach balloons to your office chair. You could skateboard everywhere, or you could wear your heels.  And feel your calf lengthen and your vantage point rise to the occasion. A grounded floating so to speak.Yes, yes – I have heard all the arguments about how heels essentially hobble the wearer, fetishising her foot and turning her into an object, etc.  But I am with the Sun King here. Louis XIV sported fabulous heels and if  he didn’t feel objectified I sure as hell don’t. I can tell you for a fact he felt like a god.  A sun god to be precise.  So when men wore them it was okay, and nobody worried about how grounded they were,  but put a heel on a  woman and it suddenly turns into a point of contention. A fulcrum for political debate and the gender wars.What says a heel is less grounded than a flat?  Who decides that women in high heels are somehow airy, fairy and frivolous? Next you will judge me for my skirt length or consider me fair game because I was dressed “provocatively”. UGHH!If I have to choose a version of the future I go with the Maison Margiela MM6  Fall 2018 show this week in London. It was set in a pub (always nice) and the pub was covered in metal foil, to look like Andy Warhol’s version of the pop future he fully expected to appear sooner rather than later. He was so right about that. The silver outfits are kind of space-agey  in a retro sixties way. Perfect for when I catch Elon’s rocket ship to Mars, dressed like a shiny metal goddess in a  very high heel .

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