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A History of Heels

HISTORY OF HEELS The heel has had an uneven history that has fascinated historians and fashionistas alike. It is difficult to imagine a world without the heel - and the fashion world would be inconceivable without it. 3500BC 3000BC ANCIENT ANCIENT GREECE EGYPT Egyptian murals dating back to 3500BC depict the Egyptian higher classes wearing footwear with heels that, along The Ancient Greeks used platform sandals called cothurnus in their tragic plays. The actors wore higher shoes to indicate with decorative lacing, resemble the Ankh - which is the higher social status or the importance of their character. symbol for life. 200BC 1300s MIDDLE EASTERN THE ROMAN EMPIRE The Romans followed Wooden stilts suit from around 200BC, naming these platform sandals were used in Middle Eastern bathhouses to kothorni. Those that protect wearers' feet from the worked in the oldest profession wore high heels to advertise hot, wet floors. The clacking, thei potential clients. ces to clapping sound they made gave them the name kabkab. 1400s THE MIDDLE AGES PATTENS CHOPINES In the Middle Ages, At the same time, chopines were popular in Turkey. pattens were used to protect more delicate shoes They were like pattens, but worn almost exclusively by women. from the mud and mess of city streets. Their utility meant that they were used by both the aristocracy and the poor. This fashion moved through Europe and was popular until the mid-17th century. 1400s THE INCREDIBLY TALL VENETIANS The Venetlans got a little carried away with the height of their chopines. Visitors to the city made note of the obscenely high chopines-they could be as high as 30 inches. The church actually approved of the fashion as the ungainly height inhibited movement and dancing, and reduced the likelihood of "sinful activities.. SAFAVID DYNASTY 1501-1736 THE PERSIAN WARRIOR'S SHOE OF CHOICE Artworks in London's VSA Museum depict Persian warriors on horseback wearing shoes with high heels. They helped their feet to grip the stirrups, allowing them to stand up and use their bow and arrows while on horseback. 1571-1629 THE PERSIAN EMPEROR'S AMBASSADORS Shäh 'Abbas the Great (1571-1629), Emperor of the Persian Empire, sent ambassadors to different parts of Europe to ask for their help in conquering his enemies, the Ottoman Empire (now modern- day Turkey). It is believed that it was these envoys that helped spread the fashion of high heels throughout Europe, but for men, not women. 1638 - 1715 THE LOUIS HEEL King Louis XIV of France (1638- 1715) was very fond of the new high heel fashion and he often wore ornate high-heeled shoes as high as 5 inches. These shoes were dubbed Louis Heels' and were a real status symbol for French Aristocracy. The king also decreed that only people of noble birth could have red Louis heels, and that no one could have taller heels than him. 1791 THE FRENCH REVOLUTION As high heels were a symbol of status and nobility, in 1791, after the French Revolution, Napoleon banned the French from wearing them. Despite the ban, Marie Antoinette went to her executlon in 1793 wearing heels. 1791 THE NEW WORLD AND OLD VALUES At this time, the puritan colony in Massachusetts banned women from wearing shoes that might seduce men. Doing so could result in being tried for witchcraft. It was not until the mid-19th century that America finally caught up with European fashions. 1904 1920s THE CUBAN THE SPANISH Cuban heels, which were much thicker than Louis heels, became popular in 1904. The higher hemlines of And again in the swinging 6os... the roaring 20s resulted in a higher, more slender Louis heel: the spanish heel. 1955 THE STILETTO HIGH HEEL Christlan Dior and Roger Vivier collaborated together and created the aptly named stlletto heel in 1955. High, thin heels had existed before then, but they didn't reach such popular heights until the 50s. stiletto is the name for a smalI, slender Italian blade that tapers at the end-not unlike the heel it gives its name to. They were sometmes banned in public buildings because they caused damage to the floors. The stletto's popularity dropped as the feminist movement rose; some feminists claimed that high heels indicated subservience and gender stereotyping. They argued that stilettos and high heels crippled feet and only existed to titillate men. 1970s 1990s PLATFORMS HIGHER HEELS Higher heels returned to the forefront in the 80s and 90s. Manolo Blahnik's high Platforms elevated shoes even further in the late 60s and throughout the heels appeared in boutique shoe stores. They were the quintessence of style and opulence-which was typified by 70s. They began in popular TV shows of the time, such as Sex and the City and Dallas. London and quickly became a global fashion phenomenon. SOURCES -attp:// themes/leaders and_rulers/shah_abbas/shah_abbas_%E2%80%93_ruling_an_empire.aspx west, Janice. 1993. "The Shoe in Art, the Shoe as Art." In in Footnotes on Shoes.Shari Benstock and Suzanne Fermiss, eds. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rufgers University Press. Gamman, Larraine. 1993. "Self-Fashioning, GGender Display, and Sexy Girl Shoes: What's at Stake-Female Fetshism or Narcksism?" in Footnotes on Shoes. Shari Benstock and Suzanne Ferrtss, eds. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. courtesy of

A History of Heels

shared by MediaworksUK on May 17
Ever wondered where heels came from? Its difficult to imagine a world without them... Who knew it all started with hygiene?




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