Vertically challenged
- Daryl Chang () - March 20, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The thing with fashion is, once it has reached its saturation point, and everyone could have come from the same automated factory line of wardrobe blogs and high-street knockoffs, then the fearless few detach themselves from the formula and stalk the unobtainable. As we are working around a “level-up” contrivance, I thought it was just proper to relate the subject to in-your-face statement shoes, figuratively and literally. Not only does the added height add confidence by making you tower above everyone else, there’s something about heels that just gives women power. Although looking ahead, there is a slow diffusion towards lower-level footwear, (and it could just as soon take over the towering heights), as of now, vertiginous pieces still have that number-one spot.

But with everyone getting the memo, what with remarkable footwear being the exclamation point to every ensemble, how long till we all take remarkable to beyond amazing? Soon, I’m thinking. Just like the gladiators, the very now open-toe, laceup booties will eventually give way to a shape that totally defies conventional standard appreciation.

Which brings me to showcase summer’s most pretty, over-the-top and beyond-normal statement pieces. Most are heart-stopping covetables, and others might have some mutations involved, but all have that sort of tilt-your-head-to-one-side, raise-the- eyebrows moment. “Can I even walk on that?” The thing is, with designs like these, it’s clearly not knockoff-able. Which is the open-and-shut case in most copyright issues. And apart from that, this new obsession for fanatical footwear could be largely credited to the fact that accessories, like shoes and bags, are the most accessible extensions from a designer's collection. One that you can also wear more than once and rotate on a weekly basis.

A key styling element in almost all (if you were keen enough to observe) is the almost sheer socks that go with everything. Fierceness with a touch of sweet. Key trends being the extreme raised platforms, architecturally cut wedges and the incorporation of feminine froufrous. So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and drool. I would so wear it all. How about you?

Gianfranco Ferre

You never really get this in a cheaper version; premium comes with deeper thought and impeccable construction. I’d have to turn the mic over to the designers because in their own words, this would be ultimate “decorated minimalism.”

Christian Dior

Metallic sheen is not new in footwear, but interpreted like this, architectural sunburst would be the word that comes to mind. With the strings and surfaces doing sharp lines, it’s enough for me to imagine that these are futuristic infrastructure for the feet.


Does the toe platform give the illusion of walking on air or not? Yes, it does, plus the fact that it’s a wraparound shoe with yards of ribbon that can be tied into whatever, it’s like doing pirouettes with support.

John Galliano

I only placed one style of the platform trotters from the collection here. With a whimsical touch, the style wand of Galliano infuses candy drops, feathers, textured skin, and satin in one piece. If that’s not enough of a “whew!”, then having that ginormous chunk of toe loftiness should be enough.


Yes, this would be one of the most streamlined but it’s one of my favorites. In its simplicity lies its rawness, with bondage straps, an opening that sits low right on the ankles and an arch support cut diagonally in, it’s just sex on wedges!

Gareth Pugh

Here’s an example of three trends in one, a structural wedge, yes. Laced up, of course. Platforms, you betcha. It’s like winning the shoe lottery.

Jean-Charles Castelbajac

What’s fashion without a little bit of whimsy? Castelbajac’s signature quirkiness is apparent in his shark shoes, complete with jaws, grinning gape, and fins. This one is too cute to strike terror, though. But still, I bet it can slice through the front-row waters.

Louise Goldin

This would be rock on speed. If the fully embellished studs are not enough to establish your toughness, then the spikes on the spine of the heel will definitely pierce the deal.

Alexander McQueen

All eyes are on the 12-inch hooves worn by Lady GaGa and Daphne Guinness, but the other pieces in McQueen’s collection were just as strong and beautiful. The brown armor shoes remind me of a medieval blacksmith with a cyber twist, while the holographic space alien is just that — warped and transfigured with a pulsating liquid sheen.


I’m guessing you can’t wear these with jeans? Lace detail that’s had a sudden growth spurt. Best with a minimal dress to draw attention to the foliage on your feet. And I’m not talking about corn.


Oooh! Sorry, had to have that ogly-eyed, drool-induced sound, because I so want this! Cap toe with that mad wedge for toe reinforcement, with a silver aerodynamic support and a too-cool half-inch space in between bottom sole and top of heel. Sounds like I’m describing a car. I’d give my liver for it.

Viktor & Rolf

I was never really the girly type, but this blooming drama on the ankles is just too pretty to resist!

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