Think of platform boots and the first thing that often comes to mind are musical icons from the ’70s to ’90s like David Bowie and The Spice Girls. Like any fashion trend from those eras, platform boots are having their comeback moment this Fall/Winter 2016 season, with numerous designers sending models in treacherously high boots down the runway.
While they remind us of decades past, platform boots actually have a storied history dating back centuries. Here’s a quick look back at the history of platform boots.
1. Fall/Winter 2016
Marc Jacobs & Balenciaga F/W2016
This season, designers like Marc Jacobs and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga have revived the chunky platform boot. We predict the likes of Lady Gaga and fashion’s cool set getting in line to score a pair.
For Spring/Summer 2010, the late Alexander McQueen created the 30-cm-high Armadillo platform boots for his Plato’s Atlantis collection. Part animal-inspired, part ballet pointe shoes, they elongate the wearer’s feet into mutant lobster claws — bizarre footwear that’s beautifully en pointe.
In 1993, Naomi Campbell tripped while wearing a pair of 12-inch platforms during Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania Spring/Summer show. Thankfully, the British diva wasn’t injured. The fall didn’t hurt her career, either.
Kiss were one of the many glam rock bands who loved platform boots.
Super-high platform boots gained popularity in the 1970s among male musicians in particular, from Elton John to David Bowie, as well as glam rock bands like Kiss. The towering boots ensured these badass superstars elevated their stage performances.
5. 794 AD
Geishas also wore platforms to keep their kimonos off the ground.
Platform shoes were first created in Japan during the Heian period (which lasted until the 1100s) to avoid sinking into the mud in paddy fields. Men would strap on “getas” or flat boards that had wooden stilts attached to the bottoms. Eventually, women started wearing these shoes in order to prevent their kimonos from dragging on the ground.
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