Each year, as designers furiously and desperately try and concoct their own unique take on style staples, many fashionistas across the world are left baffled by the more bizarre products that are offered to them, usually for exorbitant prices. Whilst last year saw the debut of such items as the hoola hoop bag by Chanel and all manner of grotesquery sported by Lady Gaga, perhaps the craziest segment of the fashion industry, in terms of ludicrous new designs, is the world of shoes.
2012 was a vintage year for ridiculous shoe designs. Perhaps the one design which grabbed the most headlines was a trainer which was retracted swiftly after being unveiled – the Adidas “shackles” shoe. A garish high top sneaker with cheap looking plastic shackles attached to it’s sole, the shoe caused outrage and was instantly withdrawn after being branded racist and a sad reminder of slavery. Whilst these were the most offensive, the aforementioned Lady Gaga also sported some of the most garish with her towering and vertiginous footwear which more often resembled beehives than traditional heels, and special mention should be given to the UK’s Jodie Marsh who employed a designer specifically to deck her feet with shoes designed to look like teapots and dead crows.
The Chainmail Shoe
2013 seems likely to follow hot on the heels of last year’s more unsightly shoe trends and has already sprung up a contender for the year’s most leftfield design. Whilst many designers would utilise an established material for their shoes, canvas or leather for example, a recent tweak on the “barefoot” running trainers has seen the release of footwear made from chainmail. Whereas previously “barefoot” shoes have appeared similar to slippers of foam feet, the medieval chainmail by Gost-Barefoots are perhaps stranger looking still. The managing director of Gost, Jorg Peitzker, believes the shoe represent the next step in taking footwear in the correct direction, away from stifling modern alternatives. The shoes, designed to help the feet interact with earth, are unlikely to start a widespread fashion craze.
Shoes Which Bleed
Of all the features one could potentially desire from a shoe, the illusion of bleeding, I would imagine, is quite low. Yet, for some, such a criteria must be an unspoken essential as shoes designed by Benjamin John Hall, titled “Birth, Life, Death & Resurrection”. Showcased recently at fashion competition, International Talent Support, his collection of footwear included one pair which could “breathe” and another which featured the aforementioned blood oozing from them.
Trainers are not overly known for their aesthetic qualities, and high heels are not really known for their comfort. So, whereas logic would suggest that any hybrid of the two footwear styles should shy away from highlighting these two bad qualities, many catwalks have begun to feature a design comprising of a traditional sneaker but, instead of a flat sole, with a vertiginous high heel welded on to the back. Like spiked and studded shoes, this style is likely to make the transition from the catwalk and high end fashion shows to the high street very soon.
KC is a fashion blogger who writes regularly for a number of outlets on all of the latest developments in the fashion world and on new shoes and trends.