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Shoe Obsessed: Heel-less

@bergdorfs puts Giuseppe Zanotti's Heel-less Ankle Straps to the test

7 18 2012

Giuseppe Zanotti, 212 872 8947




It all started a few years ago, when Linda was in Paris for Fall Fashion Week. There was a fashion gypsy, wearing a pair of heel-less Oliver Theyskens for Nina Ricci ankle boots. We all know Linda’s hip to the trend-spotting so I tucked that memory in my mind’s wild fashion dare drawer and wondered when it would reemerge. Soon after we began spotting a certain Fashion City celeb pairing her Fifth Element frocks with similarly-shod styles as our roving fashion gypsy. Daphne Guiness also followed suit. What were these curious shoes and however did these ladies brave its perilous heights? Soon enough, these heel-less wonders begin cropping up in our very own shoe salon.

Believe it or not, these insanely futuristic kicks actually took their first step over seventy years ago. Yes, that’s right: French shoe designer André Perugia introduced the heel-less silhouette with his signature style in 1937. Funny to think how short Fashion City’s attention span can be.


Taking the escalator with the team

As we’re in the dog days of summer, what’s better than a good fashion dare? You know, the sort that really put your soles to the test. As you all seemed rather intrigued (if not positively agitated) by our pointed Giuseppe Zanotti platforms, we thought it time to heed the heel-less during one dizzying day in the office. This is what happened.

7:15am Rise & shine… it’s heel-less time!

7:30 Conundrum: how do you style a pair of 6″ heel-less platforms without looking like costumery? Also, are wrist-guards and a helmet acceptable accessories?

7:35 Settled upon vintage Escada leather pants that I cut into shorts (historic fact: the tag says Made in Western Germany), a cream blouse and linen Isabel Marant blazer one of our FB followers once deemed worthy of a Renaissance Fair. It’s a nice menswear mix.

7:40 Ashley Pittman cuffs would make suitable wrist guards, right?

Taking Giuseppe Zanotti on a stroll through Brooklyn

8am Walking the dog proves perilous. But only because he got in a fight with his building nemesis. Naughty, naughty pup.  Photo credit: Jason the Doorman (above)

Riding the subway.

8:30 Most people would have drivers (or at least take a taxi), I’ve got the MTA. Thankful I snagged a seat.  Photo credit: fellow passenger @bykho

9:15 Derek Lam breakfast in BG Restaurant. Our new president Josh and I have a scintillating dialog about the difference between Charlotte Olympia’s 6.5″ wedges and today’s 7″ heel-less pair from Giuseppe Zanotti. Associates ask me to prove that they are, in fact, walkable.

Getting feisty with Tommy Ton!

10:15 Connect with PR and the team on Three. Spend the hour following Tommy Ton as he photographs Three, 5F and the most purrrfect pair of Givenchy specs ever. Ankles are getting quite tired… momentarily consider stealing off with a pair of Chanel sneakers that make all of us giggle. They’re so Designing Women meet Big Business. Nice to see that Karl still has a terrific sense of humor.

11:20 Customer’s husband asks if it’s possible to walk in today’s heel-less wedges; I walk, he asks me to run. Funny…

11:45 shoot complete. Let the day at the desk begin!

Elevation is key.

1pm  More desk work.  It’s important to prop up your feet.

2pm Weekly creative meeting.  Sky appears ominous. Shoe change imminent?

Looking out the window, with longing

4pm Thunder crackling. Lightning flickering.  Looking out the window, with longing.

5:30 Day reaching its end. Weather much too chaotic to risk damaging these beautiful, beautiful samples.  Sadly they cannot join me during tonight’s adventure with Hudson Jeans and instead must return to our Shoe Buyers.

More shoe obsessions from @bergdorfs:
A Short Girl’s Quest for Height 

Final Thoughts & Answers to a few friends’ questions from Twitter:

Are they comfortable?
Yes.  Absolutely.  But note that this really is a standing shoe.

Can you actually walk in them?
On carpet, yes.  It’s quite easy, particularly on carpet.  However I would avoid unstable terrain and walking long distances.  Because of the shoe’s pitch, you feel compelled to take far shorter steps than usual.  As a result, you walk slower.

Did you wobble on them – like almost twist your ankle? – @the_dir
Once, when I was walking from the Celine boutique to the Up escalator.  I took a shortcut through Jason Wu and tripped on the rug.  It was rather embarrassing but fortunately no one but the security cameras caught it!  The shoes actually stay on quite well because of the ankle-strap.

How did they feel compared to wedge/stiletto/flat, do they require extra balance? How long did it take to adjust? – @gLamOLAnd
Imagine a wedge with a smaller sole.  You’re very aware of how confined the surface area is.  I’m still adjusting to the urge to lean back.  This is a shoe that requires perfect posture.

Did you walk city blocks? – @MissGallo
Not really.  This was actually more of a desk day.  But I did walk through the store quite a bit.

Are your calves sore (maybe a question for tomorrow or the day after)? – @the_dir
Ha! No.  I wear heels quite a bit and walk everywhere – the subway stop is a half-mile from my apartment!  So I’m quite used to walking in heels.  To be honest, I think that my calves would be more sore after a long day skiing.

How was it? I heard when wearing them you can’t tell that there isn’t a heel. is it true? – @MisssClassy
Not bad! There is a certain psychology behind wearing incredibly tall and crazy heels because you have to retrain the way you think about standing, taking steps, etc.  It sounds entirely silly but it so happens. It’s good to challenge the brain in those ways though… oh golly people are so going to criticize me for saying that.

Easier, harder, or same to walk in compared to your everyday stiletto?? – @annlouisenola
Different.  I would say it’s on par with learning how to walk in stilettos for the first time.  Except this time you’re aware that there’s nothing to support you from the back.  If 100mm  stilettos were a Blue Slope, Heel-less Platforms would be a Black Diamond (Brian Atwood’s Maniacs are Double-Blacks… ps – what’s up with all the ski references tonight?)


212 872 8947



About Giuseppe Zanotti:
San Mauro Pascoli, a small village on Italy’s Adriatic Riviera, is renowned for its fine cobblers. It’s also the birthplace of designer Giuseppe Zanotti, whose collection of breathtakingly beautiful shoes also exhibits the quality craftsmanship worthy of his hometown’s heritage. The Giuseppe Zanotti line debuted 1994, and since the beginning, the designer has included a jeweler, embroiderer, and heel expert on his staff.