In the shoe style game among fashionistas, is a man allowed in these ranks to make his own directional footwear statement wearing high heels?
I love to wear pumps. I like the extra height it gives. I like how the deep arches change the way you walk, steps become more confident, powerful. I even like the crushing squeeze that it causes on the ball of the feet.
If you knew me back in the early nineties, I’d always twist things up with the occasional debut of a killer high heel that a man could wear. Back then it was a metal heeled eggplant Shelly’s of London or a rust colored patent Red of Dead Red kettle heel Chelsea boot that I burned up the dance floor in from Heaven to Limelight. There was a questionable pair of Mary Janes I had platformed on Second Ave, but that one we can forget.
These days, I’m partial to Rick Owens 4’in suede boots that I’ve been rocking for a couple years, they’re made for men, but the message sits in the gender bending category. My pen thin heel Ann Demeulemeesters gets on;y the occasional wear because in spite of it’s fierce line, the punishment it doles out is not dissimilar to kind seen depicted in Eric Stanton’s S&M illustrations. In heavy rotation right now is a pair of Rick’s thigh high space wedge that provides the same benefits as a stiletto.
I can casually discuss wearing high heels because I feel just that way about it. I like the idea of a man remixing a traditionally female item and making it his own, giving it new purpose. I would equate to the feeling a woman gets when she dons a man tailored pantsuit—you immediately harness the strength of the opposite sex. For me, wearing heels wasn’t about dressing like a woman (strangely enough I’ve never done that); it’s about incorporating the unexpected item into a man’s wardrobe. It feels modern and new, which I always strive for in all my dressing choices.
And what a times for shoes–surely you’re seeing the radical creations that’s not only shown on the runways but that have converted women in every fashion capitol to take to the streets. Alaia, Nina Ricci, Alexander Mcqueen, every designer has got a sky-high program going on. My Ricks have been getting a workout but on my trip to Paris last week, I wanted to switch things up by bringing home a pair open-toe pumps from red hot Milan-based designer Alain Quilci. My host Lynda Real and Marc Gysin assumed the shoes was for a client but when I corrected them and said it was for me cried of ‘noooos’ ensued. Lynda thought it was ridiculous that I’d push around town in 6’in rocker pumps. Then continued to pepper the wound with the offensive, ‘at your age’ adage. I thought the whole conversation was so interesting in the sense that gender identity is so rigidly socialized for so many that it’s hard to see beyond some of the tired uniforms (especially for men). I’ve always thrived on breaking those gender rules–who made those rules in the first place? Who said black and blue don’t match? White after Labor Day is a no no? Or that a man cannot get his thrills or makes his fashion statement in a pair of high heels?