[dropcap style=”hexagon”]H[/dropcap]eels. They’re for strutting, showing off and shopping. They’re for giving other girls stiletto envy, for power striding into a meeting and they make kissing a tall man easier.
Speaking of men, those silly creatures have forgotten their own opulent heel history. In the heyday of the French Monarchy, King Louis XIV, (known for his juicy orgies at Versailles and for being the longest ruling king in all of European history), wore heels. They were his fashion staple, his must-have and his fetish. No one was allowed to wear heels taller than his. He took care to have his dandy footwear embroidered with battle scenes, you know, just in case the question of his masculinity arose.
I’m not the only one fascinated by the history of fashion and footwear, or history in general really. Kate Goldberg, recent graduate of Cordwainers London College of Fashion cites the Tudor period and tensions with the Roman Catholic Church as her inspiration for what, ironically, turned out to be a very futuristic shoe. Aptly named ‘The Time Traveller’ the final design for her graduate degree is what Kate describes as a “mash-up” of the ages. Printed on the silk which is part of the strap are deconstructed watches, giving a subtle nod to the origin of her inspiration. “It’s a juxtaposition – I love that word!” She says smiling.
Kate herself is originally from Antwerp, Belgium. A scenic place to grow up, but not somewhere she’s planning to return to; “London is definitely my home now. Going back would be a step back and I only want to go forward!” She speaks quickly, she’s a little shy, little in stature and excited for the future. “I’m applying for jobs everywhere!” She continues beaming, “Even though London is my home, I’d go somewhere new, you know, New York, or Italy”.
Her family are in the diamond and jewellery industry, which is a flourishing business in her part of Belgium. Antwerp is renowned for its centuries old Diamond District where thousands of designers, cutters, polishers, traders and dealers serve up the shiny and singular to starry-eyed buyers.
Kate however wanted to move away from the familiar and into footwear. “I seem to always wear black,” she says, pointing at her dark ripped jeans, flattering long-sleeved top and dainty Céline handbag. Putting together outfits isn’t easy (god don’t we know it!) and Kate’s solution to brightening up an outfit or sporting a statement piece is to throw on a pair of kooky shoes. When asked who her own favourite shoe designer is she says, “Nicholas Kirkwood for sure. I think he manages perfectly to put together something truly unusual that is still also wearable”. With fashion becoming more experimental and designers more gutsy, we are seeing women dare step out in increasingly mad creations from Alexander McQueen’s armadillo heels to the heeless platforms made popular by Lady Gaga. The time may well be ripe for ‘The Time Traveller’.
To create ‘The Time Traveller’ Kate used a variety of materials including copper and silk as well as experimenting with 3D laser cutting and other progressive textiles techniques. The final pair of shoes left Kate with totally ruined nails, a highly-respected degree and a spot at the prestigious London College of Fashion Press Show, for which The Time Traveller shoe was specially hand-picked for display. The girl did good. Really good.
“I want to learn, learn, learn” she beams, talking about her hopes to find a job with an established shoe brand. But will she always stick to shoes?
“No. I love to play with all kinds of things, I would love to do scarves next, and then who knows?”
Kate faced the past with her futuristic shoe. But now it’s time for the present and today that’s a celebration of her recent successes.
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