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Platform shoes are like the mythological phoenix. While the trend may die, it eventually is reborn from its own ashes. It seems to happen in twenty-year cycles: platforms were big in the 1970s, came around again in the 1990s, and they’ve slowly been making a comeback in the 2010s.
This most recent rebirth has happened slowly; ever since stilettos reached their thinnest a few years ago, heels have been getting wider. It started with the tapered heel, evolved into the chunky heel, grew into the square heel, briefly veered off into Alexander McQueen lobster-shoes, got back on track with the wedge, and now we’re back to platforms. Beautiful open-toed platforms are everywhere this summer, but there’s bound to be closed-toe versions for the cooler seasons. If Karl Lagerfeld has anything to do with it, platforms will be here to stay for a few seasons. Not just any platforms though – the fashion world has just been reintroduced to the clunkiest platforms there are.
As recently seen in Chanel’s Cruise 2013 line by Karl Lagerfeld, platform sneakers are hitting runways and lookbooks. In the show held in May, the sky-high sneaks were paired with voluminous 18th-century style skirts, pastel bob haircuts, denim, signature Chanel tweed, and punk attitude. The Marie Antoinette-inspired show took place at the French palace of Versailles where the gardens seem too classy to be trampled by clunky footwear. Lagerfeld isn’t the only designer giving sneakers some chunk. Marc Jacobs, Isabel Marant, and Liberty x Nike have already released wedge sneakers, but the latest styles are “a raised but completely flat platform.” Nylon reports that stores have nearly sold out of platform sneakers by Chloe Sevigny x Opening Ceremony. Like the Chanel version, these are made of canvas, have a rounded toe, crossed laces, and a tall, flat platform. They retail for $265.
Will this trend will be embraced like it was when the Spice Girls were at their peak and no stylish woman’s outfit was complete without a thick platform? The world certainly wasn’t ready for it when a certain tall, butt-toning sneaker hit the market a few years ago; despite the promise of a muscular rear and plenty of celebrity endorsements, I didn’t see anyone wearing those clunky running shoes. The new chunky lace-ups are a far cry from the sneakers that have been in style recently, like the ultra-flat Converse All-Stars or Toms shoes. If the world is ready to rebel against flat-soled shoes, perhaps everyone will jump for joy in their thick-soled kicks.
For now, Karl Lagerfeld is doing his part in the rebirth with his reincarnation, but we’ll have to wait and see what heights sneakers will reach in the next few seasons and whether fashionistas will embrace them. Are you excited for the platform sneaker revival? Is it too soon? Are you ready to pull out your vintage pairs from the 1970s and 1990s?