The renowned nine inch platform shoes by Vivienne Westwood that made the world news in 1993 with Naomi Campbell’s spectacular fall on the catwalk, is now on display in FootPrint: the Track of Shoes in Fashion.
The iconic shoe in imitation crocodile leather (mock crock) has a very distinct Vivienne Westwood signature. Westwood is known for her provocative and punk-inspired designs that often play with symbols from British history. The ‘super elevated Bhillie shoe’ is a mix of historical chopine shoes where the extreme height of the platform implies the social status of the wearer, the ‘ghillie shoes’, a Scottish shoe for shepherds with crossed laces tied very high up and a stripper shoe with its typical form.
Westwood herself about the platform shoes: ‘Shoes must have high heels and platforms to put the beauty of the female body on a pedestal.’
Karen Van Godtsenhoven, curator MoMu: ‘Westwood is well known for her shoes, she has managed to create a unique shape and style that are immediately recognizable as Westwoods. There’s always statement in all her creations. If shoes are an emotion, Westwood would be eroticism and rebellion.’
In the book ‘Footprint – The Tracks of Shoes in fashion’, Patrick Cox, the British shoe designer who worked for many fashion designers in the eighties and the nineties including Vivienne Westwood where he started his career at, tells a nice story:
‘In the middle of everything, I did three pairs of platforms with three big, gold, really softly tied knots. I remember going to Vivienne’s horrible hotel room in Les Halles and presenting everything. Then I pulled out the gold platforms and she just went, ‘Eugh, platforms! How ‘70s!’ which I laugh at every time I think about it because she’s become the queen of platforms. She said, ‘Those aren’t going on the runway.’ I was crestfallen and upset, but OK – it was her show. An hour after the show was supposed to start, the truck arrived from Italy with the clothes. They opened the back of the truck, there were some clothes, but they also pushed out sewing machines, rolls of fabric with pattern paper pinned to it and went, ‘Fuck you,’ and drove off. So, we had to go into the audience and find people like John Galliano and Stephen Jones to go backstage and sew, to make the clothes that were supposed to be on the runway. After two hours Anna Wintour walked out. Gene Krelll was singing in the mike trying to get people to not leave.
This was the Clint Eastwood collection: Vivienne and David were trying to style the clothes and they started fighting, because they were so stressed. She asked me to help her, and we managed to get one look out for each girl, and then there was no more time: people were leaving. So we threw everything in the middle of the room and told the girls to put something else on when they got off the runway. It wasn’t me, but someone threw the gold platforms in. Those three pairs of gold platforms went out twenty times because the girls were fighting for them. And that was the beginning of Vivienne doing platforms.’
The famous shoe can now be seen along with 600 other groundbreaking shoe designs at MoMu. ‘Footprint’ is still running until February 16th 2016!