2017 was not a year known for traditionally “beautiful” shoes. And as the “ugly” shoe continued to dominate the runways this year, definitions of beauty standards also came into question — especially in the face of new gender ideas and how women will want to present themselves in a post “Me Too” world.
Still, there is no denying the allure of a traditionally beautiful shoe. Whether it has an sleek stiletto heel and jewel-like detailing or a quirky architectural element and well crafted components, shoe lust is a real thing. What makes a shoe truly beautiful on the surface can include compelling shapes, handmade details, exquisite embellishments and a certain je nais se quoi that allows the shoe to also be seen as a sculpture or art object. That you can also realistically wear the shoe can at times be considered a secondary idea, but as beauty standards continue to shift, it’s becoming more likely that function will become just as alluring as form.
Oscar de la Renta’s crystal embellished slouchy boot
Slouchy boots made a well-documented return to the runways for fall 2017, with Saint Laurent’s $10,000 crystal version continuing to make waves (and appreciate in resale value). But Oscar de la Renta did an equally stunning version with flower shaped crystals.
Oscar de la Renta’s slouchy embellished bootsREX Shutterstock
Dries Van Noten’s velvet sandal with faceted heel
The Belgian designer applies his avant-garde ideas of shape, texture and embellishment to both his ready-to-wear and accessories collections, and the jewel-like faceted heels on his fall 2017 velvet sandals and mules are the perfect examples of unconventional beauty.
Dries Van Noten’s velvet sandals with a faceted gem-like heel.REX Shutterstock
Prada’s feather-embellished satin sandal
The Italian fashion house is well versed in the language of the statement shoe, and this year was no exception. From giant buttons and bejeweled heels to oversized tufts of brightly colored feathers and loads of fur, Prada provided new bait for fashion girls all over.