Planet of the Platforms: The Rise & Fall

Dress: Catherine Malandrino (Lord & Taylor) | Bag: Stella McCartney (Saks Fifth Avenue) | Platforms: Sam Edelman (Gift from Mom; Purchased from Nordstrom)
Dress: Catherine Malandrino (Lord & Taylor) | Bag: Stella McCartney (Saks Fifth Avenue) | Platforms: Sam Edelman (Gift from Mom; Purchased from Nordstrom)
Dress: Catherine Malandrino (Lord & Taylor) | Bag: Stella McCartney (Saks Fifth Avenue) | Platforms: Sam Edelman (Gift from Mom; Purchased from Nordstrom)

There are some fashions that just won’t die, and most of them hail from the 60s and 70s. Bell-bottoms, PVC and fuchsia tights are all as stubborn as Styrofoam, doomed to repeat the same Sisyphean trend cycle: ascendance, eclipse and return.

The most enduring example is the platform shoe, a style that refuses to be snuffed out, despite its status as Most-Hated by the fashion press.

Vogue kick-started the most recent spate of platform-shaming with its January 2013 essay accusing its readers of “clomping” for the better part of a decade. The Daily Beast compared Miss USA contestants’ platforms to stripper heels. The New York Times gently nudged its readers toward a new low-heeled silhouette. Since the bad press, platform sales have slumped.

But platforms are like Kiss. They’re not here for the press. They play for the fans.

Platform Shoes: Sam Edelman (Gift from Mom; Originally Purchased from Nordstrom)
Platform Shoes: Sam Edelman (Gift from Mom; Originally Purchased from Nordstrom). These are a half-size too big, but you can fudge sizing with platforms.

My mom sent me these Sam Edelman platforms after initially buying them for herself. (Maybe she read all the bad press). I immediately paired them with a peach Catherine Malandrino dress, an outfit that has always been tough to wear with anything other more adventurous than a flat sandal. This dress has a breezy “I’m-on-permanent-holiday-in-Provence” vibe, and ballet flats or closed-toe kitten heels just don’t work.

But I was conscious of the platform stigma, especially when I remembered Manolo Blahnik’s complaint to Vogue: “In heavy platforms like truck drivers, in my shoes like ballerinas.”

But before you burn every platform in your closet, it’s worth noting that Manolo is most likely taking aim at his greatest rival, Christian Louboutin, who found ENORMOUS success with the Daffodile — a $1,075 6-inch platform favored by Christina Aguilera and most of the Real Housewives.

Kim Kardashian in her Louboutin Daffodiles during a Project Runway taping.
Kim Kardashian in her Louboutin Daffodiles during a Project Runway taping.

My take? Ignore the hate AND the hype. Clomp to the beat of your own clodhopper. Because platforms may be on the back burner now — but they’ll be back. They always are.