Céline spring 2017 RTW Image by: Imaxtree
One writer's take on the oft-misunderstood shoe that is “safe but not sensible.”
Fashion watchers say that the kitten heel is ubiquitous this spring, but is it? Since the kitten heel is neither as flat as a crepe nor as high as a flagpole, much gets dumped into its medium-sized category that isn’t kitten, or, really, even feline, at all. In fact, it’s easier to say what a kitten heel isn’t than what it is.
It is certainly not a stiletto. Neither is it square, squat, sturdy or stacked, even if it’s medium height. What makes the Dior slingback with logo strap, Prada sandal, pointy Acne Studios slingback, Loewe moccasin and Céline babushka slipper kitteny is the indentation right at the top of the heel, called the “seat.” It makes the heel look like a comma. Sometimes, it’s so bent in that it looks like a cartoon shoe that has skidded to a screeching halt. And although the heel is shaped like an hourglass, it is imperatively skinny because a fat hourglass-shaped heel is for high kicks and tap dancing. “They give your leg a pretty silhouette,” says my friend Sabine. “And if you have full calves, kitten heels make them taper away and disappear.”
Christian Dior spring 2017 RTW (Imaxtree.com)
Kittens are great in-between shoes. They are safe but not sensible, dressy but not ditzy, stylish but not slavish. Which is why they were the heel of choice for Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy (and still are for Michelle Obama).
But what do we really think about the kitten heel? It isn’t a heel that inspires heated passion. By nature a compromise shoe, the kitten emerged in the 1950s as a “training” heel for younger girls. Designed for one’s first tentative steps in what was then the high-speed foot race for husbands and high heels, kittens are cute, tasteful, elegant and demure. They are the Baby Duck that comes before champagne. They are the quinceañera of footwear.
Givenchy spring 2017 RTW (Imaxtree.com)
That said, cats have their claws and so do kittens. When the heel is spiky and the toe pointy, like last fall’s white Balenciaga bootie, it can be an interesting, aggressive shoe. Diana Rigg wore a black leather bodysuit and kitten booties as she kung-fu-chopped villains in the ’60s TV show The Avengers. Sharp kitten heels, torn fishnets, bird’s-nest pompadours and gobs of black eyeliner was how punk icons Exene Cervenka, Siouxsie Sioux and PJ Harvey rolled in the 1980s and early 1990s. These were not women of moderate taste, as the kitten heel is wont to express. This shows that it’s a shoe with plenty of wiggle room for personality and, possibly, even rebellion—a shoe exactly suited to our times.
Courtesy of Jo Malone London, of course.
When perfumer Yann Vasnier explored the English countryside in search of inspiration for a new Jo Malone London fragrance, he fell in love with the idyllic scenery. Creating the Bloomsbury Set – a nod to a clan of English intellects including E. M. Forster and Virginia Woolf – required research at Charleston, a bucolic cottage in East Sussex that served as a study hub for the famously liberated crowd.
“We enjoyed the idea that this group of people appeared to be very English and proper, but they were, in fact, nonconformists and true hedonists,” says Vasnier. “We liked how the ‘proper’ contrasted with the ‘promiscuous.’ They were the juxtaposition of domesticity and simplicity with this hugely intellectual environment.” Which explains the notes of “waxy wooden floor” in Whisky & Cedarwood and “beeswax sweet pipe tobacco” in Tobacco & Mandarin.
Jo Malone London Whisky & Cedarwood, Garden Lilies, Blue Hyacinth, Leather & Artemisia and Tobacco & Mandarin ($90 for each 30 mL cologne), at jomalone.ca.
From left: Alexander Wang, Christopher Kane and Lacoste Image by: Imaxtree
The basic knit is reinvented and a new trend is born.
When was the last time you thought purposefully of a cardigan? The button-up knit with preppy roots emerged as a hero piece on the runways of New York and the message continued in London. Like denim and the white button-down before it, the cardigan was taken apart and reinvented by the likes of Christopher Kane, who presented holographic, slightly oversized versions. In New York, Alexander Wang sent model Stella Lucia down his party-ready runway in a loose, borrowed-from-dad knit that read as anything but precious. Lacoste, Ulla Johnson and Dion Lee took a fuzzier approach, while Tory Burch and Victoria Beckham represented the more sophisticated end of the spectrum.
The takeaway? Whether undone, artsy or preppy, the cardigan is infinitely versatile and, for the first time in many seasons, covetable.
Christopher Kane Image by: Imaxtree
Tory Burch Image by: Imaxtree
Victoria Beckham Image by: Imaxtree
Image by: Ellen DeGeneres Show / YouTube.com
"Who’d you rather what?"
We never would have taken J.Lo for a Harry Styles fan. The singer was cornered into a game of “Who’d Your Rather” while appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres Show this week.
And while she remained super coy about whatever is going on between her and Drake, she got pretty candid during the game featuring some of Hollywood’s most desirable bachelors. Watch below to see which Oscar-winning actor she's not-so-secretly pining for and what star is "like a brother" to her.