The Platform Revolution.

I have always wondered where the platform shoe stemmed from, and how did the platform actually become a “thing” and what exactly inspired every beautiful and bizarre Alexander McQueen shoe. From the cute, to the eccentric and the avant garde, The platform shoe is not just a trend but a cultural icon.

Opening the pages of fashion history books I came across the 16th century, the time of the chopine. Chopines originating in Eastern Europe but adopted by Spanish Christian woman and to eventually be introduced to the Italian peninsula. Italian and Spanish chopines were not similar. Spanish chopines were made of cork and often had more detail, some chopines even had pearls and made of luxury materials, which explains why Spanish woman wore their skirts at ankle length, displayin their luxurious chopines as a sign of status. Italian chopines were made of wood with not a lot of detail however still incorporating luxurious materials, such as velvet. In my research I found pairs of italian chopines with a lot of Spanish details, suggesting that chopines were indeed introduced from the Spanish to the Italians. The Italians, however were never allowed to display their chopines covering them underneath their wardrobe as an undergarment accessory.

The Spanish Chopines in full display.
Italian Chopines worn more as an accessory underneath their wardrobe.

Not only do I find chopines and the story of the platform so fascinating but shoes in general throughout history of time. From the Japanese lotus shoe for bound feet, to men introducing the high heel in the 1590’s. Shoes are not just a fashion staple but a visual of that certain era-how strict, how elaborate and how culturally different the human race was and is. These are periods in time, traces, as well as connections of our past and now present through a simple adornment of the foot.

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