The 1960s was an exciting time for fashion. Throughout the entire decade and well into the '70s, political and economic changes around the world influenced how people dressed and expressed themselves through their clothes. During that time, styles considered unconventional in previous decades became trends that lasted long into the succeeding years and even into the 21st century. The 1960s saw several styles emerging: the miniskirt, bouffant beehives, psychedelic colours, space age costumes -- and platform shoes.
Worn long ago in Europe and in Japan, platform shoes were not seen as often after high-heeled shoes entered the scene in the 1590s. Several centuries later, they made a comeback in the late 1960s and flourished throughout the 1970s, also known as the disco decade. After the massive belt-tightening during World War II years, the fashion industry boomed and people, especially the youth, found themselves with lots of money to spend on clothes. Designs became more creative and provocative, thanks to the influence of the youth market. Rock stars and musicians also set the fashion scene. In an era marked with freedom and prosperity, the bold design of platform shoes found its way back into the mainstream.
The feminist movement of the 1960s led to a more androgynous style. Although teenage girls and young women were the first to don platform shoes, it wasn't long before the fashion-conscious young men of England followed in the footsteps of pop stars who performed onstage in platform shoes, pairing them with narrow drainpipes or velvet flared trousers. Platform shoes were a Beatles favourite. The Rolling Stones and Elton John also performed in these chunky, funky shoes.
The '70s and Beyond
The popularity of platform shoes also soared into the disco and glam rock era of the '70s, as rock stars such as David Bowie and Mick Jagger also pulled on platforms onstage. After taking another nosedive in popularity at the end of the '70s, platform shoes saw another rebirth in 1993 when model Naomi Campbell fell over in a pair of 9-inch mock-crocodile-skin shoes designed by Vivienne Westwood.
It wasn't in the late 2000s, however, that the general public began walking in sky-high shoes again. Luxury designers such as Christian Louboutin, Prada, Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu are mainstream favourites. Hollywood A-listers, such as Lady Gaga and Jessica Simpson, are also seen walking around in platform shoes of staggering heights and flamboyant designs.
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- "Fashions of a Decade: The 1960s"; Yvonne Connikie; 2007
- "The 1950s and 1960s: Costume and Fashion Source Books"; Anne Rooney; 2009
- All About Shoes: Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Foot
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History; The Chopine; Harold Koda; October 2002
- "University of Laverne Campus Times";Platform shoes reach new heights of popularity; Alexa Palacios; April 22, 2011