Illustration: Kat Heyes
I am horrified by clunky anything. Especially shoes. Doc Martens are completely lost on me. Chalk it up to my curvy figure, but I want everything around me to be sleek. My itsy-bitsy friend has different beliefs. “Chunky is fab!” she says. “Big purse, big necklace, big shoes-they make you look even smaller!”
Blame it on Yves Saint Laurent, but the shows featuring the spring 2006 collections groaned with stomping vixens in shoes that made you think of the word “clodhopper.” Later we asked the designers to send over some samples for a test run. I have concerns: Can platforms be elegant? Will my feet look as if they need a boat harbor of their own? My editor’s concerns are more earthbound: “Don’t hurt yourself,” he warns.
Yves Saint Laurent platform loafers from the 2006 Cruise collection are my first port of entry. I put them on with my skinny winter jeans and strut to Barneys on my lunch hour, prepared to lord my height over the salespeople. Catching myself in the mirror, I turn around and strut right back out: my fashion-forward shoes look massive.
Still smarting from the Barneys incident, I immerse myself in Internet research. Platforms, I learn, look great at the bottom of wide-legged pants, (à la Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren) or balancing out a floaty little dress (see Miu Miu and Chloé’s brilliant takes). Inspired, I match my A.P.C. navy trousers with Miu Miu’s two-tone pumps. Fashionistas eye me approvingly.
I refuse to wear raffia soles on principle-too Miami bartender. I am, however, prepared to embrace a sexy wooden sole in the manner of Chloé and Burberry this season. DKNY has a fantastic spin on this for spring with cute little grommets. Bad for my reputation, slimming for my thighs.
A chichi soirée at an Oak Street boutique allows me to indulge in gold Sergio Rossi wedges. Maybe it’s the air up there, but I am fluttery, gregarious even. My girlfriends are not amused. “You’re making us look like stubs!” my roommate hisses over her Champagne. She takes it as karmic retribution when I stub my toe on the stairs to the Red Line later that evening.
I take it down a few notches in Cynthia Rowley’s ballet platforms. Rowley meant for the models to look as if they were floating on air, so she designed flat slippers atop Tupperware plastic (it looks like acrylic). Brilliant. Later, for drinks at Matilda, I’m in Prada bamboo wedges. I perch on a couch, geisha style, to be admired for the rest of the evening. I am a magnet for both women and gay men.
Ambulation still proves a trick. To a friend’s party, I wear high green-suede Gucci platforms with black stockings and a crème Marc Jacob’s number. I feel like an It Girl flapper. Just when I have decided that platforms have proved to be both elegant and fun, I lurch on the stairs. “Yikes,” says a male friend, “you’re going to hurt yourself in those!” I am tempted to evoke the wisdom of another famous platform devotee-Cher from the nineties film Clueless-when I say, “Whatever.” Because, really, isn’t there a little fun in danger?