REVIEWS & OPINIONS

When Did Stripper Heels Become So Chic? 

9th February 2020

TEXT BY NATALIE YIASSOUMI

The return of the big and bold platform

Image from Sandra Hagelstam’s interview for Elle Finland. Photographed by Niko Mitrunen.

The platform is back and it’s growing higher and higher. Go on Net-a-Porter and you’ll see myriads of towering platforms and extra high heel options that didn’t exist a season ago. Designer-of-the-moment Amina Muaddi has been adding chunky platform mules to her spring 2020 range; Gucci is evolving from granny chic to a more sexy aesthetic with its extra-high ‘Angel’ platform pumps; while household names like Giuseppe Zanotti are having a comeback, especially after Jennifer Lopez wore the designer’s extra-high, platform booties on the set of the ‘Hustlers’ movie. 

In other words, it looks like stripper heels are back in style. 

It seems like yesterday when we were ditching platforms and extra high heels, in favor of sneakers and more “sensible” or chic lower heels, be it Balenciaga’s kitten-heeled Knife pumps, Manolo Blahnik’s Maysale mules or the Row’s infamous Coco bi-color mules. How are we already back to square one, with extra high platforms pumps, see through plastic heels originating from the also known as stripper heels, becoming equated with trendy and chic? 

J.Lo is definitely fuelling fire to the trend: What with her viral Versace catwalk moment and her multiple campaign deals ranging from Coach, to Guess, to Versace, she’s back at the center of fashion and routing for the return of sexy, by way of risqué heels, big hoops or ultra-revealing outfits.

The same could be said for Cardi B, Lopez’s co-star in “Hustlers,” who first made Balenciaga’s sock boots famous by rapping about them and is now bringing sky high heels back into the spotlight. In the movie she wears a pair of sparkly silver platform sandals featuring straps that go all the way up to her thighs – not for the faint hearted – while at the film’s premier she went for extra high Jessica Rich gold sandals to match J.Lo’s equally high gold glitter Casadei pumps

These two women have over 170 million followers on Instagram combined, so it’s no surprise that their increased involvement in the world of fashion – hello Cardi B in head-to-toe tweed at the Chanel front row – their star-studded new film and love of stripper heels is powering a trend. 

And it’s not just the “Hustlers” stars who are showing love to towering heels. Pop stars have been collectively going all-out when it comes to sexy dressing lately: Tight minidresses, stripper heels and extra long, claw-like nails has been the way to go. Just look at Dua Lipa promoting her new album in Mugler corsets, minuscule sparkly Versace or GCDS dresses, claw nails a la Cardi B and plenty of Saint Laurent chunky platform sandals

So it’s no surprise footwear designers are paying attention and following the cues of these super stars. Sophia Webster brought out a pair of silver high platforms with a disco feel; Malone Souliers went bolder than usual with a pair of gold satin heels featuring a platform, high chunky heel and crystal embellishments, while The Attico expanded their collection of mid-heels with the new “Greta” strappy sandal style featuring towering platforms. 

But is this trend even relevant to everyday women, the kind who don’t live their lives on stages or movie sets? Or is it going against the feminist wave that has been all about ease of movement with flats, sneakers and kitten heels? 

Well, it looks like we’ve reached a point when feminism isn’t limited to one prescribed look. You can wear sneakers or low heels – which are still trendy fyi – or extra mini dresses and stripper heels and still be a feminist: It’s up to you how you want to express it. It feels like the judgement has been lifted and the objectification of women is finally something we are moving away from.

Some women are finding it empowering to be more open with their sexuality and aren’t only buying into the stripper heel trend but also taking pole dance classes – a workout whose popularity is increasing exponentially. 

Is it chic? By traditional standards, far from it. 

Yet there’s something really exciting about how the trend is challenging those traditions and letting women have a bolder, anything-goes kind of attitude. A mere few years ago the concept of pole dancing and wearing stripper heels was so frowned upon, none of us would ever admit wanting to give the look a try unless there was a hen party or costume party night involved.

Now, pole dancing is seen as an empowering and legit way to work out and sky high platforms are categorised more fun than they are flirty. Cheers to that and see you on the dance floor. 

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