Head Over Heel-less

New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week. This week's lesson? Those heel-less shoes Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness love so much have been around for a loooong time.
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New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week. This week's lesson? Those heel-less shoes Lady Gaga and Daphne Guinness love so much have been around for a loooong time.

New blog Part Nouveau, or ‘partly new’, delves into fashion history to showcase the inspiration–be it art, photography or design–behind some of today’s biggest fashion moments. It’s fascinating and impossible not to get lost in, so we asked the site’s founder, Lilah Ramzi, to give us a little history lesson each week.

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The heel-less or no-heel shoe, although quite modern and avant-garde in appearance, has experienced several waves of popularity throughout history. The heel-less shoes of the Middle Ages, termed Chopines, were primarily worn by women in Venice to elevate the wearer above her surroundings and increase her visibility amongst a crowd. Furthermore, Chopines also functioned as shoes which raised the wearer above dirty streets, protecting her from debris and unsanitary conditions. Centuries later, the heel-less shoe resurfaced, promoted by designers like Alexander McQueen and Olivier Theyskens for Nina Ricci and soon became a pervasive design element adopted by many footwear designers such as Jeffrey Campbell.

Italian Chopines, c. 1550–1650

Italian Chopines, c. 1550–1650

Night Walk shoes by Jeffrey Campbell, 2011

Night Walk shoes by Jeffrey Campbell, 2011

For more comparisons by Part Nouveau, click here