Armadillo boot

  • Plato’s Atlantis
  • Spring/Summer 2010
  • Leather and iridescent paillettes

'[This collection predicted a future in which] the ice cap would melt . . . the waters would rise and . . . life on earth would have to evolve in order to live beneath the sea once more or perish. Humanity [would] go back to the place from whence it came.’ Alexander McQueen

The 30 cm high ‘Armadillo’ boot from Plato’s Atlantis (Spring/Summer 2010) is among McQueen’s most notable footwear creations. The design is not a conventional shoe, but appears as part of the wearer, elongating and extending the leg and combining a claw-like menace with the beauty of a ballerina’s en pointe.

The majority of the ‘Armadillos’ were show only pieces, meaning that they were not intended to be commercially produced, though some were bought by particularly loyal clients. Each ‘Armadillo’ boot was hand carved from wood. The lining and the upper were lasted individually and therefore required four zips (two for the lining and two for the upper) to allow access for the foot. Although challenging to wear because of its height and weight, a ‘build out’, or bulge, above the toes enables the wearer to lift the boot more easily when walking.

Fashion critic Sarah Mower wrote of the show models, ‘Their gangly legs sunk in grotesque shoes that looked like the armoured heads of a fantastical breed of antediluvian sea monster’.