‘Fashion can be really racist, looking at the clothes of other cultures as costumes. That’s mundane and it’s old hat. Let’s break down some barriers’. Alexander McQueen
McQueen had a deep fascination for dress from other cultures and periods of history. This shoe draws inspiration from both the early-modern Venetian chopine, with its high, pedestal platform, and the Japanese geta, one form of which consisted of a base elevated by two tooth-like blocks. Traditionally worn by Venetian noblewomen from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth century, the chopine was both a practical and symbolic shoe. Whereas the high platform protected the wearer’s feet – and often elaborate decoration of the shoe’s upper – from the dirty streets, its height conveyed the status of the wearer, who towered above her social inferiors. Thus this shoe blends discrete aspects of Eurasian dress with McQueen’s profound interest in historicism to create a new, contemporary footwear design.
McQueen paired these shoes on the catwalk with a short, cheongsam-style dress, which further connected the look to his interest in Far Eastern culture. The silhouette of the dress was exaggerated with angular hips and pointed shoulders to invest it with a contemporary feel. Both the dress and the matching shoes are decorated with densely applied dull, metallic beads. In the case of the chopine, the twisted rope tie complements the pattern and texture of the surface decoration and ends in a decorative metallic pendant.