If All Else Fails, Make the Heel Higher: A History of Stilettos

Believe it or not, sky-high heels weren’t always in style. But, rest assured, they are today (like you needed me to tell you). Read on to see just how the stiletto gained popularity in the fashion world at the height of the 20th century.

A History of Stiletto Heels

1954
Roger Vivier designs the first stiletto for Christian Dior. The thin, 3-inch heel – reinforced with steel – emulates the shape of an Italian-made stiletto dagger, for which it is now named.

1960
Tina Turner takes to the stage in miniskirts and stilettos. The daring style becomes a part of her signature look, giving the petite star plenty of height – and press coverage.

1973
Manolo Blahnik opens his first storefront in the Old Church neighborhood of London. The delicate design of the label’s heel stands out during a time when the platform reigns supreme. Decades later, the feminine shape of the designer’s stiletto is still considered timeless.

1998
Sex and the City debuts on HBO with many unforgettable stiletto moments. Thanks to the hit show, Blahnik and other heeled labels like Jimmy Choo become household names all over America.

Today
High heels have basically become their own medium in the world of art, taking the shape of almost anything. Case in point: Lady Gaga stepping out in Alexander McQueen’s 10-inch armadillo heels.

By Jillian Hudon, Staff Writer

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January 14, 2014