Killer Heels

by Joseph McKeown


  Healing Fukushima   (Nanohana Heels)  by artist and designer Sputniko! with shoe designer Masaya Kushino. Created in response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster,  the seeds of the flowers on the shoe are known to absorb radioactive substances from the soil. As one walks, these seeds in the high heel are planted into the ground.

Healing Fukushima (Nanohana Heels) by artist and designer Sputniko! with shoe designer Masaya Kushino. Created in response to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster,  the seeds of the flowers on the shoe are known to absorb radioactive substances from the soil. As one walks, these seeds in the high heel are planted into the ground.

This September's New York Fashion Week is over but high fashion lives on at Brooklyn Museum's new exhibit: Killer Heels: The Art of the High-Heeled Shoe. What I learned at this recently-opened exhibit: high heels were first worn by aristocratic men in the sixteenth century; in both East and West high heels were worn by the powerful and wealthy to show prestige and communicate power and to signify their "life of leisure rather than labor"; Salvatore Ferragamo is recognized for inventing the wedge heel; and fashion photographer Steven Klein makes some really interesting films--in his short film, one of six inspired by high heels specifically commissioned for the exhibition, a woman in very expensive high heels walks over the chest and face of an attractive and muscled man who is lying on his back, another woman scrapes the hood of car with her stiletto, and a third uses her very beautiful heels (Manolo Blahnik's, I believe) to stomp on a motorized toy car. Featuring over 160 heels from such designers as Balenciaga, Chanel, Tom Ford, and Marc Jacobs (as well as one of my favorites, surrealistic wool "heel hat" meant to be worn on the head by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Salvador Dali), the exhibit shows the evolution of the high heel from 17th century Italian chopines made of silk, leather, and wood to Iris van Herpen's 3-D printed heel. Check out the exhibit through February 15, 2015--just follow the sound of high heels clicking on floors coming over the speaker at the exhibit's entrance.