The Haute Couture runway shows tend to leave the fashion world buzzing with talk of the most beautiful gowns, the most intricate details or the most opulent runway settings. But let’s not forget that beneath those lace frocks are often equally creative feats of footwear.

From the crazily creative to the Cinderella-esque, here are 5 breathtaking shoes from the haute couture fall 2012 shows… some beautiful, some beastly (though not necessarily in a bad way).

Alexandre Vauthier

Much like Alexandre Vauthier’s fall 2012 couture gowns, his footwear favoured a palette of gold and white. Some shoes were accented by clear plastic, but it was the full gold lace booties, which looked like they could be a feature in the interior of the palace of Versaille, that wowed most.

gold lace booties

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier couture is nothing if not theatrical, and his thigh-high leather cage shoes – worn especially with flapper-esque fringed dresses – looked like they belonged as much on a stage as on the runway.

gaultier couture shoes

Iris Van Herpen

Iris Van Herpen’s fall 2012 couture collection seemed to be riffing on futurism and evolution, with alienous forms and shoes that looked like they might bite you if you tried to pick them up. In a word: fierce.

iris van herpen couture shoes

Chanel

Giving new meaning to the words steel capped boots, Chanel’s haute couture version are definitely not the kind you’d wear on a building site. There’s a kind of clunky elegance to this mix of leather and architectural metal work.

chanel metal capped heels

Chanel

Georges Chakra was another that offered up heavy metal accents, but these haute couture shoes were decidedly feminine in rich jewel toned satin – not to mention ultra tall with a slender heel and thick platform.

chakra couture heels

Shoe bonus: Maison Martin Margiela

There’s nothing particularly elegant about this take on Maison Martin Margiela’s famed cleft-toe boots, bar for the addition of a thick, rounded gold heel.

None the less, it’s a style that never fails to cause a double-take – for some people, beastly is considered beautiful.

margiela cleft toe boots

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