With British shoe artisanship being at its best this year many a style of shoe, such as Dr Martens and brogues, have been adapted to fulfil a feminine clientele.
This year these traditionally British shoe brands have supplied the demand and branched out to create various interpretations of the female equivalent of male dominated shoe designs; breaking the boundaries of man-woman fashions and resulting in a shoe trend that excites the fashion world to its ancient core.
Clockwise from left: shoes by Church’s, Paul Smith, Paul Smith, and Bally
The classic weather-worn leather of these chunky shoes has morphed from the traditional black and brown to an extended colour palette of bright malachite, robin’s egg blue and electric indigoes… the list is both fabulous and endless.
From Paul Smith S/S ’12 women’s shoe collection
The brogue perforations that have appealed to so many over the years now have more of a feminine influence with heart and floral shapes creating more elegant patterns, turning a pair of men’s oxfords into a woman’s dream. These men’s shoes now come with the added bonus of a heel, bringing together the traditionalist with the modernist and encompassing a chic element to these otherwise humble shoes.
The supple yet wrinkled leather of a good pair of vintage Kempton’s, Loakes, or Churches will add a Victorian theme to autumn 2012’s trends; creating androgynous outfits fit for the bourgeoisie of British history.
Shoes from Church’s limited edition 2012 collection
Pairing these shoes with some culottes, a waistcoat and a feminine chiffon blouse will show versatility in both your wardrobe and yourself. An outfit bringing together the masculine and feminine elements which also reflects in your choice of shoes will show the continuity of themes in an outfit, making it truly High-fashion, worthy of only the most elite catwalk shows. An alternative option is a trench coat or pea coat, some other forms of traditional winter attire. These coats are making a come back as British craftsmanship is appealing to a wider market due to the various patriotic events throughout the year. The argyle and tartan patterns, the polo shirts, and the classic shoes are all contributing to the revival of traditional British fashion design but, here’s the twist: these fashions are returning for women casting a unique glow on the world of style and elegance. What once was considered to be graceful has now been replaced with the masculine elements of vintage Britain.
On the runway at Derek Lam F/W’ 12
These shoes have played a vital role in the modern way in which we view fashion. Were it not for the revival of brogues, the rest of Victorian British fashion may not have returned with it. Not only has the androgynous style been inspired by the return of these shoes but even the neo-gothic fashion trend, with British history, art and literature being heavily influenced by gothic styles. The shoes, now so readily available in any designer and High Street store, have single footedly brought back heaps of history to women’s fashion this autumn with modern twists that only serve to compliment these timeless ensembles. Dare I say it, the fashion world has been turned around and pushed back in time with women now wearing vintage men’s garments; and this may have all been the work of a single pair of shoes.