Haute couture is the least accessible segment of fashion — if Forever 21 is on one end of the attainability spectrum, couture is all the way on the other side, barely in shouting distance.
And yet at the Spring 2014 Couture shows, taking place in Paris this week, something magically accessible is happening: Designers are showing flats.
Christian Dior put half of his models in closed toe slip-ons that The Cut astutely referred to as “pool shoes” (that’s basically what they looked like). At Schiaparelli, the first couture show under the designer’s name in decades, designer Marco Zanini paired elaborate floor-length gowns with clunky flat sandals. And at Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld put the models (including professed heel hater Cara Delevingne) in white sparkly sneakers, not unlike the kind we wore in fourth grade.
There’s a slight caveat, of course: Despite resembling shoes we’ve actually owned, this couture footwear isn’t actually that accessible. If the styles do ever hit stores, you can bet they’ll be some of the most expensive sneakers, sandals and “pool shoes” you’ve ever owned.
But there’s something heartening about seeing the top fashion designers in the world, on the most glamorous runways of the year, ignore the silent mandate to pair haute couture gowns with high heels. Perhaps they’re heeding Emma Thompson’s call for footwear sanity… there’s definitely something in the air.