In the 70s, if you wanted a pair of outlandish platforms you went to one man: Fred Slatten. For 20 years, the Los Angeles shoe designer set up shop in a former pet store near Santa Monica and San Vicente Boulevards, where he created the teetering wedges that everyone wanted.
On any given day, you could walk in and find a pair of heels eight inches high, festooned with 5,000 rhinestones. Those cost about $275. Some pairs came decoupaged with David Bowie’s face and other pairs housed live goldfish or teeny-tiny birds inside the wedge. Sonny and Cher were regulars. So were Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Gene Simmons, Nancy Sinatra, Lana Turner and Elton John, who reportedly bought every shoe Slatten ever made.
The hype would last 22 years before minimalism dethroned the king of glam footwear in 1992. Since then, platforms have come and gone, most notably with the popularity of the Spice Girls in the mid-90s. But there hasn’t been a major resurgence for 20 years — until now.
Spring 2015 runways were flooded with an onslaught of show-stopping platforms. First, there’s Tom Ford and Marchesa. Both covered the after-dark scene with plenty of liquid gold and candy-colored jewels to light up a dance floor.
And then there’s the futuristic musings of Manish Arora and Rick Owens, who made their mark with holographic space steppers and monster mouth sandals in hopes of a Ziggy Stardust revival.
Meanwhile, Prada and Saint Laurent dug into their archives for retro fabulous designs that nod to the good old days when Barbra Streisand wore the same shoes as Playboy playmates. And that’s the beauty of the glam rock period. It was a time when fashion was a little more egalitarian and whole lot more fun. At least, that’s what Fred would say.