Less than seven years ago, Miuccia Prada brought to life an optimistic, ’50s-inspired post-modern world for her spring ’12 show, in which “fashion, fantasy and the promise of new discoveries collide.” And in this world, she turned a gas station into a symbol for economic fulfillment and used vehicles as, well, a vehicle to drive home that message of hope, transforming them into unforgettable “Hot Rod” shoes.
Sculpted wedges, stick-thin stilettos and pumps were given premium vintage car-inspired treatments, like a glossy paint job in siren red, teeny-tiny exhaust pipes as fixtures, polished chrome as accents and, most notably, cutout leather flames that trailed from the heel.
They were met with instant fanfare, garnering an insane amount of coverage and amassing a fanbase that comprised shoe fanatics, influential editors and celebrities. Years later, they’ve established themselves as prized styles in the footwear realm not only because they actually look like collectibles (not unlike a vintage car), but also because they embody fearlessness, a badass, in-your-face attitude that’s unapologetic in every way.
And that’s why everyone freaked when Prada plucked her flame-detailed heels from the archives to send a statement about feminism for her fall ’18 show, which she presented yesterday during Milan Fashion Week. The show was, admittedly, darker than what she communicated seven years previously, but that bold fearlessness still came across. And combined with today’s obsession with nostalgia, activism and maximalism, they seem more relevant than ever.
We won’t know who will wear Prada’s 2018 version of the “Hot Rod” shoes until later this year, but if the past serves as any indicator, Beyoncé, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry and more are likely suspects. Scroll down to take a look at the celebrities who were the original fans of Prada’s 2012 flame heels.