If it feels like fashion has been larger than life lately, one shoe may have something to do with it.
That would be the mighty platform. The history of the heel may be as old as fashion itself. And as more recent iterations have proven, the shoe is a true chameleon, having symbolized myriad moments, movements and themes through time, from women’s rights to overt sexuality; from nobility to prostitution.
Currently, it’s taken on the spirit of revenge dressing (or, you know, making up for time lost during the pandemic). While the trend has been back on runways for a few seasons now, a return to parties and socializing means there is no time like the present when it comes to the platform heel.
It is, after all, the ultimate party shoe. Better to see across a crowd, and ensure that no one steps on your toes. What better pair with which to return to a dance floor, as platforms tend to go easier on the pitch than stiletto pumps. A platform sandal often comes with that certain je ne sais quoi embellishment that one looks for in a holiday party shoe, whether it’s a crystal buckle, a velvet texture or a jewel-toned satin finish.
Designers spent much of lockdown dreaming of fantasy fashion, and the fruits of their creative labor now include some of the boldest, most outrageous shoes imaginable — platforms included. On the runway, brands like Versace stepped things up for both fall ’21 and spring ’22, indicating that the trend will continue through next year. Meanwhile, footwear brands from Aquazzura to Giuseppe Zanotti have run with the trend, offering heights not often seen since the early 2010s and injecting the shoes with bright, saturated hues.
On the red carpet, the look has been vampy, sumptuous and unapologetic. Take it from Lady Gaga or Megan Fox, who have both worn monochromatic lipstick-red looks on a matching carpet (Fox at the 2021 Met Gala in sky-high Jimmy Choo platforms; Gaga in a corseted Versace gown with matching platform pumps at an Italy premiere of “House of Gucci” last month). The evening platform was hands-down the biggest shoe trend at the Met Gala, with everyone from J.Lo and Serena Williams to Kate Hudson and Camila Cabello sporting a pair underneath slinky gowns and body-hugging catsuits.
But those looking for a slightly more realistic way to wear the statement shoe to the occasional holiday party this season might turn to Olivia Rodrigo for inspiration. The music artist’s personal style has become synonymous with a platform — she’s even worn them to the White House (with ’90s archival Chanel, no less).
Rodrigo’s latest look, worn to a music industry brunch last week, hits just the right notes of holiday dressing. From a cheeky bow on the front of her Calvin Luo minidress to the mesh paneling and drop earrings, it had all the trappings of a holiday party ensemble. Festive, embellished, but still sleek (who wants to be overly busy, after all, upon re-entering social settings?)
But the real ornament de resistance of Rodrigo’s look comes from the platforms, a pair of Mary Janes by platform connoisseur brand Nodaleto that is done in a rich black velvet that suggests they could just as easily be worn with a pair of jeans and a sweater. Finished with tiny crystal buckles, it’s a shoe that gives off just the right amount of bling. Add a pair of mesh socks (such as the Wolford pair Rodrigo sported), and the look takes on a true day-to-night feel, and something that everyone can give a whirl this holiday season.
6 Platform Heels to Party in Now
To buy: Versace satin platform pumps, $1,425.