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July 25 2014

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free speech: hadley freeman gets to the point

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Ding, dong, the ballet flat is dead, God rest its grubby little soul in peace. And not just the ballet flat, but also the Mary Jane, the girlish party shoe, and even the curvy pump. That’s right, folks, the round-toe shoe is more over than the Clintons. And like the Clintons (don’t worry, this analogy will end soon), they had a good nigh decadelong run, during which their reign seemed pretty unstoppable. But it’s all gone pointy for next fall, with shoes from Balenciaga, for example, probably requiring registration as weapons when you buy them. Why? Well, fatigue is the general reason behind any fashion-trend switch, allied with overexposure, by which I mean overexposure on the Wrong Type of People (i.e., overfed, wealthy Eurotrashers, as opposed to trendy young celebrities) The problem is, round-toe shoes became so ubiquitous that EVERYONE was wearing them, even the Wrong Types. A change was clearly at hand. But I like to think there may have been other components involved.

Now, I speak as one of the most pro round toe-ers around, but even I have to concede that there is something decidedly infantalizing about the style, something dangerously close to Shirley Temple by way of Minnie Mouse, tipping occasionally into Grayson Perry territory. And I think it’s fair to say that fashion tends to favor youth over age. So the round-toe mania was, arguably, the ultimate culmination of this tendency, which leads me to surmise that the swing to pointiness is a sign of maturity, or at least an acceptance of age. Even traditionally younger labels like Marc by Marc Jacobs are going for an older look next season—MMJ, for example, is jettisoning its usual cool teenage-slacker look for something almost Chanel-like. Yeah, sure, your toes may be crushed, but at least you’re promoting the look of adulthood. Growing up is never easy, you know.

Photo: Don Ashby & Olivier Claisse

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  1. CarolineRutland says:

    I have never liked strong pointed toe shoes – They do not look good on anybody and they never have. The round toe shoe is a classic and will never go out of style no matter what the “trend writers” say.

  2. robinfive says:

    Love the new look–great. And your toes aren’t hurt if you wear the shoes correctly. the point goes in front of your toes. so get a half or a whole size bigger.

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