This Season, Designers Expressed Escapism From the Thighs Down

Rick Owens Thigh High Boots

By Brooke Bobb

Rick Owens Thigh High Boots
Rick Owens Thigh High Boots

Rick Owens said it best when he described his spring 2021 Thigh High Platform Boots for Good Morning Vogue: “They’re waders for walking through a river in hell.” Owens’s boots are exactly the kind of footwear we could use here in America to stomp out racial injustice, police brutality, wildfires caused by climate change, and the mask less devil himself playing Evita on the balcony of the White House.

Balenciaga Sandals
Balenciaga Sandals

Unusually, considering we are living our lives mostly on Zoom, Owens wasn’t alone on the expressive footwear front; designers turned to shoes and boots to express their wildest and weirdest visions this season. Demna Gvasalia designed a Balenciaga collection that was wearable and sustainable, but matched it with novelty shoes like hotel slippers and Birkenstocks featuring stiletto heels.

Paco Rabanne Boots
Paco Rabanne Boots

 At Paco Rabanne, Julien Dossena accessorized sexy, wearable day ensembles with ankle boots accompanied by metal-rod soles. Impractical, maybe, but they do make your head turn.

Louis Vuitton White Pumps Black Strap
Louis Vuitton Pumps

So too do the bulbous ultra-high pumps at Louis Vuitton—an office shoe for whatever odd new, plexiglass-enclosed desk we may return to in the spring.

Molly Goddard Green Slippers
Molly Goddard Slippers

Then there were the comfortable shoes made crazy cool, like Collina Strada’s bedazzled Hoka One One sneakers and Molly Goddard’s vibrantly poofy, fuzzy Ugg slippers. 

This season was devoid of a lot of extravagance, and rightfully so. Who and what are we getting fabulously dressed up for right now? The industry is in a strange limbo moment where brands are walking a fine line between how they’ve traditionally operated and trying to anticipate an uncertain future. It won’t always be this way; there will be escapist, dreamy clothes again. But for now, whimsy and novelty seems mostly reserved for the thighs down. Hey, if we have to live in hell, we might as well wear interesting shoes.

Thigh High Boots are made for walking, and that is just what I will do….

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