New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Urban Road Warrior

I thought I had seen the extremes in high heel elevations in New York City, but in reading various articles, I came across the "armadillo" stiletto claws designed by British fashion designer Alexander McQueen as part of his Spring 2010 Plato's Atlantis shoe collection. These shoes, which number only twenty-one pairs and range from $3900 to $10,000 were worn by Lady Gaga in her "Bad Romance" video.
The shoes are a staggering 12 inches tall, perhaps the first where height can be measured using an altimeter. Some models refused to wear them, worrying about potential falls.

High heels themselves are mired in controversy. They are responsible for a litany of health concerns: foot pain, deformities, sprains, fractures, degenerative knee joint problems. But their allure remains - heels make a person appear taller, legs longer, the foot smaller, and they make leg muscles and the butt more well defined. They alter the posture for a sexier gait.
Some see other reasons for their popularity:

There are many theories about sartorial behavior as an economic indicator. In dark times, hemlines go down. Lipstick sales go up. And high heels grow ever higher, an attempt to lift our collective spirits by elevating women a few extra inches off the ground. - Amanda Fortini, The New York Times, December 13, 2009.

In New York City, we are walkers and, unlike the suburbs or countryside, the prospect of using shoes which depend on the wearer being transported by auto to and from destinations is largely not realistic.

But lack of comfort for extensive walking is not the only impediment to wearing high heels. New York City is mired in land mines for the woman wearing heels and engaging in the daily slalom of potholes, sidewalk grates, uneven sidewalks and subway stairways. The extraordinarily treacherous pedestrian trails make walking more difficult and the harsh environment guarantees to eventually tear and damage fine shoes. Solution? Simple - wear flats or sneakers on the streets and change to heels at the office or function. Some women tote dress shoes in their bags, others may just keep a pair of heels in the office.

However, arriving at the office in old flats or sneakers does little for a woman dressing for success or allure. Like the woman in today's photo, changing on the streets is one way of keeping the wardrobe intact for the urban road warrior :)


Luis Gomez said...

Love the images and the text. Excellent!

Brian Dubé said...

Luis - Thanks. Actually, what is interesting is that although I have walked the streets a lot for decades, this is the first time I remember seeing this. But maybe I am seeing more, now that I look for more NYC stories :)

Russell Claxton said...

Well, there's urban and there's urban. NYC's urban.

Mary P. said...

Looking good! Nice stockings, too. Another new fashion?

Bibi said...

Superb. Fantastic shot and commentary.

I saw a pair of high-heeled boots today in a mall and dang, didn't have my camera. I must return. These were so high the wearer would literally be on her tippy-toes.

Brian Dubé said...

Mary P - Did you see this posting?

Bibi - Thanks

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy the window into your world. Thank you!

LD said...

Very astute commentary about women's shoe height and social climate but I can't seem to get past this woman's weird mismatched outfit.

Judit said...

When I went to NY I saw too many girls doing that.
In their purse they had the heels while they were wearing Nike trainers!
Was so funny!

And brian, thanks for let us be in touch with this amazin city :)

Mary P. said...

Guess these stockings let us have our tatoos without having to live with them forever.

Henna hands, a la North African culture, give us the same latitude.