“There are far more ugly pairs [of shoes] in the world than pretty ones,” according to New York magazine’s fashion blog “The Cut,” which recently featured a slideshow, “The 50 Ugliest Shoes in History.” Tossed from the closet are the ungainly Uggs, smelly-looking Birkenstocks, dependable Doc Martins and other anatomically correct species.
It’s those of the uber-fashion variety that raised eyebrows in our accessories design department. The abundantly crystal-strewn Pradas, the pair of femme fatale Viktor and Rolf’s, and flipper-laden Jean Paul Gaultier’s were deemed fashion failures.
Less likely to condemn shoes right out of the box is FIT’s own VASILIOS, chair of Accessories Design. He had this to say about several of the pairs on the “50 ugliest” hit list.
“This speaks volumes to the footwear industry and where its potential can go — by throwing it out of the stratosphere,” he says regarding Balenciaga’s multicolored plastic-techno sandals. “This usage of nontraditional materials and the inspiration coming from athletic sportsmanship like hockey, it’s a signal to the mass market about developing fusion footwear — where athletics meet ‘fashion’ footwear. We see it in today’s market.
“Now, let’s talk about the crystals,” says VASILIOS about the Prada acrylic and crystal sandals. “Mother-goddess Prada breaks every rule and rightfully so because she forces all of us to embrace the ugly as beautiful. And in the end what do we do but follow her? Tell the mother her kid is ugly? Really?”
“Someone’s going to call these ugly? Really?” asks VASILIOS incredulously. “They’re comparing them to the mass product they have in their closets,” he says about Kobi Levi’s double boots. “This clearly is screaming to Lady Gaga. The same haters have bought every one of her songs on iTunes and have danced to them in all sorts of places including their closets.”
“If this isn’t theatricality at its best I don’t know what is. And by the way, the boot is functional.”
“Ugly unless you’re dressing for the stage, Priscilla Quest of the Desert,” says VASILIOS, about Jean Paul Gaultier’s Les Plongeuses fin-heels. Again my point is it’s theatrical, so what are you judging exactly?”
“Jean Paul Gaultier is a fashion icon. Again, are we just looking at the trees and not the entire forest? What was happening on the runway? What was the theme? Obviously, we wouldn’t see this sold at Macy’s. In the end we’re talking about it anyway – Isn’t that the whole point of marketing? And I’m sure somewhere along the way, strolling along a department store you’ve spritzed yourself with JPG!”
There was even some tenderness for some garish-colored Nicholas Kirkwood’s with furry pom-poms, which The Cut said were “the equivalent of a pinata or My Little Pony birthday cake.” Said VASILIOS sighing “Well everyone has a bad dream sometimes.”