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Who Made That Stiletto?

Datetime: 2019-06-11    Visit: 242

As heel tips shrank to the size of tacks, the stiletto, named for an Italian shiv from the 1700s, became an emblem of the Jet Age and French haute couture.

Gina Lollobrigida wore them, as did Marilyn Monroe, proud owner of 40 pairs of Ferragamo stilettos. The ’60s counterculture rejected high heels, but in pornography the stiletto flourished. In the ’70s, Gloria Vanderbilt wore them with designer jeans. Stylists incorporated stilettos into the power-dressing fad of the ’80s; Madonna carried them into the ’90s, “Sex and the City” into the aughts. In 2008, Mike Huckabee said the only difference between him and Sarah Palin was a pair of stilettos.

Stilettos may shrink or grow taller, but they continue to represent both the empowered woman and the hobbled one. Stilettos make a woman “look taller, thinner, more bosomy and with a curvier bottom,” says Steele, but they also make it difficult for a woman to walk. 

“Women’s fashion does not always emphasize the high heel,” Steele wrote in an essay. “Shoe fetishists, however, usually have done so.” 


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