It's a great time to be a boot lover, as the current fashion trend for tall, sexy, over-the-knee high-heeled boots is something I never thought I would see in my lifetime.
Thigh-high styles in particular were stigmatized not long ago, relegated to hooker-boot status, and something nobody would dare wear outside the bedroom, unless maybe you were in the sex trade. I just never thought they would break through into the world of mainstream fashion the way they have, and for that I am grateful.
I have been asking myself: why now? Ironically, the economy is in rough shape, unemployment is up, but these boots are luxurious in their use of material. Instead of reflecting austerity, these styles are opulent, and indulgent. Impractical, and sort of non-functional (have you ever tried walking in those things?). Ornamental, expensive and uncomfortable. It could be the influence of the Internet, and the widespread availability of online eroticism. Many celebrities are spotted wearing the tallest and sexiest boots available. (Check out celebrities in boots here.) Is it a type of status symbol? Maybe we are becoming desensitized, and it takes more extreme measures to get a thrill. There is an undeniable sensual and sexual nature to a tight-fitting boot. Both for the wearer and those of us who see them being worn. They are edgy and make a statement every time. Even non-fetishists can appreciate the sexual nature of these boots. They just are.
As it is, the more extreme styles of thigh-high boot appear mostly in high-end fashion and couture collections. It's the hang-out place for many articles of clothing that are steeped in fetishism, extremes of expression, fine materials and workmanship).
It's here that I get to the book which covers the world of boots in an up-to-the-minute way. Actually published in 2010, this is the only book I have seen of it's type that covers the boot exclusively. There are a lot of books on shoes, but this is the only one I have seen dedicated solely to the boot.
Bradley Quinn covers a bit of boot history, which of course is fascinating. Fashion and art always reflect the culture, technology and ideals of their times.
Styles that reference historical looks, like the swashbucklers below, are discussed.
Although there are examples of fetishistic styles, the book doesn't delve too deeply into the sexual aspects of the boot. It does give a number of profiles of specific designers, like the one on Joseph Azagury below:
Many of the book's pictures are taken from runway shows, like the Chanel images below.
Another typical spread, with couture boots on the left from Vivienne Westwood, Pucci, and Givenchy, and a 1890s fetish boot on the right.
Of course, Alexander McQueen is represented (below left facing page). The flesh-colored boots on the right are from Etro, and Givenchy rear-laced boots on the far right. Drool-worthy, all of them...
Boots are like chairs for designers; there is just an endless number of ways of covering the lower leg. I'm always inspired by the materials, colors, textures, patterns and techniques the shoe designers can come up with. And just when you think you've seen it all, up comes something new.
Christian Louboutin, one of the sexiest bootmakers on the planet. I love his last shape so much - it reminds me of how I draw boots and shoes in my fetish drawings. Fantasy made reality.
Viktor and Rolf's take on the motorcycle boot:
If you are into fashion, especially high-fashion boots, this is a great book for reference and inspiration. It's available here.