LIZ JONES FASHION THERAPY: Thought crazy, sky-high heels were on the way out? Liz Jones hoped so…but how wrong she was!

LIZ JONESFASHION THERAPY Thought crazy, sky-high heels were on the way out Liz
Jones hoped so…but how wrong she was!

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UPDATED:

08:18 GMT, 15 October 2012

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The tide has turned, I thought, sat on my gilt chair at the exquisite Emilia Wickstead show at London Fashion Week. At last!

The suffragettes did not suffer in vain! For here were delicate, strappy, light-as-a-feather, elegant shoes by Manolo Blahnik, in hues of blush pink and mint green.

All of a sudden, my clumpy, chunky, black Prada bondage peep toes seemed out of vogue, and I tucked them under my seat.

Liz Jones in the sky-high heels she says are here to stay

At the vanguard of style: Liz Jones in the sky-high heels she says are here to stay

Next summer, surely, we will see women no longer crawling, no longer hanging on to railings and passing strangers, no longer on Zimmer frames and with walking sticks — because the era of the ridiculous heavy shoe is over! Hurrah!

But then, by the time I got to Paris Fashion Week, I realised that the Manolo moment had been a mirage.

In Milan, Miuccia Prada sent weird, geisha-like clumpy shoes down the catwalk, with strange leather socks that had a parting for the big toe.

Dolce & Gabbana offered a sort of fairground carousel beneath the foot. While I loved the flat, buttery leather flip-flops mated with knee-high boots at Victoria Beckham in New York, the thigh-high gladiators at Salvatore Ferragamo seemed a bit, well, hot for next summer.

Fendi sent out architectural monsters and even trainers have not escaped over-embellishment: Katie Grand's Hogan designs are multi-coloured and come with a wedge.

The excuse for all this insanity is that women aren’t meant to wear in real life what is paraded on the catwalk to garner front pages. The problem is, the High Street stores, keen to hike prices and create excitement, have churned out lookalike shoes that young women will buy and wear.

Liz was a fan of Victoria Beckham in New York, but the thigh-high gladiators at Salvatore Ferragamo seemed a bit, well, hot for next summer

Liz was a fan of Victoria Beckham in New York, but the thigh-high gladiators at Salvatore Ferragamo seemed a bit, well, hot for next summer

Liz was a fan of Victoria Beckham in New York, but the thigh-high gladiators at Salvatore Ferragamo seemed a bit, well, hot for next summer

And even though I have been writing every year that the killer shoe is over, and the kitten has made a comeback, the ballet pump is back, the truth is that shoes are bigger and more ridiculous than ever, with at least a 5  in heel!

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The reason M&S and John Lewis report soaring sales of ballet flats is that young women buy them to stash in a bag, hopping to change into monster heels outside bars and clubs.

My day in these shoes made me feel by nightfall as though I had been run over by a bus, which nearly happened, as I could never move quickly enough to make it across a road while the green man was alight.

I baulked at escalators, wobbled at cobbles, and elicited much laughter from men and women alike. Young girls, though, and fashion bloggers wielding smartphone cameras, became excited, asking me where I bought them.

One pair, covered with sharp spikes, by a brand called Missguided (so apt), was painful just to pick up. The Office Mary Janes were so agonising to wear they made me cry.

If one of my Border collies were to chew one of this lot, I think they would meet a very sticky end indeed. I can’t imagine any man wanting to go on a date with a woman wearing these: he would be rendered as tiny as Ronnie Corbett, a human crutch.

Why do women love them so They make you tall, and your legs look longer. The clumpier and more solid and orthopaedic the shoe, the more slender your ankle and calves appear. That is it!

So why do fashion labels love them They can charge quadruple. Designer shoes now cost just under 1,000, while a High Street power shoe (I hate that glossy magazines have given these freaks such a name: women in them have no power, they are weak, and slow moving) costs, on average, 100.

In the Seventies, I paid 3.99 for my Freeman Hardy Willis brown rubbery wedges. I regularly fell off them, and kicked myself on the ankle, creating weals on my skin.

The thing the glossies don’t show you is what these shoes do to your feet — the models staggering backstage with red, malformed toes, blisters and crusty heels.

Models always change into flats or biker boots as they run between shows, and how much more beautiful do they look: they skip, they smile, they leap. They are gazelles, no longer sloths.

HIGH FASHION OR JUST HORRIFIC

Snake-effect courts with curved 6in heel, 160, tedbaker.com The curvaceous heel reminds me of the hoof on an Alexander McQueen catwalk: creepy. Comfy for a while, the only pair I'd buy

Snake-effect courts with curved 6in heel, 160, tedbaker.com
The curvaceous heel reminds me of the hoof on an Alexander McQueen catwalk: creepy. Comfy for a while, the only pair I'd buy

Purple Romilda courts, 6in heel, 33.99, missguided.co.uk The colour pops on these suede studded courts, but I find them very hard to walk in

Purple Romilda courts, 6in heel, 33.99, missguided.co.uk
The colour pops on these suede studded courts, but I find them very hard to walk in

Lace-up boots with 6.5in heel, 35, soyoushoes.co.uk This floral wedge has a zip, so is easy to get on, but if you do hit a pebble, you are felled like a pine

Lace-up boots with 6.5in heel, 35, soyoushoes.co.uk
This floral wedge has a zip, so is easy to get on, but if you do hit a pebble, you are felled like a pine

Lace-up boots with 6.5in heel, 35, soyoushoes.co.uk This floral wedge has a zip, so is easy to get on, but if you do hit a pebble, you are felled like a pine

Lace-up boots with 6.5in heel, 35, soyoushoes.co.uk
This floral wedge has a zip, so is easy to get on, but if you do hit a pebble, you are felled like a pine

Green ribbon lace-up sandals, 5 3/4in heel, 42, asos.com An explosion of design: yellow-green suede, ribbon, zig-zags. But passing strangers said they were lovely

Green ribbon lace-up sandals, 5 3/4in heel, 42, asos.com
An explosion of design: yellow-green suede, ribbon, zig-zags. But passing strangers said they were lovely

Orange Vera studded platforms, 6In high, 40, simmishoes.com Hot orange is the colour of the season, and these platforms seem almost normal, except for the height

Orange Vera studded platforms, 6In high, 40, simmishoes.com
Hot orange is the colour of the season, and these platforms seem almost normal, except for the height

Silver glitter wedges with black studs, 6.5 in heel, 75, schuh.co.uk These remind me of something Elton John might have worn. Heavy, clumpy and blister-inducing

Silver glitter wedges with black studs, 6.5 in heel, 75, schuh.co.uk
These remind me of something Elton John might have worn. Heavy, clumpy and blister-inducing

Mary Janes with gold studs, 140, office.co.uk The name sounds so soft, doesn't it, but these are monsters. After an evening in these, I have lower back pain

Mary Janes with gold studs, 140, office.co.uk
The name sounds so soft, doesn't it, but these are monsters. After an evening in these, I have lower back pain

LIZ JONES SPIES ON… PRIMARK, TOTTENHAM COURT ROAD

I feel quite guilty going into the biggest, newest, shiniest Primark in the country on the less glamorous end of London's Oxford Street. Guilty because this is not where we are supposed to shop, is it Shouldn’t we be buying less and buying better

Yet even early on a Saturday morning, the place is teeming, mostly with foreign tourists. The reason: jackets are 10, skirts 5.

All the trends are here, and to be honest I’m a bit sick of the lot of them: lace dresses, military parkas, snakeskin leggings, pelmet dresses, body con, sheer, biker jackets. It’s all ghastly, badly made, in synthetic fabrics.

Even on a Saturday the place is packed, mostly with foreign tourists

Even on a Saturday the place is packed, mostly with foreign tourists

But a few items are incredible value: the pale pink cashmere cardigans at 45, which is a lot more than the store once charged, but still a fifth of the price you’d pay in, say, Joseph.

There is even a more expensive section these days: Atmosphere, where everything seems to be covered in sequins or threaded with Lurex. But even though everything is so cheap — a pair of leather knee-length biker boots is 25 — there are sales assistants everywhere.

Maybe these young men and women are cheap, too, but at least they are helpful.
I asked one to help me find a jacket shaped like a blazer and she spent ages trying to help before admitting defeat. ‘Do you have anything more expensive’ ‘Um, no,’ she said. ‘Even jackets are down from 25 to 10.’

There were loads of changing rooms, but as I went in with my navy military pea coat (25!), I was stopped. ‘You can’t try on outerwear,’ the young woman told me. ‘Why on earth not’ ‘I’m not entirely sure. I think they think people might put things in the pockets.’ So I had to try it on in the middle of the shop floor.

Another helpful young shop assistant did come over and tell me: ‘It looks lovely, but it’s 100 per cent acrylic, so I don’t think you will be very warm. How about a 5 chunky knit’